Magical Islands In Rwanda

If there are a few magical tourist sites that for long have not been fully explored then most of the islands in Rwanda are among them. Nearly everyone who comes to this country for a safari feels the best to do is only to track the rare mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in the northwestern part and yet in reality, there is a lot more for one to discover. Rwanda boasts of about 16 stunning islands, all of which straddle within Karongi district which the 5 are found in Kibuye. An Island per say denotes a mass of land bordered by water and you can find them even distributed around Lake Kivu. Most of these are ideal for a number of activities for instance swimming, fishing, lush plantations as well as tourism. They include among others;

  • Idjwi Island

This is the 10th most extensive inland island in the world, expanding for about 25 miles down Lake Kivu center, covering an area of about 110 square miles. About two miles wide in areas, the island features an expansive shoreline relative to its area. It is rugged features rugged mountains and limited infrastructure thus transport to and fro this island is by boat. Transport on the island is a big challenge. This island lies on Lake Kivu just at a border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with an area coverage of about 340 square kilometers making it also the second largest inland in African continent. About 220000 people depend on this island for many reasons including fishing, farming, hunting, pottery and many more.

  • Munini Island

This island is also known as the Napoleon’s Island. It was named so due to its sharp that looks like Napoleon’s hat. It is a refuge to so many fruit bats and supports a huge population of avifaunal species.

  • Iwawa Island 

This Island lies within the heart of Lake Kivu and has Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Centre. This center was established by the Rwanda Ministry of Youth to solve the ever increasing challenge of youth related drug problems. It main goal is to rehabilitate and cultivate sober minds as well as skills development like building, carpentry and tailoring.

  • Amahoro Island

Amahoro Island is privately owned and bordered by several other islands. It is one of the developed areas and a major tourist site of its own and features many camping facilities, bar, restaurant and ideal for swimming. Besides, it is also good for bird watching and many water sport activities. It comprises of many peninsulas especially Mpembe that is ideal for a four kilometer nature walk. This peninsula can easily be reached by boat from Kibuye and it is also privately owned although it is tourist site with several camping facilities and a birds’ sanctuary. The other is Nyakarwa peninsula which is ideal for bird watching and recreational walk via the Lake. Exploring the magical islands on Lake Kivu can be best done while you are on a boat cruise and you can do so by contacting an agent to help you arrange your safari.

  • Mpembe Island

This can be accessed by boat from Kibuye and it is one of the stunning islands on Lake Kivu. It is linked by a bridge to the Mpembe peninsula and it boasts of its unbeatable beauty and diversity thus making an island with lots of hidden treasures.

  • The Peace Island

This island comes with a number of incredible avifaunal species, lush vegetation and beach area. Compared to Napoleon’s Island, this inhabits humans who practice crop farming and cattle keeping.

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Alibaba Founder Jack Ma To Visit Rwanda

Of recent, the Rwanda Development Board entered into a partnership deal with the Rwanda Embassy in China a move that was intended to showcase the country’s available investment and tourism opportunities. The dumbed ‘Rwanda Week’ in China mainly targeted the potential investors who would make the best of country’s available investment opportunities. Due to this, one of the most famous business and investors ‘Jack Ma’ is soon expected to pay a visit to this remarkable country.

He is set to be in this landlocked country at the end of October on 30th where he will interact with most of the local investors to identify more available investment opportunities in different sectors. The major sectors of interest include tourism, electronic payment and education between China and Rwanda.

Jack Ma is a founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Additionally, this group also deals in retails, internet, and technology. It was founded in 1999 with aim of offering consumer to consumer, business to consumer and business to business sales services through web portals and also electronic payment services, shopping search engines and not to forget cloud computing services. It deals in a number of businesses that are widely distributed worldwide and cover different sectors making it one of the most treasured companies in the world.

His visit will mark the second time he is visiting Rwanda after the last trip he made when he came to be part of Youth Connekt Africa summit that took place in July 2017. Over 2500 participants across Africa are engaged in the Youth-Connekt Summit and they are mainly engaged in motivational talks as well as get first hand guidance on how they can be empowered to change this forgotten continent.

Just the previous year alone Jack Ma in addition to sharing the hidden secretes of his success, he also disclosed to them the $10 million fund that was mainly targeted to aid the young African entrepreneurs explore the business world. This summit attracts various heads of state, world business leaders, AU commissioners, multilateral organizations, Ministers of Youth, development partners, young men and women entrepreneurs, civil society and academia, youth led organizations, venture capitalists, business angels and many others.

The project was launched in 2012 by the Rwandan government in conjunction with One UN Rwanda. The main objective of this initiative was to unite different youths so as to help them showcase the potential of Africa’s youth and the available opportunities. As this is part of this program, Jack Ma-a renowned Chinese Billionaire has disclosed more about the 4 (four) groundbreaking projects that include inviting about 200 young African entrepreneurs to work at Alibaba headquarters.

This is aimed at making the youths gain experience in the fields like the e-commerce, internet and artificial intelligence. The other initiative is mainly to work with universities in Africa and government to provide training in particular courses that still cover areas of artificial intelligence, e-commerce and internet. The 3rd(third) program is mainly to partner between Alibaba and Paradise Foundation of China.

The project will mainly focus on promoting and supporting environmental conservation efforts in African continent mostly elephant and other wildlife species. Elephants are among the very few most endangered species in the world and despite this fact, they are also the most looked for among the big game in Africa. Their existence plays a significant role in the tourism sector. In Africa, they come in different species including the forest elephants-these mainly dwell in most of the tropical rain-forests of Africa and the African bush-the savanna grassland dwellers.

With Alibaba partnership deal, Rwanda continues to leave the world wondering after it again struck a deal with Arsenal Football Club in a ‘Visit Rwanda’ campaign. By marketing it via Alibaba websites will further attract not only a large population of Chinese visitors but also other visitors across the world. What is amazing is that the upcoming Alibaba electronic payment system in Rwanda is of a great value the fact that the Alipay connects more than half a billion users and it is on an increase. Besides, about 8 (eight) African states have already adopted this system and due to this, the Rwanda Alibaba partnership deal perhaps will see Rwanda’s tourism and ICT sector on a lead in the near future.

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Uganda’s Magical Islands

Uganda’s Magical Islands

Uganda features not only savanna wildlife species and primates but also numerous magical islands. About 90 spectacular islands are situated in different Lakes. These Islands are one of truly hidden secrets of Uganda and feature numerous amazing attractions. Each island comes with its own unique features for travelers on Uganda safari to explore. Trips to the islands reward visitors with exceptional set up of the pearl of Africa. Depending on what your travel interests are, but the islands are the best for sunbathing, sand beaches water sports, nature walks on private islands, horseback riding, bird watching biking and many more.

The notable Islands in Uganda include;

  • Musambwa Islands

This island comes with 3 distinct rocky islands and they are situated about 5 kilometers along the Kasensero Landing site in Rakai district, Sango Bay area in Lake Victoria. Musambwa Island is famous as an island where women aren’t accepted but only men. The Island features a number of snakes (rock pythons, vipers, African rock pythons and cobras) and birdlife like common moorhen, African marsh harrier, spur winged plover, hamerkop, black crake, green backed heron, cattle egret, African fish eagle, lesser flamingo, sacred ibis, black headed heron, pied kingfisher and many more. The Island is occupied by about 100 people. The word Musambwa is a local word that denotes spirits or rather demon given the presence of snakes which are presumed to be spirits. There is a belief that the Island comes with perfect morals in the world given that no one is accepted to have sex or else you will be embarrassed by the spirits.

  • Ssese Islands

The Ssese Islands feature over 84 stunning Islands and they are situated northwestern shores of Lake Victoria and they come with numerous beaches. Most of these Islands are largely found within Lake Victoria and the feature the most amazing tourism potential. The prominent activities to enjoy in this islands include sail boating, motorized boats, fishing, boating and many more.

  • Ngamba Island

This island is situated in Lake Victoria, Uganda and it covers an area of about 100 acres, 98 of which is filled by rain-forests. Ngamba Island is located 23 kilometers off Entebbe and mainly famous as a chimpanzee sanctuary. The island is also best known as Chimp Island.

  • Buggala Island

This is one of the biggest Islands in Lake Victoria and the perfectly established for tourism and can be visited by motor ferry and features better accommodation facilities. Kalangala is situated on the eastern side of the islands that features administrative center. The notable wildlife species to spot out include bushbucks, black and white colobus, vervet monkey and many others. The birds to sight include flycatchers, robin chats, barbets, hornbills, Turacos and others.

  • Bunyonyi islands

Bunyonyi Islands feature numerous islands all of which are situated along Lake Bunyonyi, southwestern Uganda. They make up about 29 distinct islands some of which include Itambara, Akampene, Bushara, Bwama and Akabucuanuka. Akampene is also c known as the punishment island due to traditional Bakiga community that doesn’t allow sex prior marriage and it was punishable for those who disobey.

