Experience the Traditional Ballet of Rwanda

Rwanda is magical and a destination filled with beauty beyond anyone’s imagination and comprehension. This small country is found in the heart of Africa and is undoubtedly a land of wonders with its wildlife, bird species and now rich cultural diversity. The rich cultural diversity in this country will leave you breathless and loving the country more. The traditional ballet is one of the most beautiful encounters in Rwanda, and actually one of the longest established yet least explored musical traditions in Africa. The use of the term “Ballet” originated from the Belgium Colonial Rule. As a matter of fact, the extraordinary Art from was not wanted over years in the Royal Courts of the Kings of Rwanda (locally known as Mwami).

There are three key elements (components) of the Traditional Ballet of Rwanda and the normal performance by the dance groups has to contain all the three elements. The components include music or songs that are the basic part of the Art form, and are usually referred as the Ballet, the Ingoma (drums) and the Intore (the dance of heroes). The Intore (dance of heroes) is performed by men who wear grass wigs around their heads and carry spears. The background of this Intore is a dance performed by returning triumphant warriors, who celebrate the victory in the battle. The energetic dancers move from side to side joining grace and a system of choreography with a raw aggression. At particular stages, the dancers of the group have to stop with arms stretched and make blood-curdling battle shouts (calls).

These shouts are distinctive and exceptional to each dancer and represents warriors uttering the details of how they had killed in the battle. Traditionally, battles were fought by the Hutu, twa and the Tutsi (as one) fighting alongside each other against a common enemy. Therefore, the invigorating Intore dance has often consisted of warriors of all groups dancing together.  When you visit Rwanda and don’t explore the interesting Intore dances, then you are about to miss what everyone describes as breathtaking.

The Intore dance later took shape within the Royal Courts of the Kings (Mwami) of Rwanda and is generally a storytelling dance in which stories of war, love and challenging times are put together and shared in form of dances. This dance is more like a dramatic work than a Traditional Ballet as the Belgium used to call it because it involves a lot of skills and detail. Interestingly, it cannot be termed as only a battle dance mainly because it is performed in extraordinary and different occasions, although the dance was mainly performed after being victorious from a battle.

Intore is a Kinyarwanda word that means “the chosen ones” hence it was a dance for the chosen ones (only victorious warriors). The Intore dancers have gained popularity across the World and have become an important part of the Rwandan Culture and tradition.  These dancers participated in the World Expo in 1958 that was held in Brussels hence became very popular and sought-after by tourists on a Safari in Rwanda. Intore dancing also known as “Warrior dancing” is therefore one of the ancient and traditional form of dancing in Africa.

Interestingly, the Intore people were once known as part of the Traditional Rwanda army although they were not given military training but taught the skills of dancing and high jumping. It is for this reason that they were known for their exceptional ways of jumping up to 240 meters above the ground. Isn’t it remarkable?  Make sure you ask for this dance when you visit Rwanda for a safari.

Besides the wildlife activities such as gorilla trekking and Chimpanzee tracking that can be enjoyed in Rwanda, tourists who visit this country should not miss the invigorating Intore dance where men and women dance like they don’t carry any weight.

Enjoy Wildlife Safari in East Africa

One of our best African tours the crossing safari kicks off in Kenya’s Maasai Mara before heading south into Tanzania for the Serengeti, Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater and flying into Uganda for mountain gorilla trekking tours in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Focused on wildlife, this is a great opportunity to witness the wildebeest migration so ask us about getting your timing right. Wildlife of East Africa takes us on an exquisite one volume tour through the living splendor of the main national parks and game reserve s of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Kenya and Tanzania are famous for the migration often described as a set circuit that occurs between Tanzania’s Serengeti plains in the south and Kenya’s Maasai Mara in the north between July to September each year but the reality of the migration is much more complex. These animals move in Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems in search of green pastures and water. While Uganda is famous to home of mountain gorillas that live in Bwindi forest and Mgahinga National Parks and many birds that live in the forest and most visitors seek out one of above.

