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.

Must Do Congo Safari Adventures

Congo Safari Adventures have over the recent years featured on adventure lovers bucket lists. Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the World’s less discovered wildlife safari destinations yet with a lot to offer. The country is the second largest country in Africa and with its vast size comes with more diversity and opportunities for wildlife.

Unfortunately Congo has had several insecurities related emanating from rebel attacks that hinder tourism and wildlife conservation. Despite the attacks and insecurity issues in the country, the beauty and tourism potential keeps on attracting a number of tourists from different parts of the world.

Eastern Congo has a number of key attractions including Virunga National Park Africa’s oldest national park. The park team has security protocol it follows to ensure that all visiting tourists are safe. They monitor the park and ensure to inform the public whenever they suspect any insecurity and go ahead to refund payments made by the visitors.

Let’s see the top Must do Congo safari adventures one should be apart of especially while visiting the Eastern part of the country.

Mountain Gorilla trekking

Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the 3 countries with the remaining mountain gorilla population on the entire planet. They live in Virunga national park and are the main tourist attractions. Mountain gorillas are apes with over 95% DNA similar to humans making them among man’s closest primates species.

Mountain gorillas live in families ranging from 2 to 20 or more each family headed by a dominant gorilla called Silverback. Congo safari adventures featuring gorilla trekking are very amazing and offer a once in a lifetime experience. Trek one of the habituated mountain gorilla families in Virunga National Park for of the the ultimate primates adventures.

The gorilla trekking experience starts with a briefing early morning at the park headquarters. You are then led to the forested mountains in a 2 to 4 hours trek. Once you get to the mountain gorillas you will be allowed in their presence for an hour and later be brought back to the park headquarters.

Lowland Gorilla Trekking

Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is blessed with another gorilla species, the eastern lowland gorillas. These Inhabit the forested mountains of Kahuzi Beiga National park in the Bukavu region.

Eastern lowland gorillas to differ from other gorillas sub species are relatively bigger in size. Just like other gorillas, they are vegetarian and feed to a plant and fruit diet. They also live in families led by a dominant male gorillas.

Lowland gorillas trekking is not as prominent as mountain gorilla trekking but also offers exclusive primate trekking experience. These gorillas are also endemic to Kahuzi Beiga national park and its therefore the only place where you can see Eastern lowland gorillas in the wild.

Lowland Gorilla in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Congo Safari Adventures
Juveline Lowland Gorilla in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Photo by Shannon

Mount Nyiragongo Hike

Mount Nyiragongo is one of the worlds’ active volcanic mountains located in Eastern DRC. The mountain has a lava lake on its summit and last erupted in May 2020 displacing thousands of families as lava spread allover burning people’s homes and gardens.

Since its eruption, tourism was halted temporarily. Hiking will be open again once the park officials are sure that the mountain is safe to hike. The Nyiragongo Hike takes 2 days with the first day ascending the mountain to its summit. The night and early mornings are the best times to see the hot lava Lake. The 2nd day is for descending the mountain an activity that offers great scenic views of the surrounding Great Lakes region and the chains of the Virunga massif mountains.

Once it’s open again for tourism, Mount Nyiragongo will still offer amazing and exclusive Congo safari adventures.

The Best of A Uganda Safari Adventure

Popularly Known as the Pearl of Africa, Uganda is one of the best East African safari destinations. Having a Uganda Safari Adventure this new year is highly recommended as you would get to explore the country’s major wildlife. As the world is slowly opening up after the COVID 19 lockdowns, tourists numbers are few making it a great time to have intimate safari experiences.

For a successful Uganda Safari adventure, there are some bucket list places and experiences you must be apart of. They include the following

Mountain Gorilla Bwindi Uganda Safari Adventure
Baby Mountain gorilla Bwindi. Courtesy Photo

Gorilla trekking is among the top desired Uganda safari adventure experiences. Mountain gorillas are apes with over 95% DNA similar to humans. On the entire planet, mountain gorillas can only be found in 3 countries that are Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mountain gorillas are endangered with their total population estimated at around 1000 gorillas. Almost half of that population live in Uganda’s Bwindi impenetrable national park. The park is located in southwestern Uganda and has 22 habituated gorilla families that are open to tourism.

