Rwanda, a landlocked country in East Africa is popularly known for its beautiful mountains, landscape, wildlife and national parks. Every year, the country cashes in big on tourism with visits to these astonishing sites that have been well preserved and properly developed to accommodate and entertain people.
Aside from these sites, the country has plenty of museums and art centres that leave a tourist with a little piece of Rwanda, something to take home and new knowledge about the country’s history and its current state.
In the midst of all these places, one of the most outstanding tourist destinations in Rwanda remains the Iby’Iwacu village.
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The Iby’Iwacu cultural village is home to the Banyarwanda as the people of Rwanda are known. Under this group are three subgroups: the Batwa, Hutu and Tutsi, who offer a mix of cultural practices and beliefs that make their cultural village worth a visit.
The village is located on the outskirts of the Volcanoes National Park in the Musanze district of Rwanda and is a 15- minutes drive from Sabinyo Silverback Lodge for tourists who prefer to lodge outside of the village.
What makes this village very unique is the fact that the king and his people have opened up their village as a must-visit site.
Upon arriving at the village, a tourist is first welcomed by the king, who takes them to a replica of the king’s palace where they are treated to drumming and dancing and taken round but a guide who answers questions and describes everything in the palace.
On a lucky day, a tourist could get the chance to be crowned a king or a queen and live in the palace replica, enjoying everything that comes with it.
Visitors are encouraged to stay with a host family to experience the day to day activities of the people, which include cooking, eating and entertaining themselves. The village is also famous for its very artistic mud house paintings.
Tourists will also be taken on mock hunting expeditions and join farmers in planting or harvesting. They are also taught how to make the famous local banana beer and take some away as gifts.
One of the highlights is the famous intore dance and songs of the gorillas, which visitors will get to enjoy.
In the evening, tourists are invited to a bonfire setting where stories about culture and history are told, with singing and dancing following shortly after.
Before one leaves, a tourist is sure to witness a variety of cultural practices such as weddings and naming ceremonies. Back at the king’s replica palace, a mock naming ceremony and wedding is held for tourists to enjoy.
There is also a cultural market where tourists can buy cultural items including the village’s famous pots and crafts made especially for visitors.
The Iby’Iwacu cultural village is very unique for its openness and contribution to preserving authentic Rwandan culture. The village is also known for helping solve the poachers problem that the area faced years ago.