Kigali Hosts CHOGM 2022

Rwanda Commonwealth Day. CHOGM 2022
Commonwealth Day Celebrations. Courtesy Photo

Rwanda is the host of the commonwealth heads of government meeting CHOGM scheduled from 20th to 25th June this year. Commonwealth is an association of 54 countries most of which are former colonies of Britain. The commonwealth was instituted in the mid 1900’s when a number of British empires started gaining independence from British Rule. It was formally established in 1949 by the CommonWealth foundation that established the member states free and Equal.

Since 1971, leaders from commonwealth countries meet every two years for CHOGM. Each meeting is held by a different member country on a rotational basis with the last one held in the United Kingdom in 2018.  The one happening in Rwanda was supposed to happen in 2020 but was postponed because of the COVID pandemic.

Various leaders from all the Commonwealth countries are expected to be in Kigali for CHOGM. They will hold a series of meetings to discuss policy and how to improve the lives of their citizens.

This years theme is ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’. This years’ CHOGM was kick started by the Commonwealth Youth Forum that started today and will end on 21st June. This will be followed by the Commonwealth Women’s Forum from 20th to 21st at Kigali Serena Hotel. On Wednesday 22nd June and Thursday there will be ministerial meetings. It will be officially opened on 25th June then followed by executive sessions and the closed on Saturday 26th.

What to do in Rwanda During the CHOGM week

Kigali City tour

Kigali Rwanda’s capital city is very vibrant and the cleanest city on the African continent. The city has a number of attractions ranging from the Art centers, local markets, genocide memorials, Restaurants, craft shops and others. The city can be explored on foot giving one an opportunity to interact with the very hospitable Rwandan citizens.

Kigali city is very green and organized and very safe for a guided walking tour. For those who would like to explore more destinations outside the city center can still do so as there is a lot to see in the land of a thousand hills.

This will be showcasing local Rwandan and international commonwealth fashion. It will feature a number of designers showcasing their works. The fashion week will have a series of activities all aimed at uplifting designers worldwide.

The fashion week will be taking place at different venues and will also feature shop tours plus visiting artisans in the city. This will be one stop center to be as you will get an opportunity to learn about diverse African art and craft industry. With the different art works on display, one will be able to buy some souvenirs.

A visit to Rwanda is not complete without a mountain gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park. The park is located in Northwestern Rwanda just a 3 hours drive from Kigali Rwanda’s capital city. Volcanoes national park is home to half of the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga massif. It has 20 habituated gorilla families that are open for tourism.

Each mountain gorilla family is tracked by 8 tourists a day in an awesome primate once in a lifetime experience. Mountain gorillas are special primates with over 95% DNA similar to humans. Just like humans they live in families headed by a dominant male called silverback. They are predominately vegetarian and feed on plant leaves and bamboo shoots and occasionally on small insects.

The gorilla trekking experience starts with a briefing at the park headquarters where you are briefed about the do’s and don’ts of gorilla trekking. You are then guided in the light bamboo forest amidst sighting of a number of wildlife including birds. You are allowed to stay in the presence of the mountain gorillas for an hour taking photos and getting to know more about them. From here you are led back to the park headquarters for your certificates of participation.

Even if you don’t have a lot of time in Kigali a gorilla trekking tour is doable. You can do a 1 day tour with an early morning (4:30 am) pick up from Kigali. You will then take a 3 hours drive to the park arriving in time for the gorilla trek and later be transferred back to Kigali. For those with more time you can do a 2 or 3 days tour that can include golden monkey trekking.

A safari to Akagera national park is another activity you should not miss while attending GHOGM 2022 in Kigali. Akagera national park is located in eastern Rwanda and its the only savanna national park in Rwanda. It is home to the big five mammals that include Elephants, lions, buffaloes, Rhinos and Leopards. Most of these had been extinct but were recently restored in the park all thanks to the great conservation works.

Akagera National park stands out because of its diverse ecosystem and wildlife species. The big five safari experience here is complemented by sighting of other savanna favorites like the giraffes, Topi’s while on game drives. Rhino tracking is among the newly established activities in Akagera National Park giving one an opportunity of a close encounter of one of the big Five.

A tour to Akagera is doable in 1 day with enough time to explore the park. For more chances of wildlife viewing though it is good to visit for 2 or 3 days. A boat cruise a long Lake Ihema is a must do as you will get to see Nile Crocodiles, hippos and a number of bird species. 

As you attend the CHOGM 2022 let’s celebrate our culture, wildlife and heritage and you can a part of the above mentioned experiences. There are many more experiences that Rwanda has to offer. You can also check out Nyungwe forest National park located in the southwestern part. It is home to chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and many other primates. 