While taking a Uganda safari adventure, gorilla trekking should be your number one safari activity to do. The trek enables you enjoy great scenic views as well as seeing other wildlife in the park especially birds.

Batwa Trail Experiences

The Batwa are pygmies and one of the native tribes of the Great Lakes region. They were initially living in the forest and only relied on the forest for food and survival. They were hunter gatherers however their activities were a threat to wildlife because of poaching. With the gazetting of the parks to conserve and protect wildlife, the Batwa were pushed at the edge of the forest and are occasionally allowed to go to the forest again.

The Batwa trail experience is one of the authentic cultural experiences while on a Uganda safari experience. The Batwa on this experience take you through their initial ways of life. They demonstrate their hunting and gathering skills, making fire using stones and perform folks about their culture.

The trails goes through the forest to the Ngarama cave that was once a home for the Batwa King. The Batwa trail is done in Mgahinga gorilla park another home for mountain gorillas.

Chimpanzee Trekking adventures

Uganda’s is one of the leading chimpanzee trekking destination worldwide. The country is home to the largest chimpanzee population in world. These live in the primate capital of the world Kibale forest national park.

Chimpanzee trekking here is exclusive and offers an opportunity to see other primates including red tailed and Colobus monkeys among others. Chimpanzees in Kibale National park can be explored by a normal chimpanzee trek with the first shift starting in the morning till mid day and the afternoon session starting at 2:00 pm. The morning and afternoon chimpanzee trekking sessions take 2 to 4 hours of trekking. Once you get to the chimpanzees you will be allowed in their presence for an hour. 

The chimpanzee habituation experience is the other activity in which chimpanzees in the park can be explored. This is a full day activity that starts in the morning and gives you 4 hours in the presence of the chimpanzees. In the habituation experience you follow the chimpanzee’s days’ routine and activities. The experience is a great opportunity to explore mans’ closest primates.

Uganda has a variety of savanna wildlife and majority of the country’s national parks and game reserves have a savanna ecosystem. Savanna’s big five mammals that include lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes can be seen while on a Uganda Safari adventure.

Uganda’s most isolated national park Kidepo Valley National Park offers one of the most exclusive and classic game drives on the African continent. The park is located north east of Uganda near the border with South Sudan. Game drives here are very rewarding with wildlife including cheetahs, lions, leopards, giraffes, elephants, buffaloes, zebras among others.

Murchison falls National park is another great place to enjoy a Uganda safari adventure featuring the big cats and big five mammals. Most game drives here are done in the northern sector of the park with the highest concentration of wildlife.

All these can be done throughout the year with best experiences and photography happening in the dry season.

Birding Journeys

Uganda is a birders haven and a Uganda safari adventure is usually incomplete without a birding safari experience. Some of the worlds’ rarest and endemic bird species are found in Uganda.

The country has a number of ramsar sites that are ideal of a birding safari adventure. Major national parks’ ecosystems are also habitats for the various bird species. The Mabamba swamp in Entebbe is among the leading birding destinations in Uganda. It’s home to the rare shoebill stork and many other bird species.

Visit Uganda and be a part of the never ending safari adventures in the Pearl of Africa.

East African Luxury Safari Holidays To Be Apart of This December

East Africa is one of the leading luxury safari holiday destinations on the African continent and the world at large. The regions has various natural wonders and attractions making it among the most desirable and bucket list tourist destinations. The idea of luxury Safari holidays is not new as many people continually seek exclusive high-end safari packages.

In East Africa, there are a number of these exclusive luxury Safari holidays one can be a part of. Now that the festive days are getting closer, let’s look at some of the finest luxury safari holidays to look out for.

East Africa is the only destination with the rare and endangered mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are apes and some of the closest primate species to human beings with over a 95% DNA similar to humans. They can only be found in Uganda, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo and offer so far one of the best wildlife safari experiences.

Of all the 3 gorilla trekking destinations though Rwanda offers the best luxury gorilla trekking safaris. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda can be trekked in Volcanoes National park located North west of the country. The park has 12 habituated mountain gorilla groups open for tourism.

