Join Kwita Izina 2022 As More Baby Gorillas are Named

Kwita Izina 2022 is set for 2nd September in Volcanoes national park as more baby gorillas will be named. Kwita Izina is a naming ceremony of baby mountain gorillas that started in 2005. It was started to foster mountain gorilla conservation, give back to the community and recognise individuals who are directly involved in the day to day conservation efforts like the rangers, Veterinary doctors and many wildlife conservation enthusiasts.

The Kwita Izina 2022 will be the 18th edition and so far 354 mountain gorillas have been named so far. The mountain gorilla population had greatly declined because of civil war and poaching but thanks to the conservation efforts the numbers have steadily increased.

A number of delegates are expected to grace the Kwita Izina 2022 as Rwanda celebrate yet another great milestone in mountain gorilla conservation. This will be a great opportunity to get to know more about destination Rwanda. The country has diverse wildlife species including endemics to the region.

Baby Mountain Gorilla. Kwita Izina 2022
Baby Mountain Gorilla. Courtesy Photo

About Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are apes with over 95% DNA similar to humans. They are covered with black fur with a silver lining on the back especially for fully grown mountain gorillas. They live in families ranging from 1 to 20 and sometimes more. Each mountain gorilla family is headed by a dominant male gorilla called Silverback.

These gentle giants are vegetarian with their diet mainly comprising of plant vegetation. They prefer to live in the forested mountains and it is where their name mountain gorillas was derived from.

Mountain gorillas are rare and endemic to the Virunga massif that include Volcanoes national park Rwanda and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park. Being among man’s closest relatives they offer a more personal and relatable experience with a feel of meeting one’s long seen relative.

During this Kwita Izina 2022 ceremony you can be part of the gorilla trekking adventures in volcanoes national park. The park has about 12 habituated mountain gorilla families that are open to tourist visitation each offering a unique experience.

A trek to the Virunga mountains in Volcanoes national park for mountain gorillas also offers you an opportunity to see other wildlife species in the park. You can see a number of species, different plant vegetation and if lucky you can spot other mammals like forest elephants.

The Gorilla Trekking Experience

This starts early morning with a briefing at the park headquarters at 7:00 am. Here guests going to the forest mountains are briefed about the gorilla trekking rules and regulations. These include ensuring to stay with colleagues in the group, minimising noise on the course of the trek and in the presence of the mountain gorillas, avoiding flash photography as it could irritate the mountain gorillas.

Once you get to the mountain gorillas you are recommended to stay at least 7 meters away from them. They can charge if they feel threatened and given that they way more powerful than an average human being it is always better not to challenge them.

The hike takes a 1 to 6 hours depending on the movement of the mountain gorillas. It is always recommended to take packed lunch because you can not determine where you will encounter the gorillas. Once you get to them, you will be allowed to be in the presence of the gorillas for an hour. Here you get to know more about the mountain gorillas, take photos while keeping the 7 meters.

Other Park Activities for Kwita Izina 2022

Apart from mountain gorillas, Volcanoes national park is home to golden monkeys. During this Kwita Izina 2022 you can also do a golden monkey trek in the park where you will meet golden monkeys other rare primates in the park. Golden monkeys are endemic to the Virunga massif and Volcanoes national park is among the few places where you can see them.

Just like their name, golden monkeys are covered with golden fur. They also live in families of up to 20 individuals. Tracking golden monkeys is a great complementary primate trek to the gorillas and it works well for those with at least 3 days in the park.

Mountain Hiking is another adventure you can engage in while in Volcanoes national park for the Kwita Izina 2022. Mount Karisimbi the highest of the Virunga massif mountains can be hiked in 2 days spending a night in the mountain. Hiking this mountain offers you a chance to see the wildlife starting from the different vegetation types at the different mountain ranges.

Mount Bisoke is also very magnificent to hike and has a crater on its summit. While on the hike you get to have great views of the Virunga massif. You will also see other wildlife especially birds.

The Dian Fossey hike to Karisoke is also recommended. Here you will hike up to where Dian Fossey was buried near her favourite gorilla digit as you get to know more about her conservation works.

Where to Stay

There are a number of accommodation facilities in Volcanoes national park ranging from budget to high end luxury facilities. Since September is also a peak tourist season, a number of lodges are already fully booked and it is better to cross check and book in advance.

For easy accessibility to the park it is better to book the lodges and hotels in close proximity in the park. Incase you have very limited time in Rwanda you can do a day tour from Kigali with a pick up from your Kigali Hotel at 4:30 am. It takes a 3 hours drive from Kigali to the park to be able to reach in time for briefing before going for gorilla trekking.

Incase you are staying in Gisenyi you would need to be picked up at 5:00 am for a transfer to Volcanoes national park.

Gorilla trekking and the different park activities can be done throughout the year. Incase you miss this years Kwita Izina you can still visit Rwanda for these adventures when it is more convenient for you.

You can also visit other leading safari destinations in Rwanda like Nyungwe forest and Akagera national parks. Nyungwe forest is located in the southwestern part of Rwanda and it is home to chimpanzees and many other primates. Here you can do chimpanzee trekking, colobus monkey trekking, guided nature walks and so much more.

Akagera national park on the other hand is home to the big five mammals. It is Rwanda’s only savanna park where one can enjoy games drives, Rhino tracking, boat cruises, birding among others.

Kwita Izina 2021 – 24 Baby Gorillas to be named

Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. Gorilla Tracking, Kwita Izina 2021
Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Photo by Moses Nezehose

Kwita Izina 2021 will be held on 24th September marking the annual baby gorilla naming ceremony. The mountain gorilla naming ceremony was started by the Rwandan government to improve on mountain gorilla conservation. The Kwita Izina 2021 this time around sides with the World Gorilla Day Celebration and will be a very remarkable event.

24 baby mountain gorillas are expected to be named this year by various honored guests. Gorilla tourism in Rwanda is now fully open, but Kwita Izina 2021 will still be held virtually just like last year. All this is aimed at protecting the rare primates and a way of making it easy for those who cant visit Rwanda because of the travel restrictions. 

The honored guests who will name the gorillas are yet to be revealed but we can’t wait to know them. 9 of the baby gorillas to be named were born in families protected by the Dian Fossey fund. There has been a lot of efforts towards mountain gorilla conservation and the increase in births is a sign of improvement.

Over the years, the mountain gorilla population in Volcanoes National Park has kept on increasing steadily. With more efforts on conservation and habitat protection, there is hope that population will increase even more.

The Kwita Izina 2021 is a great timing for tourism as the sector is slowly recovering from the COVID19 slump.

About Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are apes that live in the forested mountains of East and Central Africa. They live in families led by a dominant male mountain gorilla commonly known as Silverback.

Gorillas are vegetarian and their diet is usually comprised of plant leaves and bamboo shoots. They have over 95% DNA similar to humans are therefore among man’s closest primate species.

Gorilla Trekking

If you desire to meet these rare primates in their most preferred habitats then gorilla trekking would be the ideal activity to do. There are 12 mountain gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park open to tourist visitation. The gorilla trek starts with a briefing at the Park headquarters and then tourists are led to the forested mountains.

Gorilla Trekking takes a 2 to 6 hours hike or more and once you get to the gorillas you are allowed to spend 1 hour up-close keeping a 7 meters distance. Here you get to know more the mountain gorillas, take photos and enjoy the moments.

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda has the highest gorilla population in the Virunga Massif. This makes it one of the best mountain gorilla trekking destinations in the region. Visit Rwanda this September and be apart of the Kwita Izina 2021 and apart of the unforgettable gorilla trekking experiences.