Kwita Izina is one of the world’s significant celebrations of nature where Rwanda’s newly born gorillas are given names.
This year’s event has finally been held at Kinigi grounds on the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park Rwanda and the event attracted a mammoth crowd composed of conservationists, families, friends, celebrities and local people.
For the past two years, this annual event has been held virtually due to the outbreak of the Corona Virus. The great spectacle at the 2022 Kwita Izina signifies the slow but surely recovery of Rwanda’s tourism.
Kwita Izina is an event that is based on a centuries-old ritual in which the Rwandans used to give names to their children in the company of their family and friends. In 2005, Rwanda introduced it to the conservation world where the baby mountain gorillas were named and instantly became a worldwide celebration of nature. Providing names to the great peaceful apes gives them the status they truly deserve.
The celebrations are held to appreciate the rangers, trackers, researchers, conservationists, and communities that reside around the Volcanoes national park who put in a shift to safeguard the gorillas. Over the last 18 years, more than 350 baby gorillas have been given names.
This year, Kwita Izina happened on the 2nd of September on the fringes of the Volcanoes National Park. It was the first physical celebration in two years, the last two happened virtually because of covid-19 that curtailed crowd gatherings around the world. The glamourous event brought so many high-profile personalities including heads of state, congressmen, conservationists, businessmen, philanthropists, and athletes hence pulling worldwide media coverage.
According to All About Rwanda, the covid-19 broke out in 2020, it put a lot of things to a standstill and the tourism industry fell victim. There are stringent restrictions such as border closures that stopped the influx of foreign travelers into Rwanda yet there are among the biggest players in the tourism sector.
After a few months of covid-19 creeping around the world, standard operating procedures were introduced to minimize its rapid spread. These preventive measures led to the loosening up of some restrictions that curtailed the tourism industry like border closures but it had to take some time for travelers to visit Rwanda.
This is because economies around the world were crippled by the plight and most people were left with no savings and also others lost their jobs. Additionally, those who were willing to travel to Rwanda still feared for their lives because the actual remedy to stop covid-19 has not been found.
In 2021, a number of vaccines were created and thankfully rolled out to the whole world for free. Consequently, tourists started coming to Rwanda but a handful of them. it definitely had to take some time for people to get over the covid-19 trauma and get back to their normal lives.
At the start of this year, 2022, glimpses of tourism recovery started showing. A moderate number of tourists was registered at various tourist sites in Rwanda. The commonwealth heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) that was held in Kigali in June 2022, showed real signs that tourism was on the road to recovery. Hotels were fully booked in the capital and also tourist entries at the national parks relatively increased.
The mark of tourism recovery was manifested at Kwita Izina, the official naming of the newly born gorilla in Rwanda. The event was graced by a huge crowd of people both local and international including the newly crowned monarch of Britain, His Majesty King Charles III who was the chief namer, president Kagame, Didier Drogba, Gilberto Silva, Sauti Sol and so on.
Before and after the Kwita Izina, tourist sites such as Kigali Genocide Memorial Center, Volcanoes national park, Nyungwe Forest national park, Lake Kivu, and Akagera national park were surged by tourists. This was a mark to show that tourism in Rwanda was on a real recovery.