The Kwita Izina ceremony is an important annual ceremony where newborn gorillas are named. The event is conducted once a year every September. Travelers looking to meeting the great apes on gorilla safaris in Rwanda in early September do not miss this annual event that is done in the first week. The idea was derived from the old tradition in Rwanda where names are given to children in the presence of friends & family.
The Kwita Izina ceremony was introduced in 2005; this is the year when the naming of gorillas started officially. Today, it has become tradition in Rwanda and it is done each year. Giving names to these humble apes is amazingly one way of attaching value to them.
Great thanks go to the local communities that live adjacent to the park for their commitment to ensure protection of these apes. In the space of about 18 years, about 374 mountain gorillas have been given names. The 2022 baby naming ceremony took place on Friday and the celebration was done based on sustainable and responsible tourism.
Kwita Izina celebration was introduced as a way to promote conservation, biodiversity and encourage environmental sustainability. The word Kwita Izina is derived from Kinyarwanda word meaning to give a name. Previously, the park rangers and researchers could give names to newborns when monitoring every gorilla in their group and habitat.
Today, Kwita Izina is more than giving names. It presents a great opportunity to recognize the local communities’ efforts to supporting conservation of these apes and their habitat.
The names are provided has attached aspirations parents have for their children. The names are used to determine destinations considering the names given. The Kwita Izina also plays an important part in creating awareness and raising funds for the ongoing conservation of these unique apes and also to extend their home range.
The annual naming celebrations are conducted at Kinigi. This is where Volcanoes National Park head offices are found and each day, briefing about gorilla trekking rules are conducted from here by the park official.
Where do Rwanda mountain gorillas live?
Over 30% of the remaining mountain gorillas on the planet earth survive within Volcanoes National Park, Northwestern Rwanda. The park currently holds 12 habituated families of mountain gorillas including Sabyinyo, Agashya, Amahoro, Umubano, Ugenda, Pablo, Kwitonda, Titus, Susa B (Karisimbi), and more.
During the gorilla trek, a family you will be assigned may comprise of adults, sub-adults, males, females and infants. The gorilla trekking permits are issued to visitors at US$1500 per person and they give you a chance to visit one fully habituated group.