The other Islands that are worth exploring include the Nsirwe Island, Bufumira, Banda, Bugaba, Funye Serinya, Kitobo Islands and many more.

In conclusion, if you are planning to visit any of Uganda’s islands, then be ready to explore Lake Victoria the world’s second largest fresh Lake and the largest in Africa. There are also notable lodging facilities that range from budget to moderate, family and features as the best site for honeymooners. For visitors who are looking for perfect places to relax out or chill out while on Uganda safari, then the listed islands shouldn’t miss out in your bucket list.

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Titus Gorilla Family – Rwanda

Titus Gorilla Family – Rwanda

When it comes to safaris to Rwanda, the most prominent attractions that never miss out in most of the travelers’ bucket list are the rare mountain gorillas. These unique apes feature as among the very few tourist attractions in the world that offer visitors with the most thrilling experiences that come once in a lifetime. They are only found in 3 (three) destinations; Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These rare apes share about 98% of their DNA with humans making them a few most vulnerable species on earth. In Rwanda, they are only located in Volcanoes National Park, northwestern part of the country takes trekkers approximately 2 hours’ drive off Kigali International Airport. Volcanoes National Park comprises of ten (10) habituated gorilla groups that have been set for visitor experiences.

Titus gorilla group derived its name from Titus gorilla silverback that was born on 24th August 1974 at a time when Dian Fossey conducting her research at Karisoke Research Centre. Titus was monitored by Kelly Stewart who later named the group after him. Unfortunately, he lost his family members to poachers which included his uncle, brother, sister and father. This was the most challenging moment in Titus’s life. The family then never had females for a period of more than 8 (eight) years and the males were monitored in homosexual behavior till when five females from other families joined his family. Titus led the group for longer period of time and it is estimated that he led the family up to 2007 till Beetsme silverback succeeded his leadership in 2009.

He led the family till he passed on in 2012 and he became one of the male gorillas with several infants and managed the biggest gorilla family. He was protective to the female whereby he was sighted biting a female when she was caught up mating secretly with his son Kuryama. Beetsme featured as a good silverback till he passed on. Titus group features as one of the families that have thrived for longer time. Today, this troop features both new and old individuals that are all peacefully surviving in the same group. Titus was however got when he was dead in his nest surrounded by his group members and he was declared to have died of natural causes. At the age of 35 years, this gorilla king was famous as the most successful gorilla in the Land of a Thousand Hills with numerous infants compared to any other gorilla. This family still serves research needs but recently tourists have been accepted to track through it especially when the permits are overbooked for the main ten habituated families. Titus family is found between Karisimbi and Visoke Volcanoes.

In conclusion, Titus gorilla family is one of the oldest families in Volcanoes National Park. A visit to this group offers tourists a chance to explore more about Titus that features as the oldest silverback that thrived for long and also sired many infants.

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Hiking Trails In Nyungwe Forest National Park

Hiking Trails In Nyungwe Forest National Park

Nyungwe National Park isn’t only famous for chimpanzee trekking but also for its remarkable hiking adventures. About 130 kilometers of hiking trails exist in Nyungwe Forest National Park, each of which comes with unique wild creatures. Some of these hiking trails take little time about 3 days. The park features the only canopy forest trail, the Rwandan source of the Nile and many more trails that can be sighted within this remarkable country. This park is truly the best for travelers who are interested in outdoor adventures. It features 13 distinct primates, birds, butterflies, orchids in season plants and tree species and everything that any hiker or climber may desire while on safari in Africa.

Below are some of the hiking trails in the Nyungwe Forest National Park

Ngabwe trail

This trail covers 4.7 kilometers and visitors spend nearly three hours to accomplish the hiking adventure and interestingly, it is moderate when it comes to level of its difficulty. This trail also leads visitors via the luxuriant vegetation zones even if it is a relatively short trail. It can also be extended up to eight hours long and this means that it will comprise of the Kitabi tea plantation. Visitors can come along with their own lunch and eat during the picnic site that provides remarkable views of the forest. Along the trail, you will sight the L’Hoests, silver and colobus monkeys as well as mangabeys and chimpanzees.

Bigugu trail

Hiking through this trail lasts for six hours. It takes around seven kilometers and the trail may appear steep and slippery. The trails lead the visitors up to the highest point in the protected area that is Bigugu peak and is 2950 meters above sea level. This trail rewards visitors with bird species like the red collared mountain babbler. There are also some stunning wild flowers including the orchids as well as giant lobelias.

