Are you in Rwanda for any kind of safari? Spare some time on your visit to Kigali City and head straight to Muhanga Town (only 45 minutes drive away) to experience some of the cultural activities of typical Rwandan rural areas. It is undeniable that culture in a destination is as important as the natural attractions because they unveil the history of the people but also their way of living thus tourists interested in learning about the people have to engage in cultural safaris in Rwanda.
One of the most fascinating cultural experiences a tourist will enjoy is by enjoying the Aziz Life Experience of Rwanda, in Muhanga Town. Aziz is a Kiswahili word that means “good life” and is a Charity Organization with a Vision of participating in local initiatives for the development of different Rwandan Communities tirelessly working towards spiritual and physical wellness for all. While here, you will get your hand at cutting grass for the cattle, ploughing the gardens, weaving, cooking and tasting mouth-watering home-cooked meal and fetching water from the village wells among others. The hospitality and friendliness here is unsurpassed and the memories are one you will always treasure.
This group helps in coordinating the sale of art and crafts of the local women in addition to having social enterprise programs. Therefore, tourists that visit Rwanda are offered with the exceptional opportunity of interacting with the Rwandans in rural villages but also gain an insight to their traditional lifestyles. Additionally, the program offers a number of cultural experiences in form of half or full day activities such as banana juice making, traditional cooking demonstrations, African dance and drumming demonstrations, organized bike tours and spending a day in the life of a local artisan.
Detailed activities to be enjoyed while at the Aziz Life experience include;
A day in the Life of a local Artisan
When y0u arrive at the Head office of Azizi Life within Muhanga Town, you will be welcomed and greeted by the local guide who will give an overview of this Cooperative. Women of this Group work together to sell their handcrafts and have through this formed a strong network of support to encourage each other in all aspects of life-social, economic and family. They will always be excited to host tourists and are always willing to offer everything you need to learn about Rwandan culture.
Preparing some of the traditional dishes and partake of it
You will also participate in the preparation of the meals (especially lunch) where you will have to cover your knees with wraps and heads with scarfs like most Rwandan women do before cooking. Some of the foods enjoyed include sweet potatoes, cassava, plantain, pumpkins, fresh beans, vegetables and some fresh fruits like mangoes, avocado and yellow bananas harvested from their gardens. After the hefty lunch, tourists are led to the gardens to prepare the soil and plant some beans and maize (if you visit during the rainy season) and also harvest sweet potatoes or cassava as well as cut the grass for the cattle using hand tools.
Basket weaving Demonstrations
After spending some quality time in the fields, you will take part in basket weaving with mainly dry banana leaves to make bags, baskets, bracelets and mats. Because bananas are generally the staple food for Rwandans, the leaves can be got from anywhere in the country thus easy to get raw materials for basket weaving.
Traditional songs and dances
The Azizi Life experience is usually climaxed with invigorating singing and dancing by the local women and youth. By the time you reach this stage, you will not want to say goodbye to the women because the entire experience is moving and worthwhile.