“Kwita Izina” Gorilla Naming ceremony, Rwanda

Mountain Gorillas earns Rwanda a lot of foreign exchange as far as tourism is concerned. In Kinyarwanda culture, it is traditional to name every new born baby for easy identification however, this is done during the ceremonies. Like wise, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) started the same idea to start Gorilla naming ceremonies known as “Kwita Izina” which is conducted every year. Gorilla naming ceremony was initiated in 2005 with the aim of promoting Gorilla tourism.

Today, Gorilla naming ceremony is recognized internationally and the event is attended by many travelers as well as tour operators from many parts of the world. Currently Gorilla naming ceremony has seen 173 baby gorillas named in a function that normally takes place in June of every year at the foot hills of Virunga Mountains in Kinigi, Musanze district in the Northern Province.

Every year, Gorilla naming ceremony is done under conservation related themes – on the other hand the themes aim at celebrating the efforts of all those that have contributed to the welfare and conservation of gorillas by ensuring growth in their population. As a tour operator, i noted that many tourists are interested  to meeting the  Gorilla groups with babies -that is why baby gorillas are highly protected.

Baby Gorillas are given names related to nature conservation effort – names like Imigano – meaning Bamboo forest, Icyororo – meaning Fertile,  Inyungura- meaning Addition, Ubukerarugendo- meaning Tourism and so on.

It shouldnot be forgotten that since 2003, the population has grown by 26, 3% – finally the event has torched the souls of the former poachers to turn into responsible  citizens to preserve the natural environment on which gorilla tourism is based.

Rwanda is one of the three countries where tourists can see mountain gorillas on tours into the wild. Thousands of travelers take gorilla tours to Volcanoes National Park, one of the four parks that are home to the mountain gorillas.