Remember June is the start of the peak tourist season. You will therefore have to book your accommodation and activities in advance to avoid missing out. For any other information about your other favorite destination in East Africa, you can check on our blog page. 

Tour Du Rwanda 2022

Tour du Rwanda
Tour du Rwanda. Courtesy Photo

Tour du Rwanda is a cycling race based in Rwanda and of the most famous sporting activity worldwide. The cycling competition in Rwanda was started around 1988 and has over the years evolved into an internationally recognised competition. Tour du Rwanda is organised by the Rwanda cycling federation and its success saw its inclusion by the Union Cycliste Internationale in their continental circuits.

Since 2009, tour du Rwanda has been part of the Union Cycliste Internationale Africa tour rated as category 2.1. The Union Cycliste Internationale organises a series of road bicycle racing competitions worldwide to expand cycling.

The competition is ongoing in Rwanda having starting on 20th February. It will end on 27th February with the champions being crowned. 19 teams were selected and are participating in this years tournament. Majority of the cycling teams are from the African continent however teams from other continents are part of it. Some of these are from Europe’s famous cycling competitions like Tour de France, the Vuelta a Espana, the Giro d’Italia among others.

The routing is a bit challenging given the hilly terrain of the land of a thousand hills. Nevertheless, Rwanda is still a very beautiful country with perfect weather and the participants will still have a great time.

Rwanda has over the years not only become a leading tourist destination but also an international hub for different sporting activities. The country has a number of tourist attractions and one can engage in a number of activities as below.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda is a leading mountain gorilla trekking destination and 1 of the 3 countries with Mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are endangered apes that live in the forested mountains of Bwindi Impenetrable forest and the Virunga massif.

Mountain gorillas in Rwanda live in Volcanoes National park located just a 3 hours drive from Kigali Rwanda’s capital. The park is home to about 20 habituated mountain gorilla families that are open to tourism visitation.

Gorilla trekking offers a once in a lifetime experiences as people get to meet their wild relatives. The tour du Rwanda routing features Musanze near Volcanoes National park and if in Rwanda for the cycling expedition you can add gorilla trekking on your bucket list adventures.

Rwanda is a primates haven with not only mountain gorillas but chimpanzees as well. The chimpanzees however live in the Nyungwe forest National park located in the southwestern part of the country.

Nyungwe forest is one of Africa’s oldest forests having survived the Ice age and its a home to many other wildlife species. Chimpanzee trekking is the most famous activity here and very rewarding as you meet man’s closest primates.

While on a visit to Nyungwe you can engage in other primate trekking adventures featuring colobus monkey trekking. A canopy walk, guided nature walks, birding adventures are among other wildlife activities to consider while on a visit to Nyungwe.

For Savanna wildlife experiences Akagera national park would be an ideal destination. Here you can engage in a number of activities including game drives, ballon safari, boat cruise among others.

The cycling competition is not only an opportunity to show case potential of the cyclist the beauty of Rwanda.

Kwita Izina 2021 – 24 Baby Gorillas to be named

Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda. Gorilla Tracking, Kwita Izina 2021
Mountain Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda. Photo by Moses Nezehose

Kwita Izina 2021 will be held on 24th September marking the annual baby gorilla naming ceremony. The mountain gorilla naming ceremony was started by the Rwandan government to improve on mountain gorilla conservation. The Kwita Izina 2021 this time around sides with the World Gorilla Day Celebration and will be a very remarkable event.

24 baby mountain gorillas are expected to be named this year by various honored guests. Gorilla tourism in Rwanda is now fully open, but Kwita Izina 2021 will still be held virtually just like last year. All this is aimed at protecting the rare primates and a way of making it easy for those who cant visit Rwanda because of the travel restrictions. 

The honored guests who will name the gorillas are yet to be revealed but we can’t wait to know them. 9 of the baby gorillas to be named were born in families protected by the Dian Fossey fund. There has been a lot of efforts towards mountain gorilla conservation and the increase in births is a sign of improvement.

Over the years, the mountain gorilla population in Volcanoes National Park has kept on increasing steadily. With more efforts on conservation and habitat protection, there is hope that population will increase even more.

The Kwita Izina 2021 is a great timing for tourism as the sector is slowly recovering from the COVID19 slump.

About Mountain Gorillas

Mountain gorillas are apes that live in the forested mountains of East and Central Africa. They live in families led by a dominant male mountain gorilla commonly known as Silverback.