Igishigishigi trail

Igishigishigi trail is the most famous trail from the Uwinka reception area of the protected area as it is the best site for the canopy walk. Hiking through this trail takes visitors nearly 2.4 kilometers and 1.5 hours to accomplish including the canopy walk. While hiking through this trail, you will have a chance to sight the tree tops and view distinct primates, butterflies, birds and many more.

Kamiranzovu marsh trail

This lies within the Caldera especially the depression and it features the massive swamp which makes up an essential watershed in the conservation area. The trail is moderate and it is 6 kilometers long and lasts for three hours for visitors to accomplish hiking through its. It rewards visitors with amazing sites from orchids especially in the wet season. In Rwanda, the wet season takes place from October to November and April and May. This trail rewards visitors with amazing swamp bird species like the Grauer’s rush warbler.

Isumo waterfall trail

This trail covers about 10.6 kilometers long and is moderate. Hiking through it lasts for four hours. It takes visitors via the tea plantation and then the patches of the forest where you have a chance to sight most of the monkeys. This is one of the beautiful trails which takes visitors to its tree ferns which are magnificent and rewards travelers with Rwenzori Turaco.

The source of the River Nile trail

This trail is relatively simpler to hike and the hikes last for one and half hours. This is regarded as the Rwandan source of the Nile that was discovered by ascends the Nile Expedition in 2006 where they knew that the head water of the Rutarara River was the source of the Nile in Nyungwe National Park. The trail covers about 42 kilometers and king through it requires about three to four days.

Karamba birding trail

The trail lasts for four kilometers. This is an essential place for gold mining and the least muddy trails in Nyungwe National Park. Visitors there fore have a chance to sight the orchids and the giant tree.

Muzima trail

This trail covers 5.2 kilometers and it is a bit remote and lasts for 3 and half hours for visitors to accomplish hiking through it. The trail crosses via the vast heath like vegetation and shrubs. The trail also consists of wild flowers along it and it features non forest birds with spectacular views of the protected area as well as Lake Kivu at a distance.

Imbaraga trail

This also leads visitors up to Uwinka reception center and is one that is a bit challenging for travelers to hike through. It covers around 10 kilometers and lasts for six hours for one to accomplish the hikes. Imbaraga denotes strength and visiting offers that real adventure in life. This trails lead travelers up to the 4 distinct waterfalls.

Irebero trail

The word Irebero denotes viewpoint and its length covers about 3.6 kilometers and comes with incredible views of the area. Hikers take around three hours to accomplish. It also leads visitors to the loop around the 2 highest peaks.

Umugote trail

This derived its name from a Syzygium tree that is usually seen along this trail. The trail covers about 3.6 kilometers long and three hours to finish.

The Rukuzi trail

For chimpanzee lovers, this is the best site for chimpanzees. It also takes you through five kilometers to accomplish. Other trail includes the Umugove.

Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of Rwanda’s most spectacular protected areas that refuge a variety of attractions that offer visitors lifetime experiences. Each of the hiking above trails; feature a number of remarkable attractions that are worth exploring while on African safaris.

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Dramatic Decrease of Grauer Gorillas in DR Congo

Dramatic Decrease of Grauer Gorillas in DR Congo

The gray gorillas live in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – an area where there has been war between different rebel groups and the Congolese army for 20 years.

Since that time, efficient conservation work is only possible in some areas or only temporarily. In regional surveys, it has already been shown that the animal world has suffered greatly under this extreme situation, especially the large mammals.

Now, a team of researchers, led by WCS and FFI, have published a report on a population survey of the entire Grauer gorilla population: Status of Gray’s Gorilla and Chimpanzees in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They come to a frightening result: there are probably only about 3800 gray gorillas (the estimate ranges from 1280 to 9050 individuals). This means that their stock has decreased by almost 80% within 20 years.

We have always supported projects for the protection of the gray gorillas, but this has been particularly difficult in the last 20 years, as all organizations have identified and some have withdrawn from this area. But we will continue to do all we can to improve the protection of the gorillas in cooperation with other organizations.

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Africa Holidays in July; Destinations & Recommendations

Africa Holidays in July; Destinations & Recommendations

A holiday in July is ideal, as in many countries the summer attracts, whereby the selection of destinations is enormous. Adventure, nature exploration, Culture and heritage, Jungle Safaris, sea or urban treks among others.

