Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming Ceremony

Rwanda hosts this annual, week-long program of activities each September to raise awareness for the ongoing protection of the country’s mountain gorillas and the expansion of their habitat. One of the world’s most respected forums for conservation and sustainable tourism, Kwita Izina includes a conference, workshops and the highlight – a naming ceremony for the gorillas born in the country’s Volcanoes National Park over the past year or so. Here, invited guests take to the huge, silverback-shaped bamboo stage and assign each gorilla with a carefully chosen name according to the baby’s behavior and unique character traits, and which Rwandans believe will encourage good fortune and play a prominent role in shaping the infants’ futures.

The festivities which include traditional music, dancing and performances from local students and artists attract thousands of visitors each year, with conservationists, rangers and communities; international celebrities, dignitaries and the country’s President attending the ceremony near the town of Kinigi, at the foothills of the Virunga Massif. Rwanda’s conservation and responsible tourism initiatives – including a successful trekking program to see the gorillas in their forest home – benefit animals and people. It’s been estimated that an individual ‘habituated’ mountain gorilla can indirectly generate around $3 million during its lifetime from tourism income. Revenue from the sale of trekking permits to see the gorillas helps to support Volcanoes National Park, and three other protected wildlife reserves across the country. In addition, 10% of tourism revenue is shared with communities living around the park, and locals are employed as vets, researchers, trackers, porters and guides, while others work in safari lodges and camps. Over the last 2 years, the event was held virtually due to pandemic.

Get ready for the physical one, one of the world’s most important celebrations of nature and meet Rwanda’s newborn baby gorillas. In 2005, Rwanda began officially naming mountain gorillas in what has become a global celebration of nature. By giving a name to these majestic animals, we give them a value they undoubtedly deserve. The ceremony is an opportunity to thank the communities that live around Volcanoes National Park, our research partners, vets and the dedicated conservationists, rangers and trackers who protect the gorillas. Over the last 17 years, 354 mountain gorillas have been named.

The 18th Kwita Izina will be held on Friday, 2 September 2022, 20 baby gorillas will be named and will celebrate the country’s commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism.

Trips to consider;

9 Days Rwanda Tour

15 Days Best of Rwanda Safari

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments