Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony : The naming of the mountain gorilla ceremony is done annually by the country to celebrate the endangered mountain gorillas. The ceremony is shaped by the Rwanda tradition families where they named their children in the company of friends and relatives. Rwanda as a country is famous for having habituated mountain gorillas that are found in the volcanoes national park which is located within the virunga volcano massif.
Kwita izina is one of the biggest events on the Rwanda calendar. The ceremony involves naming of the newly born gorillas within the volcanoes national park and it’s because within the Rwandan culture, the newly born babies were presented to the extended family and given a name. The names were usually suggested by children and the parents of the infant. Then after they would choose a suitable name from the ones suggested. The names suggested carried meaning and that’s what the parents would consider when choosing the baby’s name. The ceremony was usually a lively one, identified by lots of food, drinks and dancing. This was a good time for merry-making and bonding with friends and family. Therefore in the same way the gorilla naming ceremony involved naming the baby gorillas that have been born within the year. The ceremony attracts many visitors both local and international to travel and witness the naming of the baby gorillas.
The naming of the baby gorillas is used as a platform for a number of things concerning mountain gorillas and the tourism sector in Rwanda and these include;
- Introducing new mountain gorillas to the public
- Giving an update on the mountain gorillas conservation works that are going on in the country and volcanoes national park
- Highlighting on what Rwanda is doing to protect and conserve mountain gorillas
- Promoting mountain gorilla trekking
- Thanking all the stake holders that contribute towards the success of mountain gorilla conservation programs. The stake holders include conservationists, different park teams including the rangers and trackers, primatologists and research patterns.
- Thanking the community that live around the volcanoes national park for their continued support towards the mountain gorilla conservation programs.
Kwita izina ceremony is carried out at the headquarters of volcanoes national park in kinigi and every newly born baby gorilla to be named on the occasion is represented by a statue or manikin dressed like a gorilla. The gorilla naming started in 2005 with the aim of conserving gorilla’s and their natural habitats. Kwita izina is always celebrated at the foothills of volcanoes national park and has been Rwanda’s leading foreign earner since 2007. The kwita izina mountain gorilla ceremonies are usually held in September to co-exist with the world’s gorilla day. The world gorilla day is a day that is used to promote mountain gorilla conservation programs and rally people to come and support with the aim of conserving the mountain gorillas.
As well the world gorilla day is when they commemorate the works of Dian Fossey, a famous mountain gorilla scholar and conservationist who established the karisoke research center to support the mountain gorilla studies that would later inform conservation strategies for the animals. The karisoke research center was launched in 1967 in Rwanda. The most pronounced mountain gorilla conservation program is mountain gorilla trekking which is the biggest revenue venture for other activities. Mountain gorilla trekking is an activity which takes you through the habitat which is the mountainous forest in search of the habituated gorillas and once they are located, you will spend an hour with them.
Mountain gorilla trekking is done throughout the year in the Rwanda volcanoes national park at a fee of 1500 USD per permit and per trek. The mountain gorilla trekking experience takes almost the whole day and starts at 7am with a briefing at the parks headquarters. After, you will be accompanied by the park rangers within the deep forest in search of the habituated gorillas. And once they are located, you will spend an hour with them as you take photos and record memories as well.