Africa Holidays in July – Travel Destinations and Recommendations for the most beautiful summer holidays

July is associated with summer holidays and many people plan vacations in other countries with their families. The swimming pools are full of people sunbathing on their towels or taking a few rounds in the water. Bathing lakes are also very popular in July as they promise an ensemble of barbecues, swimming, cozy evenings with friends and nature.  What is the best time to travel as the weeks when you do not have to go to school, college or work?

The wishes, how the journey should be designed, can be quite different. Adventure, safaris, nature, activities and sports or rather well-planned city tours or even beach vacations?

Jaguar in African Jungle Quenching Its Thirst

Jaguar in African Jungle Quenching Its Thirst

In the case of wildlife safari, you will get the right offer for the perfect summer holiday in Africa. Here you will find travel tips and recommendations to Africa for all travelers who prefer long journeys for their July holidays.

Your holiday fever has been woken up and you want to find your dream safari in Africa as soon as possible? Our blog contribution provides you with a lot of information on suitable African travel destinations in July. Your holiday in July can be planned with toddler or your family, with your partner or a group of friends. There is plenty to do and see in Africa.

Best African Destinations for a holiday in July

If you want to learn new landscapes and take safaris in the true African wilderness, African continent is the right place to go. A South Africa trip is good for safaris due to the dwindling vegetation, so you do not need to be afraid not to see the animals or miss them. Although South Africa is popular as a tourist destination in July, this month is not the best time for Cape Town and therefore also for the Garden Route. However, you should visit the well-known Kruger National Park, the Tafelberg and the Kariega Game Reserve during excursions, as you will have unique sights. Together with other holidaymakers, you will be able to experience what you are looking for, which is why safaris are unique and anchored in the memory.

Pride of Lions in Kruger National Park - South Africa

Pride of Lions in Kruger National Park – South Africa

Should you or one of your fellow travelers be sensitive to cold, do not necessarily go to the Drakensberge in July. At night it is very cold because of the mountains. The same is true with the Cederbergs. For longer hikes, however, these places are a good choice, even if it can come to snowfall, because in South Africa in July winter prevails. The temperatures depend on the individual regions, during the day it is around 15 ° C in Cape Town, in Johannesburg 17.5 ° C and in Durban temperatures rise to 22 ° C. Especially during the night, it becomes very cold, which should be taken into account during your travel plans.

In Namibia, July is dry, the temperatures of the day are very pleasant at 20 to 25 degrees, only at night the temperatures drop to the freezing point. That’s why you should think of warm clothes, at best fleece. A holiday in Namibia in July has other attractions besides the famous attractions such as the Etosha National Park and the capital Windhoek. In the south you will find, for example, the Ai-Ais, the hot springs, which are sure to be a special feast for the eyes. Also one of the national monuments, the Köcherbaumwald, is worthwhile if you want to see next to such an impressive plant, which can be up to 9 meters high.

Game safari in Etosha National Park

Game safari in Etosha National Park

Also, a Zimbabwe trip or a trip to Botswana for a July holiday are popular destinations in July for a safari vacation. In Zimbabwe you will experience the dry season this month and the precipitation rate is very low, which in turn favors safaris. The temperatures are at a pleasant 23 ° C, which is why July is also the best time for Zimbabwe. In Botswana it is even colder, during the day about 20 ° C, and at night it freaks very frequently. July is a good month in Botswana for fishing, watching wild – for example in the Kalahari Game Reserve – and also bird watching are piling up. This is due to the fact that many animals enter the Okavango Delta through the Okavango flood. The so-called Tuli-Block is very scenic and allows many beautiful panoramic views.

Okavambo Aerial View

Okavambo Aerial View

The best time to travel for a gorilla trek in Uganda and Rwanda is the July. On your trip in Uganda and / or Rwanda, you can expect temperatures between 16 and 27 degrees, and therefore good conditions for safaris and explorations. Gorilla tracking in Rwanda takes place in Volcanoes National Park and in Uganda, gorilla tourism is done in Mgahinga Gorilla National park and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Mountain Gorilla in the Misty Jungles of Uganda and Rwanda

Mountain Gorilla in the Misty Jungles of Uganda and Rwanda

Other attractions in Uganda include the Lake Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth and Kibale Forest among others. Also Uganda’s capital Kampala, Semilik, Rwenzori Mountains and the Ziwa Rhinoceros protected area are well-known tourist spots.
Author; Paul Basudde

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History and Future of Gorilla Tourism in Africa

History and Future of Gorilla Tourism in Africa

The almost extinct mountain gorillas are a rarity on earth and have become with the years to a real tourist attraction of East Africa. Every year, numerous tourists travel to Uganda and Rwanda to experience the mountain gorillas up close.

