Cultural Tours Around Akagera National Park Rwandaadmin
In partnership between the park and the local communities, the freelance community guides have also organized for some interesting safaris as well as cultural adventures for park visitors to participate in. there are also 4 choices; the Heritage which is the culture of cattle, the local production that’s beers and the bees, arts and crafts as well as the celebration which is food and festivities.
Each of these safaris give a glance into the life in communities around the park. You can try your hans at each and everything form milking a cow to making the Imigongo paintings, sampling of honey on the comb, helping in preparing a local meal, engaging in a traditional Rwandan dance. Each of the cultural tours will take you only three hours and will cost only $20 per person with a minimum of three people.
This is also a 40 minutes’ drive from Akagera National park, and this will include; visits to the local Cooperatives and you will be able to enjoy cooking and dancing. There are also trips and one of the famous trip is the one that leaves the southern part of the park and passes through all the lakes going through north and then turning back when you arrive Mutumba Hills. The accommodation in the park also includes the Akagera Game logde that is close to Lake Ihema and Ruzizi tented camp.
- The Imigongo Art and Craft Centre:
This was also designed by Prince Kakira that created the art of house decoration using cow dung and is also usually produced by the women. Dry dung is put together with colors from the organic material like the plants to create white and red paints. The paintings from the Kakira cooperatives are also well known recently.
Heritage also takes you to the cattle farm to try your own hands at Milking a cow and then learn about the rituals around milk. You will as well visit the farmer’s home and then see how milk was traditionally kept, treated and preserved until it’s turned into ghee. There are special vessels that are sometimes used for storing and drinking of milk and the herbs that are smoked to flavor the milk.
In case you are interested in the local production, the other activity will take you to honey cooperative in order to learn both the traditional and modern methods of bee keeping. In the same tour, you will also visit a family producing urwagwa or the banana beer, and can sample the wares at a bar across the road.
The Arts and crafts activities will also show you how local artisans will create their products; the Imigongo is an iconic Rwanda art and innate to the Eastern province which is a family of black smiths showing their creative talents and the traditional dancers that express Rwanda culture through music and the movement.
More so to these cultural activities, the guides have come up with 7km mid-range to difficult walk along a section of the boundary fence line. The whole fence line is walked on a daily basis by a team of fence attendants, also walk in their shoes for a small section of the 120km boundary fence that plays an important in the conservation of Akagera; which allows for the recent re introduction of lions, decreasing human wildlife conflicts on the park boundary and more so creating community support for the park.
These activities also provide the opportunities of engaging with people about their daily lives and excited of sharing their stories. Meanwhile the income from these activities and is shared with the participating community members and it gives additional revenue, directly through tourism to the families living along the boundary of the park, showing the benefits of tourism and thus creating long term support for the conservation of Akagera National Park.