Hit Enter to search or Esc key to close

The Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village (also known as the Gorilla Guardian Village) is such a lovely cultural village located in the vicinity of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. This cultural village is also most famous as the Gorilla Guardian Village, the best place to learn and experience the unique cultures and heritage of Rwanda. It is a place that guarantees you ultimate fun, great entertainment from local residents as they enjoy thrilling traditional dances.

Visiting Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village allows you to meet and interact with the friendliest people. This cultural village is composed of ex-poachers who turned to appreciate tourism and conservation. Iby’Iwacu village is found adjacent to Volcanoes NP where tourists on Rwanda safaris visit to enjoy gorilla trekking.

After or before gorilla trekking, tourists can proceed to Iby’Iwacu village for a cultural tour. Through combined trips in Volcanoes NP and Gorilla guardian village, local community development has been enhanced through a number of projects. Tourists come to experience the distinct cultures of Rwandese, and they are taken through hands-on experiences including basket weaving, making art and craft, etc. Iby’Iwacu village is a typical example of community-based tourism.

Why Visit the Gorilla Guardian Village?

The Iby’iwacu cultural village is an alternative tourist activity in Rwanda. It can be done after trekking gorillas in Volcanoes national park. Iby’iwacu cultural village is where you can explore the cultural norms of the Banyarwanda. The word ‘Iby’Iwacu’ means ‘treasure of our home’ or ‘our heritage’; therefore, Iby’Iwacu village represents the real treasure behind the existence of Rwanda as a nation.

As you approach the village, you will be welcomed by traditional music performed by some of the ex-poachers of Volcanoes National Park.  Then followed by dances and drama

Major activities in Iby’iwacu villages:

There is traditional demonstrations – hunting techniques, traditional weddings, making local beer among others.

Music, dance and drama performed by some of the ex-poachers of volcanoes National Park.

Local herb exhibitions – showed by the traditional medicine man

Grinding of sorghums – demonstrated by the elder women

Weaving of baskets, mats, bags among others – it’s mostly done by youth

The building of King’s palace – done by youth

Making of local beer – it’s made from sweet bananas, mixed by grinded sorghum.

Reasons for setting up Iby’iwacu villages:

Iby’iwacu cultural village was set to harmonize conservation and local community needs, to stop poaching in Rwanda, to offer jobs to the people of Musanze district, to create a cultural village that will help to highlight the significance of tourism to the life of a local community member.

The cultural village has helped in rehabilitating the ex-poachers who realized the impact of the wildlife they were hunting to the lives of their families and future generations. The village was also to act as a preservation means for the Rwandan culture as most youth were ignoring important cultural values and norms.  Making culture a means of earning a living was thought to be one of the best ways to preserve it hence the establishment of Iby’Iwacu cultural village.

It is more interesting to visit Iby’iwacu cultural village after a fantastic and memorable gorilla trek in Volcanoes National Park.

Iby’iwacu village displays a traditional lifestyle of Rwandan including dress code, food growing, processing and preparation, traditional ceremonies and interpersonal relationship with in the community among others. From the village, you will leave Rwanda wondering about the organized cultural endowment.

While in Ibyi’wacu cultural village, expect to visit the king’s house and listening to all the Kings’ stories and meaning of all items within this house graced with the theatrical ceremony of enthroning you as the king by the village elder, will give you nothing but a flavor and immense experience of a real African royal for a moment.

Enjoy different types of traditional dances like Intore dance and Ibyivugo using local and traditional musical instruments, like Umuduri, Ikembe, Iningiri, Inanga, Ingoma, Amakondera, and Agakenke and so on. Also listen to the famous songs of the gorillas sang by the famous Ngayabatema as you sit back and meditate upon the conservation evolution of this endangered ape in the Virunga.

Remember to meet traditional healer as he lays before you the different plant species and their medicinal significance to the locals from time immemorial. While in his traditional clinic, he will demonstrate to you the prescription of those medicines and tasting one will be at your own will. You will then have an encounter with the elders for historic anecdotes about the life of Rwandans, the ancient kingdom wars, hazards that hit their community and all you need to hear about Rwanda.

Tourists can as well participate in dancing, singing, cultivation of crops, millet grinding using local grinding stones, and preparation of the traditional dishes like Ubugari and Igikoma while being helped by local women, will definitely give you a sense of belonging into this rustic community.

Experience the local beer making process at a local brewery as the ‘fan makers’ take you through the traditional methods of making the local beer out of bananas. Feel free to participate and taste when it is ready. The Batwa section will expose you to the poaching techniques once used as told by ex- poachers, their stories, the pottery making experience as well as the art and craft making demonstrated by the local women. All these are at your disposal with unlimited but guided active participation as you get immersed into a real Rwanda cultural experience.

While there, you will be guided on how to conduct yourself such that you blend well with the community so as not to make a negative impact as you interact and exchange cultural experiences with the locals. Do not hold back your cultural norms but rather share them with your hosts as this may bring a perfect understanding of one another and may bring out some similarity between both cultures. Visits vary in time duration as some may be half day, a day or even others may go for an overnight. The visit to this village rewards the cultural enthusiasts with a total understanding of the Rwandan culture

Littering of garbage, disrespect of the locals and taking something an authorized from this community, is highly prohibited. Endeavor to respect the full guidelines about the code of conduct which will be given to you on your arrival and be sure to have a mind- boggling cultural experience of a life time in Rwanda.

Skills obtained at Iby’wacu cultural village:

  • Visitors gain skills of singing traditional song sung in Kinyarwanda.
  • Tourists learn to make local beer from sweet bananas
  • The visitors also get hunting skills
  • Visitors learn to use local herbs to treat them selves
  • Visitors obtains the skills of playing drama and dancing.