There are a number of high-end luxury accommodation options around Volcanoes National Park where one can stay. These include Bisate Lodge, One and Only Gorilla Nest Lodge, Kwitonda Lodge, Bishops House and many others. This December if looking for one of the best luxury safari holidays then Volcanoes National Park would be a great option.

Mountain Gorilla. Luxury Safari Holidays. Photo by Eric Manzi
Mountain Gorilla in Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Eric Manzi

Kenya’s Masai mara national reserve is one of the best safari destinations for Big Five safaris. The reserve is home to Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Rhinos and Buffaloes. There are many private reserves surrounding the Mara Triangle where one can have game drives seeing the major big five.

Apart from game drives, you can do nature walks, ballon safaris among others all which that give you an opportunity to see the big five. There are a number of luxury safari lodges in the Masai Mara reserve offering all inclusive services.

End this year relaxing in the jungle enjoying high-end exclusive services with great views of endless plains of Masai Mara.

Lions in Masai Mara. Luxury Safari Holidays
Lions in Masai Mara Reserve

The wildebeest migration is a natural phenomena that involves a mass movement of wildebeest, gazelles, zebras over the Masai mara and Serengeti eco systems. This mass movement attracts a number of predators that are often ready to take on their prey. These includes the jungles most feared predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas among others.

The great wildebeest migration can be enjoyed in Masai Mara national reserve Kenya and Serengeti National Park Tanzania. The year 2021 has also been stressing because of the corona virus and it would be great to end it enjoying typical African luxury safari holidays featuring the wildebeest migration.

While on the wildebeest migration you will get to enjoy other classic safari experiences featuring the big five and a number of bird species.

Wildebeest Migration Safari. African Safaris
Wildebeest Migration. Courtesy Photo

Chimpanzees are other primates that offer great safari experiences and would be a great option for luxury safari holidays. East Africa has many chimpanzee trekking destinations but Uganda’s Kibale National Park offers the best experiences. The park is the primate capital of the world and is a home to chimpanzees and many other primate species.

The park is located in Western Uganda about a 6 to 7 hours drive from Kampala Uganda’s Capital City. It can be accessed by road and air transport but road transport is more enjoyable through the Ugandan countryside.

There are a number of high-end luxury safari lodges around the lodge including Kyaninga Lodge, Papaya Lake Lodge, Primate Lodge, Crater Safari Lodge among others. All these are a few minutes drive to the park and can be the best options to stay at while heading for chimpanzee trekking.

Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park Uganda by Lionel Egger
Chimpanzee in Kibale National Park by Lionel Egger

Best Wildlife Safari Experiences On A Visit Rwanda Expedition

Rwanda is one of the leading safari destinations offering some of the best wildlife safari experiences. The country has over the years heavily invested in tourism branding and marketing. It signed a marketing deal with international football teams like Arsenal and PSG that have a visit Rwanda tag on their jerseys. These campaigns aim at uncovering top wildlife tour destinations in Rwanda featuring the country’s best wildlife safari experiences.

Lets explore some of the best wildlife Safari experiences Rwanda has to offer and a Must do while on a safari in the country.

Rwanda Mountain gorilla. Wildlife Safari Experiences
Mountain gorillas in Volcanoes NP Rwanda. Photo by Klaas Jan Jonkman

Gorilla Trekking Safari Experiences

This is the most famous in the land of a thousand hills. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda live in Volcanoes national park located in the northwestern part of the country. The Park is part of the greater Virunga area that extends stretches along the border with Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo and home to the remaining mountain gorillas population.

Mountain gorillas are amazing apes with over 95% DNA similar to humans. They live in families ranging from 2 to 20 or more often headed by the dormant male gorilla called Silverback. These gorilla families are open to tourist visitation offering adventurous wildlife experience that many describe as once in a life time.

The gorilla trekking safari experience starts with a briefing at the park headquarters at 7:00 am. Here you are told about the gorilla trekking regulations and brief summary about these rare apes. You are then guided to the forested mountains amidst sighting of other wildlife species. The trek takes 2 to 4 hours or more and once you get to the gorillas you will be allowed to stay in their presence for an hour taking photos and getting to know more about them.

