Gorilla Guardians Village

Gorilla Guardians Village is where the former inhabitants of Volcanoes National park currently reside, it is also known as Iby’iwacu cultural village, “Iby’iwacu” a Kinyarwanda word meaning “Treasure of our home and heritage.” The village is located in Nyabigoma village, Musanze District just 2 km away from Volcanoes National Park famously known for gorilla trekking in Rwanda and being part of the great Virunga Mountain ranges.

The village is a cultural attraction that displays all the different cultures and traditions in Rwanda, tribal groups like the Tusti, Huntu and Twa people are unified by showcasing their different cultures to the world at the cultural center.  If you are interested in knowing what a typical African village looked like in Rwanda, how the houses were constructed, the way of life, the dress codes, the food eaten, the herbs and medicine used before modern medicine was introduced. While here, tourists have the opportunity to learn about Rwanda’s history such as the ancient kingdoms, colonial era and the genocide period, there are also lots of activities one can engage in such as basket weaving, try out the hunting skills and pottery making. 

The Guardians Village was established to improve on the lives of people and communities that stay close to Volcanoes National Park famously known for gorilla trekking adventures. Therefore visiting the Guardians Village is an additional activity you can enjoy after the hectic gorilla treks or mountain climbing in Volcanoes National Park. The people who reside at the village were once poachers like the Twa people who now perform cultural dances at the village, by participating in the different activities in the village, the people have turned out to be protectors and guardians of the park by engaging in the conservation efforts.

Activities you can engage in at this village

Cultural performances (Music, Dance and drama)

The best way to express African culture is through dance, music and drama, performers at the village perform different and unique musical sounds such as Ingoma, Intore, Iningiri, Inanga, Agakenke, Ibyivugo, Amakondera and Umuduri, all these dances tell a story and history, different songs and musical instruments are also used when performing plus the dress code. For example, the Intore dance is a warrior dance performed by men dressed with grass clothing and bells wrapped around their legs, their dance is accompanied by spears that they use to imitate how warriors use them at war.

You can also participate in the dances and songs sang, the performers guide you to imitate what they are doing. You can also participate in the traditional wedding drama where the king weds the queen.

Community visits

The village is also a community made up of former inhabitants of the volcanoes National Park, with all the rich history found in the village, imagine how much you will learn when you get to interact with the locals on a personal level. You can visit the locals and hear stories from the elders about how the ancient times were like, you also get to take part in meal preparations like grinding millet and also harvesting plantain from the banana plantations.

Visiting the Kings Palace

This part of the village demonstrates how the ancient kingdoms looked like, you will notice that small details that have been put in place to imitate the palaces, the guides will explain what every symbol depicts.

How to get there

The village can be reached by road transport from Musanze town or Kigali city and it is always open from 8 am to 6 pm. The entrance fee is $20 for international tourists and 5,000 RWF for East African residents which cover all activities and experiences in the village.

Visiting the gorilla guardians’ village is great experience for tourists who love discovering and learning about different cultures. 

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