IBY’IWACHU CULTURAL VILLAGE
IBY’IWACHU CULTURAL VILLAGE
Rwanda is a landlocked country south of the equator in East Africa. It is famous for mountain gorillas and its breathtaking scenery and is referred to as the “Land of 1000 hills.” The major ethnic groups in Rwanda are the Tutsi and Hutu who make the biggest percentage of the population and the Twa (pygmies) make less than 1%. The culture of Rwanda incorporates a number of elements that include dress codes, music, and dance which are essential in Rwanda ceremonies, gatherings, and storytelling. Drums and other instruments are used to make music and the Rwandan sound and dances are unique. Iby’Iwachu cultural village in Kinigi, exhibits and demonstrates Rwanda’s rich culture.
Iby’Iwachu translating from the local dialect to “our heritage” or “what is ours” is where a traveler to Rwanda will ever witness the culture and lifestyle of the people of Rwanda who inhabited the land from dawn time. Despite the limited ethnic diversity like the neighbors Uganda (with over 54 tribes) Rwanda has only three that have bonded as one after the pre-colonial times and 1994 genocide. This has created a comprehensive culture making it rich with various values, customs, norms, and traditions.
The cultural village is about 20 minutes’ drive from Volcanoes National park and it was started to respond and give options to the now-former poachers. After it was discovered that the death of gorillas by snares wasn’t necessarily meant to kill gorillas but other edible animals in the park and also the pressure on land, the option to earn directly from tourism was created and the cultural village was birthed. This was to conserve wildlife and also improve the lives of these reformed poachers through the presentation of the unique culture and history of Rwanda.
When you visit Iby’iwachu Cultural village, you will engage in any of the following activities:
- Guided community walk takes visitors to different sites around the village as you experience the lifestyle of the locals.
- Cultural tour. On a daily, A Queen and King are enthroned by the visitors and are dressed in attires similar to those of the Rwandan Kings. The cultural guide will take you through the place as he explains all the houses and stories about them. After enjoying the traditional dance performances and listen to the melodies from the different traditional musical instruments.
- Visit the traditional healer who tells and explains the different medicinal trees, shrubs, and grass that were and are used to cure different diseases.
- Learn how to prepare locally and also visit the local banana brewery and learn how the locals used to male local banana beer.
- Visit the Batwa. The Batwa were originally forest people. They were hunters and gatherers who lived for thousands of years surviving on forest resources for food, medicine, and shelter. After their eviction from the forest by the government to protect the forest and conserve the resources, most of them turned into poachers because they were not used to life outside the forest. The start of the Iby’iwachu cultural village gave them an option other than poaching. Now they earn directly from demonstrating to visitors how they used to gather fruits, hunt using arrows and bows, and the women engage in craft making.
A visit to Iby’iwachu cultural village will give you insight into the traditions and culture of Rwanda. Whether it is a short time after the gorilla tracking or a full day. Don’t miss the encounter.