The history of gorilla tourism in Africa

Over the last 100 years, many people and groups have worked together to secure the survival of the mountain gorillas in the jungle forests of Africa. Its history dates back to 1902, when Robert Von Beringe, a German captain and the first European, observed the mountain gorillas on the Sabinyo volcano, which lies between Uganda and Rwanda.

In 1925 the American naturalist Carl Akeley convinced his Majesty Albert the King of Belgium to found the Albert National Park, the first national park in Africa. The borders of the national park were extended in 1929. In 1959, George Schaller, an American zoologist, conducted a fundamental study on the gorillas in the Albert National Park.gorilla

1960s – Habituation of the Gorillas to Humans

After the independence of the colony Belgian Congo in 1960 (which later became the name Zaire), the volcano national park was divided into the volcano national park in Rwanda and the national park Virunga in the DR Congo. In 1967, the American zoologist Dian Fossey carried out her first long-term study on the wild gorillas in the volcanoes national park, and thus the habituation of the gorillas began the presence of the people. In 1973, the National Tourism and Development Office of the National Park was set up in Rwanda, which introduced new laws regarding national parks and the hunting of wild animals. As a participant of group or individual trips to Rwanda, you can encounter the fascinating animals during a gorilla trekking on a Rwanda voyage.

1970s – Fight Against Poachers

During the period between 1970 and 1980 the focus was on the fight against poaching. The emphasis was placed on how to reduce the game dairies and control the spread of traps and wireworms to protect the gorillas. Above all, the killing of the Silverback Digit and five other gorillas within a short period of time in the volcanic national park in 1978 was the worst moment ever and led to international concern about the survival of the gorillas. The grave of Digit is still visited in the old Karisoke Research Center near the tomb of Dian Fossey.

The first attempt to connect gorilla protection and tourism was made in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park in 1973 and here we have low-land gorillas. The park was first published in the Amtsblatt in 1970 and in 1975 it was extended to 6000 square kilometers. The first gorilla trekking was carried out in 1973, but later they were suspended because there was not enough study and experience on the impact of human gorilla contacts and because the “gorilla rules” were not yet clear.

Digit and Dian Fossey Tombs near Karisoke Research Center

Digit and Dian Fossey Tombs near Karisoke Research Center

The mountain gorilla project of 1979 was a turning point in the history of gorilla protection. This resulted in a convention between the Government of Rwanda and a consortium of several private animal and nature conservation organizations, including the African Wildlife Leadership Foundation (AWLF), WWF and FFPS (Fauna and Flora Preservation Society).

The idea was to introduce gorilla tourism and education as the main means of anti-poaching efforts to achieve better gorilla protection. The possibility of opening up new tourism-based jobs and increasing revenues would have had to change local and national political attitudes in favor of the gorillas.

Two groups of gorillas near Karisoke (Groups 11 and 13) were selected to perform an exercise of “habituation” so that they could be opened to tourist activities. Other families were excluded because of the aggressiveness of some gorillas against humans or because they were too far from the starting point of the trekking. Group 11 had a very quiet silverback called Stilgar, and in the group there were four young animals. The first experimental trek started in October 1979 with some residents from Kigali. The first foreign tourists who visited the gorillas were Europeans, who traveled in November 1979 with Trans-Africa Overlanders.

The first visits were limited to six persons per family, and the time was also limited to an hour, as the attitude of the Silverbacks would be reversed in opposition to a long visit. The price of the visit was 20 USD per trek. It is precisely this “gorilla trekking” which created the conditions for the so-called “gorilla rules“, in other words, what humans should or should not do when they meet the gorillas in their habitat; And this came as a reflection of the reactions of the gorillas to the visits of the people.

Park Ranger holding Poachers' Snares used to Trap Gorillas

Park Ranger holding Poachers’ Snares used to Trap Gorillas

The visitor stream to the volcano national park soon contributed to improving the accommodation conditions in Ruhengeri and creating new jobs as patrolling guards and trekking guides in the national park. Today, many people travel in the country “the thousand hills” to experience the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat.

