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What travelers need to know about local food

What travelers need to know about local food.

Travellers booking with Heritage Safaris will be pleased to know that Rwanda is versatile in it’s food offerings. Here is What travelers need to know about local food in Rwanda.

The history of Rwanda (including the migration history), renders Rwanda a mix bag when it comes to food culture. In the 15th century, Rwanda’s local heritage can be seen through local food consumed by the ancient kings and it predates the monarchy culture like all African kingdoms that existed before colonialism.

Urwagwa: The “Urwagwa” is a traditional alcoholic drink or beer made out of bananas.  It is made by ripening a type of bananas called “imbihire”. Rwandans make this drink through a week-long process that begins with ripening  the bananas mostly underground. After 3-5 days of ripening, the bananas are peeled,  mashed and kneaded with some special grass in a wooden bole made out of a tree trunk that takes the form of U-cylindrical shape to extraction the sweet juices. Roasted sorghum is added prior to fermenting process that might take another 1-2 days.  This sweetened urwagwa is sieved and thereafter served. For decades, this traditional Urwagwa drink has been served in beautifully decorated gourds also known as calabash.

Ikivuguto: Another ancient Rwandan drink common among pastoralists, is Ikivuguto or fermented milk.  This non-alcoholic drink is almost similar to plain yogurt with a tangy taste. The typical ancient kivuguto was made out of uncooked milk kept for days to ferment. Traditionally, Rwandans  served this drink in a special set of gourds – some originating from plants also known as Inkongoro for young ones and others made out of tree trunks with various shape as wooden just also known as Ibyansi. The Ikivuguto drink can be accessed at some restaurants and milk bars across Rwanda, except that only a few might serve in the traditional ways.  Please do not miss the milk bars to taste Ikivuguto on your trip to Rwanda.

Ikigage: Ikigage is another common beer served in Rwanda and its neighbours, Uganda, Tanzania and DRC. Traditionally, Rwandans shared this drink in festival and traditional wedding ceremonies, often served in a large clay pot placed in a centrally located point in a compound or house to enable the encircling drinkers draw their long cane drinking straws into it. Others drink Ikigage in gourds using shorter cane straws. Ikigage is mainly brewed from the sorghum grains following a simple fermentation process that essentially involves malting, drying, milling, souring, boiling, mashing and alcoholic fermentation. Other African countries have a similar traditional sorghum beer with varying tastes due to varying contents and fermentation processes applied.

Rwandan Cuisine: The beauty of Rwandan cuisine is that it draws from other neighbouring countries. Mainly comprised of carbohydrates, the Rwandan cuisine is simple yet unique with a combination of tubers such as sweet potatoes, cassava, irish potatoes, and legumes such as beans, corn, peas and millet. One of the common meals served in ancient Rwanda and still remains a traditional is Ugali a pan-mingled bread or paste made out of maize , sorghum or cassava flour mixed with boiling water. Maize ugali is also popular in other Sub-Saharan Africa countries with varying tastes, names and texture. Other ancient foods include boiled pumpkin, sorghum on sheaths, and matoke or plantain made through steaming processes at times these are mixed with beans. Modern Rwanda cuisines have adopted fresh vegetables that can be found in any local market, grocery shop and community food stalls. Please do not miss cooking classes on your next trip to Rwanda.

To book a traditional cooking experience, please contact us on or visit our website to select a conducive package.

Can I access different cuisines in Rwanda?


Rwandan-Made Salad (Heritage Safaris)

It’s uncommon for Rwandans to eat meat on a regular basis. Most households especially in rural Rwanda eat meat only a few times a month. As a guest, one is likely to be served meat dishes in Rwandan households that can afford. One of the best places to have meat is in Kigali Bars and secondary city bars. Manned by predominantly youth, these bars make the best beef and goat skewers also known as brochettes. Travellers visiting cities and sites near lakes can expect fish dishes or Isambaza (small sardine fish) embedded into into their diets, particularly tilapia. Travellers can also expect to eat various cuisines like Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Ethiopian and other African cuisines.

To book a special CHOGM 2022 tailor-made tour around the Rwanda National Parks, forests, wetlands, cultural sites and beach holidays, please contact us or visit our website to navigate available packages for further discussion.

Contact us to know more about What travelers need to know about local food.

Heritage Safaris Ltd,


Telephone: +250 788306101

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