Monday, July 15, 2024
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King Charles III Names Baby Gorilla for Kwita Izina Ceremony in Rwanda

Before King Charles III was formally proclaimed king, he was one of more than 20 people selected to name baby mountain gorillas early this month at the annual Kwita Izina Ceremony at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.

Every year, Rwandans and distinguished guests from around the world converge on Volcanoes National Park for the annual Kwita Izina Ceremony. It’s not only a special event to name baby mountain gorillas to families found in the park, but it’s also an opportunity to thank the communities that live around the park, research partners, vets, conservationists, rangers, and trackers who protect the gorillas. It’s also a time to celebrate the country’s commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism.

If you’re an LGBTQ+ traveler who enjoys nature and wildlife conservation, you should definitely try to attend the special event or bare minimum go on a gorilla trekking tour with an experienced ranger and tracker.

18th Edition Kwita Izina Ceremony in Rwanda (Photo Credit: Visit Rwanda)
18th Edition Kwita Izina Ceremony in Rwanda

Unfortunately, you missed the 18th Edition Kwita Izina on September 2, which brought out more than 50,000 people for the event which also included a variety of music and dance performances. But at the core of the event are the guests – everyone from national sports stars to Hollywood celebs to world-renowned conservationists – individually revealing the names of 19 cuddly mountain gorillas.

The group of “Conservation Champions” or 2022 “namers”, included King Charles III (at the time of the event was the Prince of Wales) who named a baby boy gorilla from the Muhoza Family Ubwuzuzanye (Harmony) in a pre-recorded video message. And Orange is the New Black actress Uzo Aduba got in on the action and named Imararungu (Cheerful), a baby girl gorilla from the Noheli family. See more of the baby gorilla names below:

Ubwuzuzanye (Harmony) 
Family: Muhoza
Mother: Agasaro’s Son
Named by King Charles III

Imararungu (Cheerful) 
Mother: Umucyo’s Daughter
Family: Noheli Family 
Named by Uzo Aduba, Actress

Indatezuka (Resilient)
Family: Mutobo
Mother: Igitangaza’s Daughter
Named by Kaddu Sebunya, CEO, African Wildlife Foundation

Kwanda (Expand)
Family: Musilikali 
Mother: Izihirwe’s Son
Named by Moses Turahirwa, Creative Director, Moshions (a Rwandan fashion brand)

Impanda (Trumpet)
Family: Sabyinyo
Mother: Umutungo’s Son
Named by Gilberto Silva, Arsenal Football Club Legend

Imbaduko (Vivacity)
Family: Kureba 
Mother: Akamaro’s daughter 
Named by Naomi Schiff, Pro Racing Driver and Presenter

In addition to naming baby gorillas, the Kenyan musical band, Sauti Sol, had the honor of naming the newly formed mountain gorilla family – Kwisanga (Feel at Home) – living in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. 

Volcanoes National Park is a must-do item to add to your list if you’re visiting Rwanda. And you should definitely visit The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, which is located adjacent to the National Park. Ellen and her wife Portia de Rossi gave the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund a large donation for the new campus built with locally sourced materials and supplies.

It officially opened its doors in February 2022 providing visitors with an array of educational and research facilities, including a science library, computer lab, and 360-degree immersive theater. You can’t leave without checking out the small cabin that houses artifacts from Dian Fossey’s almost two decades of living with the gorillas. 

It’s definitely a must-do experience for LGBTQ+ travelers who enjoy learning about the conservation of mountain gorillas.

Click here to learn more about The Ellen DeGeneres Campus, and check out the Visit Rwanda website to get more details about the other 12 baby mountain gorillas named during the 2022 Kwita Izina Ceremony

Editor’s Note: In Rwanda, homosexuality and homosexual acts are not illegal; however, the subject is taboo and there is no legislative protection for LGBTQ+ citizens. Same-sex marriage is also not recognized. As with any travel planning, you should research any desired destination (LGBTQ+-friendly or not) prior to your visit – using your best judgment based on your comfort level and research is paramount.

Kwin Mosby

Kwin Mosby has 20+ years of editorial experience which has included working as the editor-in-chief for Vacationer Magazine, managing digital producer for Travel Channel, and content manager for Travel Leaders Group. He is also a freelance writer and his work has appeared in reputable print and digital publications, including Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, AFAR, Tripadvisor, and others.

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