Gorilla Naming ceremony in Rwanda mostly referred to as Kwita Izina in Rwanda is an ancient tradition which involves holding a ceremony to name new born baby gorillas born in the past year. Introduced in 2005, this is a uniquely Rwandan event to name new born gorilla babies. For the past 30 years before the first official gorilla naming ceremony, the park rangers & researchers named the baby gorillas as an important way of monitoring each one of them in their group/family and habitat.
The Kwita Izina (Rwanda Gorilla Naming ceremony) is now an annual event that hosts a week-long program of activities every September initiated as a means of bringing attention internationally about the importance of protecting the endangered mountain gorillas. On a set date, invited guests converge at a silverback-shaped bamboo stage where they assign each baby gorilla with a carefully selected name according to the baby’s behavior and unique character traits.
Since the first Gorilla Naming Ceremony in 2005, about two hundred eighty one (281) gorilla babies have been named, on the 7th of September 2019 thousands of Rwandans, conservation partners, special guests and friends of Rwanda gathered at Kinigi, Musanze right on the foothills of Volcanoes National Park to celebrate milestone 15th Kwita Izina baby gorilla naming ceremony. The next Kwita Izina 2020 official date is to be communicated in due time.
During this event there is also a limited number of ‘behind the scenes’ scientific tours which are only available during this period to give visitors the unique opportunity of experiencing the Mountain Gorilla conservation and veterinary programs in Musanze, interacting directly with researchers and park officials.
A Kwita Izina Gala Dinner is also organised to bring industry players and leaders together to celebrate a common cause; to support Rwanda’s conservation success and raise funds for key conservation projects.
Gorilla trekking tours in Rwanda
In Rwanda mountain gorillas live in the Volcanoes national park and the others in the Virunga Mountains on the border of DRC. Rwanda Gorilla Permits go for 1500$ as of June 2017 because of the need to raise extra funding towards conservation of the mountain gorilla habitats.
Volcanoes National Park is located in Musanze village also known as Ruhengeri, which is very accessible by public transport from Gisenyi or Kigali or from the airport. It’s a 2 hour drive to the park and the Headquarters are located in Kinigi.