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Kwita Izina, Baby Gorilla Naming Ceremony


Kwita Izina, is the gorilla naming ceremony organised by Rwanda every year since 2005, this ceremony has been attracting growing interest from abroad. Departure to Kinigi, Volcanoes National Park headquarters for the ‘Kwita Izina’ Mountain Gorilla Baby Naming Ceremony. , Kwita Izina,is a unique Rwandan event, is not only a celebration of newly born mountain gorilla babies, but also serves to raise awareness of the importance of the protection of species and their habitats at community, national and international levels.

The first set of gorillas to be named was in 2005 when  Kwita Izina was launched. Since then, over 258 mountain gorillas have been given different names, which is surely a great achievement. During the ceremony, the babies are picked from different gorilla families in Volcanoes national park and given names. The park has a total of 10 gorilla families and is a home to the highest population of gorillas in the Virunga conservation area in Rwanda.

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7 Facts about Rwanda’s Gorilla Naming ceremony(Kwita Izina)


1. Trueth be told, there are no actual gorillas at Kwita Izina

The Rwanda Development Board will not bring the real gorilla for a full day event. Instead you will get a photo list of little gorillas born that year. There will be dashes for names, and you can entertain yourself by making them up, however, the real thing is going to be done from the stage, by important personalities from around the globe.

2. The Event is always held in the same venue annually. 

You can plan for this. The setting is Kinigi, the headquarters of Volcanoes National Park not far from Musanze Town, and it happens the first Friday of September, beginning in the morning.

3. It is a free event with online registration

You will have to apply for your free ticket to Kwita Izina online (we will add the link for Kwita Izina 2019 when it becomes available), and that will be it.

4. This is massive, arrive early

It is an excellent idea to be at the site before 8am. The best parking places and the best seats will still be available for you to grab. The entertainment begins early, you can meet many lovely people and thoroughly enjoy the informal side of Kwita Izina. Tens of thousands of people will join you later.

5. There are a number of speeches

In addition to famous singers and performers and top traditional dancing groups, there are of course a couple of people who are expected to say something. If you are lucky, you will hear President Kagame himself, and each of the gorilla namers will explain her or his choice. It will help your focus if you can actually see the speakers in real life, instead of following the action on big screens – see Practical Thing #4!

6. It takes hours but there is shade and there are drinks

Kwita Izina is a multi-hour event. You will be seated in big tents and there will be a bar.

7. Gorilla names are not a gimmick, they are real.

Finally, gorilla names are actually a practical thing. After decades of conservation efforts, the number of mountain gorillas on this planet is bigger than 1,000 at last — but that still calls for extreme attention to each and every individual! For example, there are specialized gorilla doctors taking care of their health… Professionals who work with gorillas use nose prints (peculiar wrinkles above nostrils) to know who is who.

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