While planning a visit Rwanda expedition, ensure to add a mountain gorilla trekking safari for unforgettable primate safari experiences.

Big Five Safari Experiences

Rwanda’s Akagera national park is home to the big five mammals that include Lions, Rhinos, Leopards, buffaloes and Elephants. These are seen while on game drives in the only savanna national park in Rwanda. Akagera national park is located in the north eastern part of the country and best place for classic safari experiences.

The big five safari experiences are more amazing with the viewing of other big names in african safari wildlife. These include giraffes, antelopes including waterbucks, Topi, Oribi among others, hippos, birds and so much more.

The northern sector of Akagera national park has the highest wildlife concentration and its where most game drives are done. A boat cruise a long lake Ihema is a must do and Equally offers unique wildlife safari experiences. Here you view a number of hippos, Nile crocodiles, a number of birds among others. Its most enjoyable in the evening as you can wind it with remarkable views of the African sunset.

Chimpanzee Trekking Safaris

Rwanda is a ultimate primate trekking safari destination with major primates including the chimpanzees. These live in Rwanda’s Nyungwe forest located in the southwestern part of the country.

Nyungwe forest is one of the oldest forests in East and Central Africa and its not only home to chimpanzees but other primates including blues monkeys, L’hoest monkeys, colobus monkeys among others. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe is the top most and must do primate trekking adventure while visiting the park.

To supplement on a chimp tour in Nyungwe, you can also do other primate treks as well as nature walks long the different trails in the park.

Visit Rwanda today and be part of the never ending wildlife safari experiences. The country is fully open for tourism and it follows strict standard operating procedures amidst the Corona Virus pandemic crisis.

What to Know About Eastern Lowland Gorillas

Eastern lowland gorillas also known as Grauer gorillas inhabit and are endemic to the tropical rain forests of Democratic Republic of Congo. They are the largest of the four gorilla sub species and are unique primates species to explore on a primate safari.

Gorillas are great apes that and the largest living primates species that live in the tropical forests of Equatorial Africa. The gorilla species we are discussing today live in Kahuzi Biega National Park. The park is situated in Eastern DRC and can be easily accessed through Rwanda via cyangungu border.

Lowland Gorilla in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Congo Safari Adventures
Juveline Lowland Gorilla in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Photo by Shannon

Lowland Gorillas Diet

Just like other gorillas, eastern lowland gorillas are also vegetarian. They spend most of their day feeding on plants, leaves, stems and tree barks. Eastern lowland gorillas also feed on shoots and often the vegetation in the reach of their arms.

Social Behaviour

They live in groups or families headed by a dominant male known as a silverback. A lowland gorilla family can have 2 to 20 gorillas or more. The dominant Silverback gorillas often determine the daily routine of the gorillas and is also in charge of protecting its family members against any attack.

As the young males (Juveniles) grow, they tend to move away from their original families. They do this to establish themselves and often times try attracting females in their new families.

Lowland gorillas are also very sociable animals and only charge if they detect danger. This is why while on a lowland gorilla trek one is advised to keep 7 meters away from the gorillas. Its intended to avoid confrontation.

Lowland Gorilla Trekking

Kahuzi Biega National park in eastern DRC is the only place where you can see Eastern lowland gorillas. If you are interested in trekking the forests to these rare and endemic apes then a visit to the park is highly recommended.

You will be required to report to the park headquarters for a briefing about the gorilla trek. Later be led to the forest as you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Hike in the forest and once you get to the lowland gorillas stay in their presence for an hour. Here you will get a chance to take photographs and get to know more about the gorillas. After this experience you will be brought back to the park or proceed to your hotel depending on Schedule

The National park can be easily accessed through Rwanda via Cyangugu border. Those in southwestern Rwanda in National Parks like Nyungwe Forest National park can easily add lowland gorilla treks on their primate safari packages.

The dry season from June to August and January to February are the best times of trekking lowland gorillas as there are usually minimal rainfall disturbances. The wet season also a great time to visit through there are high chances of rainfall.

Visit East Africa now and take on your favourite primate trekking safari adventures with us.