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Cultural experiences in Rwanda
Cultural experiences in Rwanda
Cultural experiences in Rwanda

Cultural experiences in Rwanda

Experience the extraordinary culture in Rwanda

Rwanda has a rich and well documented cultural history. Far from being clearly distinct tribes, the Hutu and the Tutsi who comprise the majority of the population, speak the same language (Kinyarwanda) and have always intermarried and lived and worked together on the same fertile hillsides. They traditionally paid tribute to the same king and followed the same traditional belief system before Europeans arrived.

Their socio-economic differences were reinforced in the colonial era (the Belgian rulers assigned Tutsi identity to people owning ten or more cows and Hutu identity to everyone else) and provoked into violence in the horrific 1994 genocide in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered by neighbourhood death squads under military control. Since this dark phase in Rwanda’s history the country has undergone a long period of healing and many citizens no longer refer to themselves as Hutu or Tutsi, but simply as Rwandans.

A visit to Rwanda inevitably brings you face to face with this turbulent past and gives you an appreciation for just how far the country has come over the past few decades. Your guides are likely to be open and informative about their often traumatic life stories. Driving through Rwanda today you will pass dozens of genocide memorials, drive through bustling villages, lush farms and plantations of tea and coffee. Children smile and wave at your car as you pass, and locals are happy to stop for a chat. Despite its recent history Rwanda has retained a strong sense of tradition which is reflected in music, arts and dance.

Expert Africa’s itineraries in Rwanda are all conducted with a private guide and vehicle, giving you the flexibility to stop in the villages, visit genocide memorials, or explore roadside villages and landscapes as you wish. Many people visiting the country will spend time at the sobering genocide memorial in Kigali, which provides insight and context for the rest of your time in Rwanda. The King’s Palace museum, on the way from Kigali to Nyungwe Forest, gives you a feel for the traditional way of life in Rwanda as well as the history of the old kings. A number of lodges can also arrange specific cultural experiences, such as guided village walks accompanied by locals and dance performances laid on for guests. It’s best to put aside any doubts about authenticity when witnessing such cultural displays, and to treat them as visually spectacular re-enactments or theatrical performances.

Sabyinyo Silverback

Sabyinyo is owned by a community trust (SACOLA), with a portion of the profits being fed back into community projects such as vegetable gardens, farms and beehives. The lodge has close links with the local village and guided walks can easily be arranged.


Mountain Gorilla View

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has strong ties with the surrounding communities and supports a local 'Intore' dance troop who perform at the lodge each afternoon. The word 'Intore' means warrior and bands of sisal on headbands portray dancers as fearsome lions.


Mountain Gorilla View

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has strong ties with the surrounding communities and supports a local 'Intore' dance troop who perform at the lodge each afternoon. The word 'Intore' means warrior and bands of sisal on headbands portray dancers as fearsome lions.


Mountain Gorilla View

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has strong ties with the surrounding communities and supports a local 'Intore' dance troop who perform at the lodge each afternoon. The word 'Intore' means warrior and bands of sisal on headbands portray dancers as fearsome lions.


Mountain Gorilla View

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has strong ties with the surrounding communities and supports a local 'Intore' dance troop who perform at the lodge each afternoon. The word 'Intore' means warrior and bands of sisal on headbands portray dancers as fearsome lions.


Mountain Gorilla View

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has strong ties with the surrounding communities and supports a local 'Intore' dance troop who perform at the lodge each afternoon. The word 'Intore' means warrior and bands of sisal on headbands portray dancers as fearsome lions.


Bisate Lodge

Bisate works very closely with the local community and complimentary village walks are offered to all guests, this is a good way to get a feel for the rural way of life in Rwanda. Many of the staff come from the local area and Bisate has invested in a number of community projects.


Mountain Gorilla View

Mountain Gorilla View Lodge has strong ties with the surrounding communities and supports a local 'Intore' dance troop who perform at the lodge each afternoon. The word 'Intore' means warrior and bands of sisal on headbands portray dancers as fearsome lions.

Cultural experiences elsewhere in Africa

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Where to see wildlife species in Africa

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite African animals based on traveller sightings reports from the field.


Buffalo

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

1,112 sightings from 1,335 observations

Where to see buffalo in Africa

Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee

Pan troglodytes

The chimpanzee is our closest living relative. This highly intelligent great ape is a forest animal with a sophisticated social life. Any encounter in the wild is a memorable experience.

100% SUCCESS

17 sightings from 17 observations

Where to see chimpanzee in Africa

Elephant

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

1,590 sightings from 1,750 observations

Where to see elephant in Africa

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

83% SUCCESS

1,523 sightings from 1,833 observations

Where to see giraffe in Africa

Hippo

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

1,168 sightings from 1,310 observations

Where to see hippo in Africa

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

50% SUCCESS

903 sightings from 1,799 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Africa

Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

45% SUCCESS

840 sightings from 1,873 observations

Where to see leopard in Africa

Lion

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

80% SUCCESS

1,314 sightings from 1,646 observations

Where to see lion in Africa

Mountain Gorilla

Mountain Gorilla

Gorilla beringei

The world’s most impressive primate, the mountain gorilla inhabits a handful of locations in Africa’s equatorial cloud forests, where guided treks offer an intense wildlife experience.

95% SUCCESS

18 sightings from 19 observations

Where to see mountain gorilla in Africa

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

29% SUCCESS

261 sightings from 899 observations

Where to see black rhino in Africa

Pangolin

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

2% SUCCESS

27 sightings from 1,487 observations

Where to see pangolin in Africa

Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

3% SUCCESS

43 sightings from 1,572 observations

Where to see aardvark in Africa

Eland

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

45% SUCCESS

613 sightings from 1,362 observations

Where to see eland in Africa

Zebra

Zebra

Equus sp.

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

1,724 sightings from 2,057 observations

Where to see zebra in Africa

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

24% SUCCESS

228 sightings from 959 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Africa

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

21% SUCCESS

198 sightings from 954 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Africa

Sitatunga

Sitatunga

Tragelaphus spekii

The sitatunga is the most aquatic of Africa’s antelopes and specially adapted to its swampy habitats. Though widespread across Africa, only a handful of places offer reliable sightings.

20% SUCCESS

25 sightings from 122 observations

Where to see sitatunga in Africa

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