In the past local communities around the borders of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Musanze –Ruhengeri town, could not see much benefit from gorilla tourism and poaching and encroachment of the protected forests was common. Today the concept of eco-tourism is much more developed in this area and the perception of the people about gorilla tourism is totally different and positive.
One of the examples of eco-tourist projects is “Iby'Iwacu Cultural Village”. Here local trained guides take visitors through local villages to experience the real life of the people; you can meet the traditional healer and see how he uses his knowledge of herbal medicine; see the preparation of food and grinding millet and sorghum on the grinding stones; you can see the traditional Intore dances, performed by young boys and girls using the traditional clothes and drums; you can see and taste the local production of “banana beer”; you will find a selection of local made traditional handicraft.
All the income from the fees collected from visitors go to the community and they will decide where to invest, from health, to food security, school fees and education, start up of new enterprises.
What can you do: It is possible to book a special experience with the local community and participating in harvesting crops, cooking meals and collecting firewood. This is the best way to interact with the inhabitants of the area.