The safari starts from Maasai Mara National Reserve also known as Masai Mara and by the locals as The Mara is a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya; contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in Mara Region, Tanzania. The Maasai Mara is about 280 Km west from Nairobi City. There are two ways to get to the Maasai Mara. You can choose to drive or to fly to the Mara. Driving will take you about 5-6 hours while flying takes about 40-45 minutes.

Kenya is famous for its wildlife that is why visitors on a safari flock into the country to see Africa’s Big Five. But lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffaloes are just a handful of the treasured species in this nation. Baboons and zebras, giraffes, flamingoes, and more are enjoyed by tourists, thanks to strong national parks system and a network of wildlife reserves. There are also over 1,000 kinds of birds in Kenya. That is why safari tours are very important to Kenya’s tourism industry.

After experiencing the Masai Mara National Reserve the visitors fly from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro Airport meet and greet with the company representative before being transferred to your hotel for overnight.

Visit Lake Manyara National Park is located 126 km south west of Arusha and can be reached by car in an hour and a half. The park can also be reached easily from Babati the capital of Manyara Region.

Take a game drive in search for animals like Leopards, Masai lions, cheetahs, elephants, blue monkeys, dik-dik, gazelles, hippopotami, Masai giraffe, impala, zebras and many more wild animals inhabit this park and many can be seen throughout the year. There is a hippo pond at one end of the park where visitors can get out of their cars and observe from a safe distance. The leopards and lions are both known to lounge in the trees while not hunting for prey.

After experiencing Lake Manyara National Park, the following day you can explore Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park Serengeti, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder. The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. It is famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white bearded wildebeest and 250,000 zebra and for its numerous Nile crocodile.

Take a game drive in the best known predator of the Serengeti plains, African lions hunt animals such as zebras, antelope and wildebeest. Wildebeest typically inhabit the Serengeti plains of southeastern Africa. For most of their lives, wildebeest graze in the grassy savannas and open woodlands of the plains, which straddle the nations of Tanzania and Kenya. More than 1.5 million wildebeest migrate in an enormous loop every year.

Rise up early in the morning and take a second game drive in Serengeti National Park, after lunch depart for Ngorongoro Crater Rim with a stopover for a game en-route. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 180 km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania.

After breakfast you descend to the carter floor for full day game drive in search for wildlife like elephants, giraffes, hippos, buffaloes, zebras, wildebeest, white rhino and black rhino among others. After the game drive you return to your hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

The next day you depart Arusha for Entebbe international Airport, upon arrival meet and greet by the company representative before you transfer to Kampala at Serena Hotel.

Leave Kampala for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park a bio- diverse, mountainous area in southwest Uganda. Bwindi is home to the world’s remaining mountain gorillas,   who feed on roots, leaves and a fruit from the park’s many tree and fern species. Restricted numbers of viewing permits help protect the endangered gorilla families. In the park, rough paths weave amid dense forests, which are home to many butterflies and birds.

Currently Rwanda gorilla permit costs USD1500.00 for all tourists. Uganda gorilla permits to visit mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga cost USD 600.00 (Non residents) USD 500.00 for Foreign Residents and in Virunga National Park in Congo costs USD 400.00 per person.

Begin the day with heavy breakfast and after head to UWA headquarters for gorilla trekking. Ensure to carry along with hiking boots, skin repellent, sun glasses, rain gears, a hut, a camera, snacks and drinking water. The guides will lead you inside the jungle to search for the shy primates for the group you have been booked for. Don’t forget to take your lunch boxes and all the necessary gears to track the gorillas. The trekking may take 2 to 8 hours depending on the movements of these gentle apes but it is well worth the effort. One you spot them, you are allowed only hour to watch and observe them as you take pictures and videos of them interacting with each other. This is one of the lifetime experiences in Bwindi forest National Park.

The afternoon is spent on a village community walk which gives a great opportunity to see how the people surrounding Bwindi forest spend their way of life. It is also a great way to support the local community; the walk begins with a local guide from Buhoma Community Rest Camp.