Visit Rwanda: Top 5 Festivals in Rwanda

Ahmed Ibrahim
3 min readSep 7, 2022


Rwanda is a landlocked East African country, known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”. It has suffered a rough recent history, but is now entering an economic and environmental new dawn. Rwandan culture spreads joy and brings communities to life. From religious feast days to gorilla naming ceremonies.

1-Kwita Izina: The Gorilla Naming Ceremony

Kwita Izina is a public event where baby gorillas are introduced to the local communities, formally named and celebrated. The event is extremely popular, with gala balls held in honour of the ceremony throughout the country, and in recent times, an increasing number of conservationists and celebrities have supported the celebration. It is a special time to visit Volcanoes National Park as it takes place in Kinigi.

Visitors can also join a several-day guided tour from Kigali running up to the main event, where they’ll get to meet the park staff and leading conservationists, attend cultural evenings and a celebration in Musanze and tour the little-visited lakes of Burero and Ruhondo.

2-Umuganda (Public Cleaning) Day

Umuganda is a Rwandan national day of community service. Between 08:00 and 11:00, Rwandan civilians take part in a public ban on road traffic, whilst everyone participates in communal work for the public good. There are other ways of commemorating the holiday too, as some locals choose to plant trees and participate in environmental work. This event is deeply respected by the Rwandans.

3-International Peace Marathon

The International Peace Marathon is held annually in May. This is always a cheerful event, full of colour and oozing with enthusiastic and energetic participants. The first marathon was held on May 15, 2005, an influential date that marked a decade since the Rwandan Genocide. Over 2000 runners of varying abilities from over 20 countries come to participate in the International Peace Marathon, drawing athletes from all over Africa and Europe. It’s an activity-filled day which also inspires a communal interconnectedness, and it is worth entering if you’re an avid long-distance runner looking to explore Rwanda’s gorgeous hills. Be careful, however; the altitude reaches 1500 meters, so it’s worth undertaking altitude training before you begin the race. Check

4-Assumption Day (August 15)

Assumption Day, celebrating the assent of Mary into heaven, is a vibrant and lively affair. It marks the time when Mary, the mother of Jesus, ascended into heaven after her death. Rwandan communities celebrate this with feasts, dancing, and music. Like any other public holiday, this feast will make getting around in the morning and afternoon fairly difficult in Rwanda.

5-Hobe Rwanda Festival

Since its inception in 2013, the Hobe Rwanda Festival has promoted local musicians, artists, and dancers with a two-day fest that usually takes place in September. International artists are represented here too, but if it’s a slice of real-life Rwandan creativity you want, Hobe is the place to be.

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Ahmed Ibrahim

Full-fledged Content Creator & Tech Journalist. Worked previously with top publishers like AkhbarTech, Abda Adv, and RobbReportArabia.