Kwita Izina – Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda 2022

Kwita Izina – Gorilla Naming Ceremony in Rwanda 2022


Get ready to experience one of the world’s most important celebrations of nature and meet Rwanda’s newborn baby gorillas


Kwita Izina is modelled off a centuries old tradition in which Rwandans name their children in the presence of family and friends. In 2005, Rwanda began officially naming mountain gorillas in what has become a global celebration of nature. By giving a name to these majestic animals, we give them a value they undoubtedly deserve. 


The ceremony is an opportunity to thank the communities that live around Volcanoes National Park, our research partners, vets and the dedicated conservationists, rangers and trackers who protect the gorillas. Over the last 16 years, 328 mountain gorillas have been named.

World Gorilla Day

The 17th Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony will be held on World Gorilla Day. The annual World Gorilla Day is celebrated on 24 September, the day that Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Center in 1967. 


World Gorilla Day encourages people around the globe to join the conservation efforts to protect gorillas in the wild. Holding Kwita Izina on World Gorilla Day provides the opportunity to harness the global attention on gorillas on this special date and work with conservation and tourism partners around the world to highlight what Rwanda is doing to protect these majestic animals.

Kwita Izina - A centuries old Rwandan tradition for giving a name to a new born gorilla bay.


Rwanda celebrates new gorilla births of the rare mountain gorillas through naming baby gorillas.


Join us in celebrating a milestone year for the 15th annual Kwita Izina - gorilla naming ceremony!


With so many milestones to celebrate, join us in Kinigi, Musanze this September 6th, 2019 as we name 25 new baby gorillas


Naming a newly born baby has been part of Rwandan culture and tradition for centuries. Given the remarkable efforts by the Government of Rwanda, through the Rwanda Development Board, and in collaboration with various conservation partners and local communities, to actively protect the Mountain Gorillas and their habitat, the old naming century’s tradition was modeled on this species to get the national brand known as “Kwita Izina”.


Names attributed to the gorillas play a significant role in the on-going programme of monitoring each individual gorilla in their families and habitat. Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, was introduced in 2005 with the aim of creating awareness of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorilla.


For three decades prior to the first official gorilla naming ceremony, the naming of baby gorillas was carried out by rangers and researchers that closely monitor these unique animals on a daily basis.


Kwita Izina has been attended by thousands of international, regional and local participants over the recent years. The Government of Rwanda and conservation partners have donated substantial resources to gorilla conservation and continue to do so. Each year new born gorilla babies are celebrated in an exciting event at the foothills of the Virunga Mountains.


Kwita Izina is fast becoming known as Africa’s leading dialogue on conservation and tourism. Alongside the naming ceremony, a week long celebration of activities is taking place; a Conservation exhibition and highly acclaimed Conversation dialogue forum are hosted in Kigali, a fund- raising dinner in Rubavu and hosted familiarization trips for international Tour Operators and Media comprise an important part of the event activities.

Thousands of residents from Musanze District & visitors from all over the world including tour operators & media graced KwitaIzina 2017

This year on 1st September 2017, Rwanda hosted the 13th Kwita Izina, (gorilla naming ceremony) inspired by the ancient Rwandan tradition of naming babies soon after they are born.


In the 12 years since the event was established, 216 mountain gorilla babies have been named in a celebration of nature together with the communities who protect the majestic mountain gorillas.


The event is expected to bring together thousands of Rwandans, friends of Rwanda and celebrities to Kinigi at the foothills of the Volcanoes National Park.  Inquire about this Ceremony

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Launched in 2005, Kwita Izina, a uniquely Rwandan event, is not only a celebration of newly born mountain gorilla babies, but also serves to raise awareness of the importance of the protection of species and their habitats at community, national, regional and international levels. Last year’s Kwita Izina saw almost 500 international and 20,000 local attendees.

Mountain Gorilla Baby Twins!

Twin gorillas are not only extremely rare but they are also absolutely adorable. We are excited to see twins being born in Rwanda for the 3rd time; the first pair was born in 2005 and the second in 2012, this is truly a blessing on our conservation efforts.

Gorilla Twins born in Volcanoes National Park
Gorilla Twins born in Volcanoes National Park

Gorilla Naming Ceremony

The gorilla naming ceremony featuring culturalperformances and renditions from local entertainers is the climax of the Kwita Izina week. The event convenes over 20,000 guests in Kinigi at the foothills of the Volcano Mountains in the Northern Province of Rwanda. Every year important playersfrom both the conservation and tourism industries attend the event.


Naming a mountain gorilla baby is considered a great honour. Baby Namers are carefully chosen to include individuals both globally and locally that have made a great contribution to conservation efforts both in Rwanda and the world.