Iby’iwacu Cultural Center, Volcanoes National Park
Originally, the inhabitants of what is now Volcanoes National Park survived by poaching; they killed and ate animals in the surrounding area to survive. Now, 32 of these former poachers support themselves as cultural ambassadors, craftsmen, and performers for visitors to the Iby’lwacu Cultural Center. The center is a non-profit organization; all of the income supports conservation efforts, local businesses, and other community projects. It is easy to end your Rwanda gorilla tracking tour with a visit to the center.
Visitors to the center can enjoy a performance of native dance and music by drummers and dancers, as well as a traditional wedding ceremony recreated by local performers. This traditional drama will put a smile on your face and fill out your tour in Rwanda. Tickets to the show cost $50 USD per person.
At the center, you can also see and purchase a variety of local crafts, such as baskets, walking sticks, and even carved gorillas made from materials sourced within the park, such as wood and lava rock.
For an even more immersive experience, you can cook and eat a meal of local foods with your guides at the center. Learn how the people of Volcanoes National Park use the resources around them to create staple dishes such as matoke, a dish of cooked plantains, beans, potatoes, and peanut sauce, and chapati, the pan-cooked flatbread ubiquitous to the region.
Finally, visitors wishing to spend the night with the community at the center can do so in one of three newly-built bandas. For $70 per night, including room and all meals, up to six people can stay deep in the jungle for an immersive Rwanda safari unlike any other.