The 1980s – The Death of Dian Fossey

On December 27, 1985, Dian Fossey was killed in her hut at Karisoke Research Center. Her death is still a mystery. She was buried in Karisoke next to her beloved figure in a cemetery, which she laid out for the gorillas. After their death, the counting of the mountain gorillas began in 1989 and it was found that there were about 324 gorillas in the Virunga protected area and 320 in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest area, a total of 644 mountain gorillas.

1990s – Civil war in Rwanda

In 1992 the male silver back named Mrithi was killed by “Group 13” (one of the accustomed families). In 1994 the civil war broke out in Rwanda and as a result almost 18 to 22 miners were killed during the war. There is another sad part of the genocide story in Rwanda from 1994: the genocide regarding the mountain gorillas and the end of gorilla tourism.
It was only in 1999 that the Volcanoes National Park was reopened by the Rwandan Tourist Board and National Parks (ORTPN). The price for the gorilla tracking was 250 USD. Later it was raised to 360 USD and in 2006/2007 the gorilla trekking already cost 500 USD.

On October 17, 2002, mountain gorillas Conservation Fund held the 100th anniversary since the discovery and identification of the Mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and in 2004 Keesling won an award from the British Airways for its efforts to protect the gorilla world-wide.banner4

In 2012, there were nine Gorilla families in the volcano national park in Rwanda that can be visited by gorilla tourists, and since 1 June the price for access to the gorilla area is 750 USD. In any case, these high income from gorilla tourism could not be foreseen a decade ago. In addition, there is much more potential from the investment in gorilla tourism back to the conservation of gorillas.

The history of gorilla tourism begins in Uganda, when Bwindi became a national park in 1991. In the 1970s, Uganda experienced a terrible delay in the development of tourism because tourism was banned and national parks were declared hunting areas by the Idi Amin dictator. In this period, no preservation of the gorillas was possible. In the 1980s the country was in the civil war. It was only in 1986 that the National Resistance Army won the battle for power in Kampala. A few years later, after restoring the rule of law and reconstructing the state’s public institutions, Uganda was ready at the beginning of the nineties to restore relations with the other countries where gorillas were discovered.gorilla-agashya

The first step in Uganda was the habituation of the Mubare family in Buhoma sector in which the Silberback Ruhondeza showed good reactions in contact with the people and therefore stimulated the development of gorilla tourism. The Mubare family has been accessible to tourists since 1993. Since then, tourists visit Bwindi National Park for mountain gorilla tracking experience.

In 2004 there were already four gorilla families who could be visited on a group trip through Uganda – Mubare, Rushagura, Habinyanja and Nkuringo. The approval for the gorilla trekking cost 360 USD.

In 2012, there were nine gorilla families in the Bwindi National Park, accustomed to the opening of two new trekking points in Ruhija (in the central area of Bwindi) and in Rushaga (in the south-east part of Bwindi). The permits for gorilla tracking on an individual journey through Uganda are sold for the price of 600 USD.
By: Paul Basudde

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Heritage and Cultural Experience in Rwanda

Heritage and Cultural Experience in Rwanda

Rwandan Traditional Music and Dances
In Rwanda, music, dance and drama are among the priority and members gather in companies to enjoy the experiences. The Rwandanese gathers in the afternoon or evening to relax while dancing, singing and prays.

Types of dances in Rwanda

Dances like intore (“the elite”) danced in the royal court to cheer up the king. It should also be noted that all events in the country are embellished with traditional dance and songs: birth celebrations, weddings, traditional baptism (guterekera), launching of new projects, anniversaries, political parties or the welcoming of important visitors.
Intore dance refers to the war dance which encourages those who wage war or hunt. Intore means “the elite” or “leader.” Intore troupe participants are chosen for their exceptional moral and physical qualities. While training, not only do they learn to dance but they also receive education in moral values.

Ukurambagiza – Courtship dances where ladies and gentlemen dance together – other call it the Dance of Fiances and Ukurambagiza in Kinyarwanda . In this single ladies take part in the courtship dance until they are married allowing their beauty to be accented by movement and dance.

Umuganura Harvest Festival – This was banned by the Belgian Colonial Authorities in 1925 because, the Belgians  got scared of the Rwandan King gaining extra power since it was the second most important even in the kingdom after coronation of a new king. This festival for long has been part of traditional Culture in Rwanda for centuries; communities gathered to share and celebrate the first harvest of fruits, this was accompanied story telling, Dance, music, drama and local brew.
Female dancers dressed in festive gowns perform traditional dances of thanksgiving and honor the Traditional Deity for blessing them with a bountiful harvest and a time to bring and bless seeds for the new harvest to come.
To add more flavour, the Rwanda music is accompaned by musical instruments likr drums, xylophones, the inanga is a traditional instrument similar to a guitar, and has 9 or 12 strings (made from cow hide), and made from a wood called umyungu, The umuduli is a single-string traditional instrument, The amakondera is a Rwandese horn among others.

