The Rwanda Cultural Tour & Experience
While it might have been the gorillas that entice you to Rwanda, it’s the people of Rwanda who will keep you coming back. Ancient traditions of honour and hospitality run strong here, and anybody who takes the time to discover Rwandan culture for themselves will find a proud and unique people, happy to welcome you into their lives and introduce you to their traditions. Music and dance play an indispensable role in everyday life here, and performances range from dashing demonstrations of bravery and prowess to humorous songs, light-hearted dances, and rural artistry with roots in traditional agriculture. Traditional songs are often accompanied by a solitary lulunga—a harp-like instrument with eight strings—while more celebratory dances are backed by a drum orchestra, which typically comprises seven to nine members who collectively produce a hypnotic and exciting explosion set of intertwining rhythms. Below we list different cultural experiences that you can easily incorporate into your trip to Rwanda.
About Rwanda and Its People
The indigenous people of Rwanda have family roots from three distinct ethnic groups each with its own unique culture, rituals and others but generally harmoniously living with each other. The largest ethnic groups are the Hutus, which make up about 85% of Rwanda’s population; the Tutsis, which are 14%; and the Twa, with only 1% of the total population.
Our Rwanda cultural tours bring you closest to these indigenous people. Previously, cultural ceremonies played a very big role in passing on vital hidden information to community members that each individual interpreted and reacted as a community expected of them. However with increased population on a land through migrations, emigrations, intermarriages and mingling with other people, introduction of western education, the traditional Rwandan lifestyle has changed; the people are living a mixed and socially improved lifestyle.
Visit the Imigongo Art Center
Imigongo Art Center is a social business whose mission is to create, innovate Imigongo art-making as a way add to the efforts of creating jobs for the youth and women in rural Rwanda. Imigongo art is a type of art that is made through patterns that are made of cow dung base. This art is native to Rwanda from the East in an area originally known as Igisaka, now a part of Ngoma and Kirehe districts. Imigongo art is one of the art that is affordable but has all the originality of the real art.
The Arts and crafts activities will show you how local artisans will create their products; the Imigongo is an iconic Rwanda art and innate to the Eastern province which is a family of black smiths showing their creative talents and the traditional dancers that express Rwanda culture through music and the movement. Plan to arrive at the center at 8am(note that the center is open from 6am) and begin your day with us, the center is open until 8pm.
The Humure Refugee Village Tour
On your visit to this Refugee camp/village, the people of Humure and Ramiro will receive you happily to offer you the chance to participate in their community activities. The very much welcoming villagers are among the poorest and most disadvantaged members of Rwandan society, but the tidiness in their self-constructed little homes and their warm natural hospitality are absolutely captivating. As you visit these refugees, you may consider a small donation to enrich their lifestyles.
The Humure Refugee Village Tour is a 40 minutes’ drive from Akagera National park, and this will include; visits to the local Cooperatives and you will be able to enjoy cooking and dancing. There are also trips and one of the famous trip is the one that leaves the southern part of the park and passes through all the lakes going through north and then turning back when you arrive Mutumba Hills.
Rwanda Cultural Dance Tours
Music and dance are an essential part to be played when it comes to the African cultures and traditions. The finest displays of Rwanda’s dynamic traditional musical and dance styles are performed by the Intore Dance Troupes. Founded several centuries ago, the Intore, (The Chosen Ones) who performed exclusively for the Royal Court, were given military training and taught the technique of jumping which forms a significant part of the dance. Performed wearing grass wigs and clutching spears this dance is a true spectacle of Rwanda.
Live dance performances can be seen at cultural villages, museums and as entertainment at many lodges and hotels across Rwanda. The Iby’ Iwacu cultural village in Musanze, and the National Museum of Rwanda have regular performances and daily dances occur at Kinigi, Volcanoes National Park.