Gorillas are vegetarian and their diet is usually comprised of plant leaves and bamboo shoots. They have over 95% DNA similar to humans are therefore among man’s closest primate species.

Gorilla Trekking

If you desire to meet these rare primates in their most preferred habitats then gorilla trekking would be the ideal activity to do. There are 12 mountain gorilla families in Volcanoes National Park open to tourist visitation. The gorilla trek starts with a briefing at the Park headquarters and then tourists are led to the forested mountains.

Gorilla Trekking takes a 2 to 6 hours hike or more and once you get to the gorillas you are allowed to spend 1 hour up-close keeping a 7 meters distance. Here you get to know more the mountain gorillas, take photos and enjoy the moments.

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda has the highest gorilla population in the Virunga Massif. This makes it one of the best mountain gorilla trekking destinations in the region. Visit Rwanda this September and be apart of the Kwita Izina 2021 and apart of the unforgettable gorilla trekking experiences.

Rwanda Tours Not to Miss This Festive Season

Rwanda is currently many peoples dream destination especially those interested in Rwanda tours and classic safari experiences. The country is popularly known as the land of a thousand hills because of the many hills and mountains Rwanda has.

In terms of nature, Rwanda is highly gifted with diverse wildlife species making Rwanda tours remarkable. Over the years the country has attracted tourists from all walks of life including world’s most celebrated personalities.

As December begins, the festive season also sets in and many are looking for where to spend their holidays. Lets explore nature and wildlife attractions you must not miss while on Rwanda tours this December.

Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of the country is home to the endangered mountain gorillas. The park is part of the Virunga massif and has half of the mountain gorilla population in the Virunga massif area.

Mountain gorillas are apes with about 95% DNA similar to humans making then unique wild animals. On the entire planet they only live in forested mountains in sub saharan Africa. Rwanda tours featuring gorilla tracking are very remarkable offering once in a life time primate safari experiences.

Gorilla tracking tours are on a high demand and are most sold tour packages in Rwanda. You should therefore ensure to buy your gorilla permits in Advance. The good news for all African citizens is that gorilla permits were discounted from USD 1500 to USD 500 therefore ensure to add this experience on your bucket list this December.

Mountain Gorilla Volcanoes national Park. Rwanda Tours
Mountain Gorilla Volcanoes national Park Rwanda. Photo by Lionel Egger

Apart from Mountain gorillas, Volcanoes national park Rwanda also has golden monkeys that are primates endemic to the Virunga Massif. Just like their names, golden monkeys are covered with blackish and golden fur that perfectly blend making them beautiful primates to watch.

Golden Monkeys live in groups of up to 30 individuals or more and a pure vegetarian mostly feeding on bamboo shoots, leaves and wild fruits. They are impressive primates to watch in their most preferred habitats.

Permits for golden monkey tracking cost USD 100 per person which is a very fair price. While on Rwanda tours this December, add golden monkey tracking on your itinerary for exclusive primates experiences.

Golden Monkey in Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda Tours
Golden Monkey in Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Jean Marie Wild
Chimpanzee Tracking Tours

Southwest of Rwanda is Nyungwe forest one of Africa’s oldest forests and home to chimpanzees. Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest in Nyungwe national park offers great primate tracking experiences as you hike through the true African jungle.

There are several habituated chimpanzee families in Nyungwe that are open for tourist visitation. Chimpanzees tracking here introduces you to other hidden wildlife treasure in the park especially birds and small insects and reptiles.

Nyungwe national park is less crowded thereby offering exclusive experiences a perfect way to end the year. Adjacent to the park are several tea plantations where you can have a tea plantation tour after chimpanzee tracking.

Chimpanzee in Nyungwe National Park Rwanda
Chimpanzee in Nyungwe Forest National Park. Photo by Jonathan Gregson
Big Five Savanna Tours

These are possible on the only Savannah national park Rwanda has that is Akagera national park. This beautiful savanna park is located in the eastern part of Rwanda and has diverse savanna wildlife species.

Africa’s Savanna big five species in Akagera include lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes and Rhinos. Many of these had gone extinct because of poaching and land encroachment but they were reintroduced in the park. Rwanda tours featuring the big five mammals offer classic African safari experiences.

Other notable savanna wildlife species in Akagera national park include waterbucks, hippos, Nile crocodiles, Topis, giraffes and many bird species. Many of these are seen while on safari game drives on the different trails the park has. Akagera national park can be visited anytime of the year and December is among the best months for a safari there.

Hippopotamus Akagera National Park
Hippos in Akagera National Park. Photo by Eric Manzi