It is located about 20 minutes drive from Musanze district, in Kinigi area, Nyabigoma cell around Pac National Des Volcanoes. Iby’Iwacu means treasure of our home or our heritage. This is a living village which highlights aspects of traditional Rwanda society. It offers an adventurous stay in a traditional setting that has existed for centuries living with and next to mountain gorillas in Pac national des volcano. It is a non-profit umbrella organization that aims at improving the lives of reformed poachers and communities around Rwanda’s volcanoes national park through provision of conservation incentives, supporting community enterprise development and livelihood based projects. Visitors get chance to meet local people in their environment with a taste of culture and traditions. They are greeted by thunderous drumming and hospitality as they present aspects of their traditions and beliefs which is an amazing experience of a life time as visitors become part of their family.
This cultural village offers hands on activities in their daily lives like;
- Agricultural tourism is part of the wider experience where guests join local people when they go to their agricultural fields to work and learn about their work, harvest and participate in food preparation and making processes like millet grinding using stones, carrying potatoes and water on their heads, and attend lessons and participate in preparing a local dish i.e. (Ubugari, Igikoma).
- Community walks, guided by a community member, to visit different sites within the locality, this tour offers an unusual and unforgettable insight into the everyday lives of the village communities.
- Visiting the King’s house replica and listening to all the Kings’ stories, the meanings of different symbols within the palace guided by a local guide. In this place you can be a king for minutes, hours and days. You will be enthroned and can exercise King’s powers as bestowed to you by a village elder through a village ceremony.
- Enjoying eight different types of traditional dances by all community categories; men, women, youths and the children, and other local and traditional musical instruments (i.e. Intore dances, drumming, Ibyivugo, Umuduri, Ikembe, Iningiri, Inanga, Ingoma, Amakondera, Agakenke, etc.)
- Listening to the famous songs of the gorillas sang by the famous Ngayabatema, commonly referred to as Kayuku.
- Visiting a local traditional healer to hear about the different medicinal trees, shrubs, grass and their traditional medicinal uses and how they are administered to local patients.
- Visiting traditional clinics and pharmacies, the elderly and hear their interesting stories of pre and post-colonial era.
- Visiting local schools and if you are a teacher, you could offer and attend lessons and see how children are taught in schools.
- Preparing a local lunch or dinner with the local people.
- Attending a local banana brewery process and have a taste of local banana beer.
- Exchange of flow of experiences and ideas between local people and visitors (sharing cultural experiences).
- Ex-poachers ways of hunting /techniques, methods and stories from ex-poachers in particular Batwa (pygmies).
- Batwa pottery making experience, lessons and engagement.
- Artisans and craft making by women, men and children.
- Local football matches with tourists, and many more activities.
- The climax is igitaramo, where all gather around camp fire, with drums and local dances before sunset, where stories, riddles are recounted by storytellers of the old Rwanda with everyone seated around the fire. Every evening the village members gather around a campfire and begin a session of storytelling and dancing.
After a fantastic and memorable gorilla trek in Rwanda, you can visit the Iby’Iwacu cultural village one of the best place to hide, relax recuperate your mind. The tranquility and hospitality of the locals is amazing as your presence will be of great pleasure to the community members who will share with you and showcase the details of their past.