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.

A Trek With Rwanda Mountain Gorillas; A trip of a lifetime

Every year adventure lovers do a trek with Rwanda mountain gorillas to be part of some of world’s safari adventures. Rwanda is among the only three destinations on the planet where one can trek mountain gorillas.

Mountain gorillas are apes that live in the forested mountains of east and central Africa. They are covered in black fur, vegetarian as their diet comprises of plant vegetation and live in families headed by a dominant male. These primates are pretty outstanding with over 95% DNA similar to humans.

For a mountain gorilla family to be opened for tourists it undergoes a habituation process that makes it accustomed to human beings presence. There are over 10 habituated mountain gorilla families in Rwanda making it one of the best places for gorilla safaris. Below are some of the reasons why a trek with Rwanda mountain gorillas is life changing and a must for nature and adventure tourists.

 Rwanda Mountain gorilla. Gorilla Tours
Mountain Gorilla baby in Volcanoes National Park. Photo by Moses Nezehose
Mountain gorilla family set up

These incredible primates not only have over 95% DNA similar to humans but also have a family set up similar to humans. Each gorilla family is headed by a dominant male called silverback that overseas the routine its family members.

A typical gorilla family has females, young or infant gorillas and juvenile gorillas that eventually grow to silverbacks, black backs or adult females. Being in the presence of these gorillas makes one feel like they seeing a distant family members. It’s a very amazing experience and highly recommended.

Ensure to have a trek with Rwanda mountain gorillas to get to a chance to experience how great apes live and bond in the wild.

Vegetation

Much as mountain gorillas live in forested mountains, in Rwanda much of volcanoes national park is covered with a light bamboo forest. This makes it easy for tourists to easily spot the mountains gorillas while on gorilla treks.

The parks vegetation can easily be navigated through also making photography very easy. Wildlife photography is very essential while on safari as you capture memories of a lifetime. For best mountain gorilla photography, a trek in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park is highly recommended.

Diverse wildlife species

A trek with Rwanda mountain gorillas gives you a chance to see a variety of other wildlife species in park. These range from birds, plant vegetation, reptiles among others. The gorilla park is home to the endangered forest elephants and Buffaloes though rarely seen.

There are also golden monkeys in Volcanoes that can supplement the gorilla tours. Golden monkey treks are very much exciting as well giving you a chance to meet another rare primate species. For an awesome wildlife and primate experience ensure to have a trek with mountain gorillas.

Major park activities start in the morning and here you can track mountain gorillas more than once to have an experience of different families.

Gorilla population

Volcanoes national park has half of the mountain gorilla population in the VIrunga massif. The VIrunga massif if a range of dormant and extinct volcanic mountains along the Rwandan, Ugandan and DRC border. It’s in these forested mountains where mountain gorillas live.

With a trek with Rwanda mountain gorillas, you are guaranteed of seeing them all thanks to the steadily increasing gorilla population. There are twelve habituated mountain gorilla families in this beautiful park that are open to tourists. Some families have adorable baby gorillas that make the whole gorilla trek experiences remarkable as they play around or stay at the safety of their mothers hands for comfort.

Every year in the famous Kwiti Izina Ceremony newly born babies are named and officially welcomed by wildlife and primate enthusiast. We hope the gorilla population will keep increasing all thanks to the great conservation efforts that has been put In over the years.

Parks accessibility

Rwanda’s mountain gorilla park is the most and easily accessed of all the gorillas parks. It’s situated just a 3 hours drive from Rwanda’s capital city Kigali. There are also flights operated by Akagera aviation giving a provisos of flying directly to the park.

With this you get enough time not only for treks with Rwanda mountain gorillas but also explore other attractions in the area. There are great and easily accessed facilities like hotels and safari lodges for those who prefer to spend a night or more in the park.

For those with limited time in Rwanda but would still want to be part of the gorilla treks, you can do a 1 day gorilla tour with a 4:30 am pick up from Kigali. All these factors make a trek with Rwanda mountain gorillas an experience anyone must never miss while in a visit Rwanda expedition.