Best Cultural Tours Around Akagera National Park
Cultural Encounters In And Around Akagera National Park
Are you a cultural enthusiast? Are you planning to spend your next safari in Akagera National Park Rwanda but you don’t know which cultural experiences to engage in? Akagera National Park isn’t just famous for wildlife tours but also its most thrilling cultural experiences. Like any destination, a trip to Akagera National Park without a cultural encounter is never complete! Due to collective efforts between the park authorities and the local communities, freelance community guides equally plan for some amazing tours and cultural experiences for those of love cultural adventures.
Cultural tours at this park are categorized into four (4) options; the heritage that is the culture of cattle, the local production which beers and the bees, arts and crafts and the celebration that is food and festivities. Every tour offers a glance into the life in communities at the park. For those of you prefer something a bit adventurous, you can tryout putting a hand in milking a cow or make the Imigongo paintings, sampling of honey on the comb, assisting in preparation of local meals, participating in traditional Rwanda dances and music performances. Every cultural safari last for about 3 hours and may cost you about $20 and this is a price for each visitor and a minimum of 3 visitors is required.
- The Humure refugee village safari
This takes you about 40 minutes to drive from Akagera National Park and involves you paying a visit to the local cooperatives and you will be in position to participate in preparation of traditional meals and dancing. Besides, there are tours and one of the most popular one is that one which sets off from the southern side of this protected area and takes you via all Lakes to north and then to Mutumba hills. The popular accommodation options at this park for your overnight stay include the Akagera Game Lodge which is next to Lake Ihema and Ruzizi Tented Camp.
- The Imigongo Art and Craft Center
The Imigongo Art and Craft Centre was designed by Prince Kakira who established the art of house decoration using cow dung and normally produced by the women. Dry dung is applied plus colors from the organic material such as plants to make white and red paints. The paintings from the Kakira cooperatives have become popular of recent.
The heritage also directs you to the cattle farm to tryout putting a hand at milking a cow and where you will then explore more on the rituals around milk. Besides, you will pay a visit to the farmer’s home and then explore the way milk is traditionally kept, treated and preserved till it changes into ghee. You will also explore several special vessels which at times are used for keeping and drinking milk and herbs which are smoked to flavor the milk.
For those of you who are interested in the local production then you will explore more about honey production in a honey cooperative where you will learn more about the traditional and modern ways of bee keeping. This also allows you to pay a visit to a family producing Urwagwa or the banana beer and then sample the wares at the bar across the road. The arts and crafts activities will also take through different ways in which local artisans make their products, the Imigongo is remarkably the leading Rwandan art and innate to the Eastern province that is a family of black smiths displaying their creative talents and the traditional dancers which express the Rwanda culture using music and movements.
Additionally, there is a challenging walk which ranges from 7 kilometers on the part of the boundary fence line. The entire fence line is walked through daily by a team of fence attendants, walk in shoes for the small part of the 120 kilometers boundary fence which plays a significant role in the conservation of Akagera that allowed the re-introduction of lions, decreasing human wildlife conflicts at the park and especially community support for the park. These tremendous activities also offer you a chance to engage in interactions with local residents where you will explore more about their daily practices, stories and many other amazing things. The income from these activities is also shared with those members who engage and offers extra revenue, directly via tourism to the families living around park boundary.
From the discussion above, Akagera National Park is best visited for both wildlife and cultural safaris. For those of you who are planning to have your next vacation at this park, never miss to include cultural tours in your travel plan.