We believe the cultural diversity of Tanzania is one of its greatest strengths. By meeting and understanding people whose views and values are very different from your own, you acquire new insights and perspectives that change your attitudes towards them, towards yourself and towards the entire world.
This new depth of perception and wisdom opens new horizons, opportunities and flexibility in your future life choices. You may travel to Africa to learn more about the wildlife, but through the people, you will learn more about yourself. This may well be a most valuable and lasting aspect of your safari of the tribal people of Tanzania.
There are more than 120 different ethnic groups in Tanzania that have migrated over many centuries: pastoralist Nilotic from the Sudan, nomadic, cattle-herding cushites from Ethiopia, hunter-gatherer Khoisan from the Kalahari, agriculturalist metal-working Bantu from West Africa, and Arabian, Indian and Anglo immigrants. All these groups displaced, conquered or assimilated each other over thousands of years to form the present Tanzanian population.
Each of these groups had differentiated traditional religions, social practices, rituals, customs, art, music and dance. The tribal communities of Tanzania wish to preserve and protect its individual identity and to pass on to its children the values that have preserved it throughout generations.
Many levels of experience are available on a cultural tour of Africa, in many different communities, from visiting carefully restored historical sites and settlements to staying in venues designed to represent tribal and colonial fantasies, or spending time on real-time projects where ethnic skills and crafts are recycled in the context of our shared, everyday world. Spiritual and life-affirming encounters benefit visitors on an awakening tour in Eastern Africa, and local communities in a mutually uplifting shared time.
Our Safaris can help you plan the best possible outcome of the meeting of different worlds at the level of culturally aware interaction and authenticity you desire, in collaboration with diverse local tribes for a sensitive, mutually respectful, and rewarding Tanzanian ethnic vacation experience. Visit the motherland with us to enlighten yourself with the greater world beyond your comfort zone.
Rwanda is home to three ethnic groups that, together, exemplify the history, traditions, and hospitality of the country. We highly recommend setting aside some time during your safari adventure to visit local communities and experience Rwanda’s traditional way of life. The largest group in the country is the Tutsi, followed by the Hutu and Twa.
Expect to hear delightful and engaging folk tales, riddles, and proverbs when you interact with the Tutsi. While among the Hutu, you may witness a unique ceremony that takes place when a new baby is born in a village. The mother and new born remain in their house alone for seven days. A naming ceremony is held on the last day, during which the village children join the mother and child. The Twa are pygmy people, known for their pottery, semi-nomadic way of life, and hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
We specialize in culturally sensitive tours in Rwanda visiting villages, developed in collaboration with the community members, which allow guests to observe day-to-day life in a way that does not undermine the authenticity of the experience. The villagers themselves offer input on the traditions and beliefs they wish to share with the world via these tours, as well as on areas of life they prefer to share only amongst themselves.
You will be amazed and touched by the commitment of Rwandans to maintaining their ancestral way of life while living in a modern world. These tours benefit the villages, including IbyI’wacu and Banda, as the activities provide employment often in lieu of poaching or other desperate ways of earning a living as well as funding for healthcare, education, and ultimately hope for the future.
Visitors to these villages experience the sense of community that binds the people of Rwanda and ensures the future preservation of traditions, as well as Rwanda’s wildlife and wilderness. Our like-minded guests often describe these tribal interactions as the most life-changing and significant aspect of their safari holidays. You will leave with not only a new knowledge of the people of Rwanda, but also a deep appreciation for their contribution to conservation. By sharing their talents, ideas, and time, they contribute to our understanding of how the needs of humans can be balanced with those of the flora and fauna of Rwanda.
Far away from Rwanda’s bustling urban areas are three villages in bush country that are open to visits—IbyI’wacu Village, Banda Village, and Kitabi Cultural Village. We can arrange day trips or overnight stays in any one of these villages or even all three if you desire. If you’re visiting Volcanoes National Park, a day trip to IbyI’wacu Village can easily be added to your vacation itinerary. The Rwandan village is conveniently located just outside the park in Kinigi, and offers you a chance to make new friends. Your immersion in tribal customs begins immediately upon arrival, with a joyful dance performed to the rhythm of African drums.
Other members of the community welcome you with warm smiles and gentle words before guiding you into the village for a tour, which includes a twin of the traditional king’s house. Sit on the throne for a moment and receive the king’s powers from a village elder. Meet a healer who will demonstrate traditional medicine and enlighten you about the grasses, shrubs, and trees that provide the herbal ingredients.
Assist villagers with meal preparation and perhaps enjoy a lunch or dinner of traditional dishes. You may also wish to visit a local school, a banana beer brewery, and the place where Batwa (Twa) pottery is made. If you have time for an extended visit to IbyI’wacu Village, we can arrange a unique trip into the surrounding countryside; you can even stay overnight in the village if arrangements are made in advance.
Your second opportunity to meet local people is at Banda Village, which is located in the heart of Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park, just 15 kilometres from Uwinka Visitors Centre. You can access the village via a path at the end of the beautiful Canopy Walk. Once again, you are warmly welcomed with song and dance before touring the village. Traditional basket-weaving, maize-grinding, medicine-making, and a chance to sample the local cuisine are just a few of the ways you can enjoy a personal experience with Rwandan people. Fortuitous timing of your visit may even give you a front-row seat to a traditional wedding ceremony. An overnight stay allows you to watch a fire-making ceremony and special ritual dance.