Culture in Rwanda
A country full of history and culture
Known as the "land of a thousand hills", Rwanda is a mountainous country, landlocked in East Africa. The majority of people live in family compounds scattered across the hillsides, and a visit to Rwanda is as much about the people and culture, as it is the wildlife. The kind-hearted and lively souls of Rwandan people will undoubtedly play an integral part in your experience in the country.
Music and dance
Traditional music and dance have been a key part of Rwandan ceremonies, social gatherings, storytelling and pre-colonial era, and today, are just as important. Unlike other African countries, the traditional music and dancing in Rwanda is not associated with particular ethnic or regional groups but instead, represent unity in the nation as a whole. During your stay in Rwanda, it is likely a traditional song and dance will be performed with such energy and enthusiasm. This is usually one of the highlights for guests, especially in the Volcanoes National Park, as the Virunga mountains offer a dramatic landscape to the colourful and talented local dancers.
The style and design of a Rwandan building is exemplified in the design of the Royal Palace of the traditional monarch. Its spherical structure has been used as an architectural template for camps and lodges across the country. For example, Bisate Lodge, which is a very high-end property in the Volcanoes National Park, is made of a collection of rounded thatched huts. The interior inside is elegant and colourful, with a strong use of woven materials with a strong resonance in Rwandan culture.
Tourism and community engagement
It is important to recognise that tourism plays an integral part in the development and protection in the conservation and ongoing work in Rwanda’s national parks. Rwanda has created many employment opportunities for local communities, such as working as guides, rangers, porters and community conservation leaders who work daily with tourists in the Volcanoes National Park. Not only has this uplifted the standard of living and wellbeing of local people, but has also a huge opportunity for Rwandan tourism to grow year upon year.
What is also great to see in Rwanda today, is that many of the lodges (which have undeniable thrived off the gorilla tourism), are providing an experience that is beyond the ‘gorilla express’. Many visitors will leave with enriched understanding, not only of the majestic primates, but also about the ecosystem they live in, and the conservation and economic issues that continue to threaten them on a daily basis.