Iby’iwacu cultural village Tour
A Rwanda cultural tour to Ibyiwacu cultural village is one of the key features that make Rwanda safaris exceptional experiences. Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village gives you a rare chance to meet local people, in their environment, with a taste of our culture and traditions. Be genuinely welcomed by the community as a special visitor while they proudly present to you aspects of their traditions and beliefs. The only way to get to know people, is getting close and interacting with local people, and taking part in their daily activities and most of all with them.
Visiting the village you can discover the traditional house of a local king, watch an authentic medicine man prepare herbal mixtures, try your hand at bow and arrow shooting or enjoy cultural dances and drumming performed by people from the local area. The guided walk of the village takes around an hour and you can freely take photographs. A tip of USD$ 20 minimum is normally expected.
Azizi Life Cultural Experience
A Cultural Experience and Discovery with Rwandans Azizi Life is a life-changing experience in Rural Rwanda- a short distance from Kigali will be a life changing Cultural Encounter with some of the friendliest people in Africa. You will experience life as average Rwandans do each day of their lives and unlike most of us – many of them that you will meet have gone through the nightmare and trauma of the 1994 genocide either as victim or as perpetrators – most often you will never know since in Africa once keeps things within and deals with it in the traditional African Rwandan ways.
This Azizi Life experience gives you an opportunity to understand what life is like for an average Rwandan and get to learn new skills as you deeply to know the real Rwanda and its people. As you book your safari, choose to include a day with Azizi Life in Rural Rwanda and we will happily adjust any itinerary that allows you to experience Rwanda at its essence.
Tour the Ankole "Cattle of Kings"
The Beautiful Ankole Cattle with their Long Horns – and beautiful coats can be seen throughout your travels in Southwest Uganda and in Rwanda – on the roads, blocking the roads and even at King’s Palace in Rwanda where they are called Inyambo Cows and perform the Dance of the Cows. Visitors to Rwanda should take in the Inyambo ceremonial cows at the King’s Palace Museum located in Rukari, Nyanza district, home to Inyambo- the traditional cows.
In Rwanda – the most prestigious,, the noblest cow is “Inyambo” with a blackish or brownish – red hide, large – beautifully shaped horns and large hoofs. Other Ankole cows of any coloration are called Ibigarama while short cows, cows that are not lean are called Inkuku which may be a version of the Bantu word for Chicken. You will also find Beef sold everywhere on Skewers called Muchomo in Uganda.
The Presidential Palace Museum
Located in Kigali about 2 km from Kigali International Airport, the Palace served as home to Juvenal Habyarimana and Pasteur Bizimungu during the 1970s up to the late 1990s. The Presidential Palace Museum is one of the new museums in Kigali. It gives visitors a chance to visit the former state house as well as gain an overview of Rwanda’s history especially the flight debris of the FALCON 50 presidential plane that went down on 6 April 1994.
The Presidential Palace Museum is also locally known as ‘Habyarimana’s house’.and is open 7 days a week from 9.00 am to 5pm (with the exception of umuganda, when they open at 11 a.m). Entering the museum for non-residents is Rwandan Francs 6,000 and for people with a resident visa part with Rwf 5,000. Always come with your residency card as they do verify your immigration status. Taking photos at the palace, you pay Rwf 2,000 and this qualifies you to take pictures outside of the house and the gardens.
The Coffee Culture Experience
Rwanda has cultivated some of the finest gourmet coffee in the world, unfortunately, most Rwandans have not tasted some of the coffee in the world that is grown in their own backyard since Rwandans still love their Tea that also is cultivated in the Land of a Thousand Hills.
Rwanda – produces some of the Best Coffee in Africa and the Bourbon variety (no Bourbon in it – it has become of the most sought-after gourmet coffees in the world and you can find it in specialty coffee shops around the world – including Starbucks and Starbucks Rwandan competitor Bourbon Coffee restaurants that not only serve Rwanda’s best in Kigali but have outlets in Washington DC, Boston, and New York – Bourbon Coffee Restaurants that bring Rwanda to the USA.