Like other African societies, Rwanda has also got a variety of songs and dances which range from acts that demonstrate heroic commemorating excellence and bravery, humorous lyrics to hunting root. The traditional songs are often accompanied by a solitary “Inanga”, a harp-like instrument with eight strings.
Rwanda’s tradition dances are backed by a drummer group, which normally comprises of seven to nine members.
But today, the exciting act can be arranged at short notice through the national museum in Butare, and normally performs during ceremonial events.

In Rwanda, music, dance and drama are among the amusing activities not only to Rwandanes but also tourists. After a day of long hour of moving from one tourist destination to another, visitors need relaxing in the evening to enjoy the Music, Dance and Drama in which they can also participate. Visitors can participate while clapping, druming, singing and so on.

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Top 10 Expectations on Rwanda Safari

Top 10 Expectations on Rwanda Safari

Rwanda is one of the top tourist destinations in Africa, is a small land locked country, located in East Africa, famously known to inhabit the endangered mountain gorillas and the 1994 genocide. Below are the top places you should never miss on your vacation into the heart of Africa (Rwanda).

Mountain Gorillas in the Mist

Rwanda is one of the 3 countries in the world where one can go and see the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. The gorillas live in the misty mountainous jungles of Volcanoes National Park Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest as well as Mgahinga National Park in South Western Uganda. Seeing the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat rewards you with a lifetime adventure experience! Rwanda today has 10 habituated gorilla groups and each gorilla group is visited by a maximum of 8 persons per day. This means, a total of 80 gorilla permits is available per day, and you must book in advance because the demand for permits is very high through-out the year.

Baby Mountain Gorilla in the Jungle

Baby Mountain Gorilla in the Jungle

National Treasures

Stop in at the Butare National Museum, considered one of the best museums in East Africa. Featuring traditional housing, musical instruments, tribal art and other artifacts. The museum rewards visitors a great grounding in Rwandan history and culture.

Genocide Memorial Museum

After the 1994 genocide in Rwanda where about perished, several places were gazetted into genocide memorial museums, and these attract many tourists from all-over the world; these include Gisozi Museum in Kigali, Murambi Technical School, Bisesero Genocide museum, Nyamata and Ntarama Churches among others.

Gisozi Genocide memorial Site Kigali

Gisozi Genocide memorial Site Kigali

Chill out Lakeside

Enjoy the serenity and beauty of Lake Kivu, a fresh water lake with fine sandy beaches in Western Rwanda. It is a good place to relax after a long day of gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park. Lake Kivu is surrounded by beatiful lodges, resorts and hotels such as Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Palm Resort Hotel, Hotel Paradise Marahide and Stipp Hotel among others.Apart from sun and sand bathing, you can take a boat ride around the lake to visit the hot springs and coffee Island.

Beautiful Lake Kivu - Rwanda

Beautiful Lake Kivu – Rwanda

Monkey magic

Have fun finding habituated chimpanzees in the wild, Olive baboons and other primate species in the trees of the Nyungwe National Park. The dense rain forest terrain offers the perfect environment for these amazing creatures to live in.

Home Sweet Home

Enjoy the true hospitality of local people while spending time with them and take park in daily activities such as Local beer brewing from bananas, home cooking and harvesting among others, stay with them whole day and night, share stories, something you just can’t get when staying at a hotel.

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel Rwanda

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel Rwanda

To Market

Strolling through the markets of Kigali is a great way to get acquainted with this up-and-coming city. Buy some trinkets or fresh produce, chat with locals and watch market-life in action.

Beach Bliss

Visit Gisenyi town, a home to un-spoilt beaches where you will have to fight for a spot to laze on them.

Small Town Charm

Known as the gateway town to the gorillas, Ruhengeri town offers a change of pace to the crowds of Kigali. Be touched by the warmth and sincerity of the local people while staying in this town of about 80,000 people.

Ruhengeri - Musanze town

Ruhengeri – Musanze town

Feel the Beat

Enjoy local cultural Music, Dance and Drama. You are free to take part the dance. Take a walk around Kigali Streets, explore Kigali at Night! Amazing and life time experience!

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