The Iby’lwacu cultural village is one of the well developed community tourism projects in Africa. This village is located in the area of Musanze near Kinigi and Parc national des Volcans (PNV) home to the mountain gorillas in Rwanda. The term Iby’lwacu denotes “treasure of our heritage” and thus the villages exhibits what Rwanda is in the economical and social aspects. The village is fast becoming a centre of attraction besides the gorilla safaris and golden monkey tracking, two most popular attractions in the areas of the Volcanoes. This village gives the visitors a chance to meet local people in their environment experiencing there culture and traditions of the Rwanda people. After your gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park, get to know the people by interacting with them and taking part in their daily activities.
Iby’lwacu village was started by Edwin Sabuhoro, a Rwandan. The project was basically aimed at improving the lives of reformed poachers and communities around the Volcanoes National Park through provision of conservation incentives, supporting community enterprise development and livelihood based projects. This helped them to resort to their family lives and preserving Rwanda culture among the youth since it was made a means of earning a living.The village costs USD 35 per person and USD 70 for an overnight.
After gorilla trekking, the Iby’lwacu cultural village is the best place to go to and experience the real Rwanda culture, norms and traditions. The hike will depend on the travelers interests and the various activities include;
- A community walks visiting different sites with in the community. This gives an insight into the daily lives of the people in the community.
- Go to the king’s house be enthroned as a king and exercise kingship as instructed by elders through a village ceremony, listen to all the kings’ stories and be explained to all the meaning of different symbols within the palace.
- Watch the eight different types of traditional dances in Rwanda’s culture, other local and traditional musical instruments i.e. Intore dances, drumming, ibyivugo, umuduri, ikemde, iningiri, inanga, Ingoma, amakondera, agakenke.
- Listen to the famous gorilla song sung by Ngayabatema, mainly referred to as kaayuku.
- Experience the use of local medicinal trees, shrubs, grasses that cure some diseases with the local traditional healer. Visit their clinics and pharmacies.
- Visit local schools and exercise the Rwanda’s education by being a student or becoming a teacher of any lesson and class.
- Participate in the preparation of a local lunch or dinner like the ubugari, igikoma etc with local people and have its taste while listening to interesting stories of pre and post colonial era from the elderly people around.
- Attend a local banana brewing process and have a taste of local banana brew.
- Learn about the ex-poachers techniques of hunting and the stories of their past life experiences in particular from the Batwa.
- Engage yourself in pottery making with the Batwa people, experience the artisans and craft making done by women, men and children.
- Participate in the local football match and many more sports activities.
- Don’t miss the agricultural tourism by joining the local people to their agricultural fields to work and learn about their ways of farming, harvest and participate in food preparation and making processes like millet grinding using stones, carrying potatoes and water on your head.
- Experience the days climax with Igitaramo camp fire, with drums and local dances before sunset, where stories and riddles are resighted by story tellers with every one seated around fire.
- This village gives you the best ways to get to know the local peoples culture and their ways of living by actively taking part in their daily lives.
The code of conduct while in Iby’lwacu village.
These guidelines help to preserve the environment and culture of Rwanda’s community and they ought to be followed.
- Throwing rubbish is prohibited and bins are provided for any litter.
- Plants should not be touched or stepped on and taking cuttings, seeds and roots is illegal in Rwanda’s community.
- Respect privacy when taking photographs, ask the community leader or guide if it is alright and use restraint.
- Avoid giving children empty bottles to avoid begging.
- When donating, it’s preferred to be for the community project purpose because it’s a more constructive way to help and only give to the community leader.
- Use only your right hands when greeting and eating. It’s also polite to use either hands while giving or receiving gifts.
- Respect the local etiquette, light weight clothes are preferable to indecent clothes, kissing in public is disliked by local people.
- Be patient, friendly, sensitive and sharing your culture will be our pleasure we might have certain things in common.
- In case of anything that is unusual to you, ask the community leader for interpretation, it might be vital.