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Significance of the Inyambo Cows in Rwanda

Hello! I’m Oluwalanu and welcome to my blog. Today we are talking about the inyambo in Rwanda!

The Inyambo, as they are called in Rwanda, are a special breed of cows with large horns across East Africa. The Inyambo are very important to the Rwandese culture and serve several purposes.

After my tour of the King’s palace, the milk woman, and beer man’s houses, we walked to the ranch at the back to see the inyambo. Before coming here, I had seen pictures of the cows online so I was very excited to actually see them in person. Approaching the entrance of the ranch, I was amazed by the size of their horns. I don’t think pictures even do them justice. I stood at the gate of the ranch and just looked at them for a few minutes before my guide and taxi driver were urged me to come over. "They won't harm you" they said. I didn't trust them lol. Those horns were so huge. I eventually went closer and warmed up, the longer I was there.

There was a man there serving as a cattle rearer, who traditionally cares for the cows. I believe the museum was trying to give an authentic experience for guests. The cattle rearer wore his traditional clothing, umushanana while he sang and stroked the fur of the cows with hay and sand. He told me I could touch the cows but I was still scared that they would charge at me. Eventually, I touched them, I even touched the horns. There was a point, I was standing beside one of the cows and it turned its head and almost hit me. I dodged and ran 😂 . The cows didn't even pay attention to my scared-y pants behaviour. But seriously, I am pretty sure those cows can lift a human being with those horns.

After a bit of research, I discovered the inyambo are also referred to as Rwanda royal cows and were bred specially for royal engagements during ancient times. The cows are given a special salt-like liquid called amazi ahiye to ensure they have calves of the same quality. In ancient times, the inyambo were trained to parade by their herdsmen in the traditional practices of amazina y’inka and amahamba. The cows were also decorated in royal expensive jewelry as you can see in the pictures below. These cows would traditionally live in the King's palace and be milked.

After visiting the adult inyambo, we went to see the babies. There was one there that was born just two days before I arrived and I remembering thinking it was still so big. The fur of the younger ones was even finer and shinier than the older cows.

At the end of the day's activities, I sent some of these pictures to my siblings and my sister replied, “lmao why is this animal accessorising?”. I replied to her saying, “we are Africans, even our cows have jewelry” 😂.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post. Hope to have you back here again tomorrow!




Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I am a writer and illustrator from Lagos, Nigeria.


In 2015, I started a company called IheartLagos with the aim of showcasing Lagos culture in a unique and fun way.


That journey took me down an exciting path, discovering and learning so much about Nigeria.

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come to you.

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