Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Celebrating gorillas at “the very best Kwita Izina ever!” – Diary of a Muzungu


Gorilla monitoring is alleged to be a “as soon as in a lifetime” expertise but I like this primate encounter extra every time 💗

Silverback mountain gorilla Titus family Rwanda
Oblivious to our presence, the Silverback mountain gorilla takes a nap…
Silverback mountain gorilla Titus family Rwanda
Do you know… in the event you observe the mountain gorillas across the time of Kwita Izina, you will get a private invitation to attend the gorilla naming ceremony?

Final week’s mountain gorilla monitoring was much more exhilarating than the final time – however I’ll go away that story for one more day. For now, think about the calm right here in Volcanoes Nationwide Park as a ranger information watches a Blackback* male mountain gorilla …

Volcanoes National Park ranger guide watches male mountain gorilla

*A Blackback will sooner or later mature to be a Silverback gorilla.

I’ve large respect for the rangers, guides and researchers on the bottom who shield these beguiling creatures (and the porters clad in overalls and gum boots who effortlessly assist us observe).

In the course of the first week of September yearly, celebrities from all over the world contact down in Kinigi, Volcanoes Nationwide Park, to call the child gorillas born within the final 12 months in Rwanda. There’s nothing like this anyplace else.

From early morning, 1000’s of younger Rwandese throng to the occasion web site. They wait excitedly for his or her favorite musicians to carry out for them stay, freed from cost. It’s mentioned 60,000 folks attended Kwita Izina 2018!

Kwita Izina dancers Kinigi
Dancers heat up the gang at Kwita Izina. Behind them is the gorilla-shaped stage crafted from pure supplies

The Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony is a chance to publicly thank the conservationists closest to defending these nice apes. It’s additionally a world showcase for the nation’s tourism trade. Gorilla namers embody Rwandan and worldwide conservationists, sports activities personalities, renown philanthropists and diplomats. Learn my weblog from a earlier Kwita Izina, wherein I clarify the derivation of the time period and the historical past of its creation.

Based on East African tourism knowledgeable Carmen Nibigira, this 12 months’s occasion was “the very best occasion ever!”

Why is Kwita Izina such an necessary occasion for Rwanda and Africa?

Due to conservation initiatives like Kwita Izina, the Mountain Gorilla inhabitants within the Virunga Massif has elevated from 480 in 2010 to to 604 in 2016 (outcomes of final census). The Virunga Massif covers Volcanoes Nationwide Park in Rwanda, Mgahinga Gorilla Nationwide Park in Uganda, and the Mikeno Sector of Virunga Nationwide Park within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 1981, Mountain Gorilla numbers had dropped to only 242 people, in line with the Rwanda Growth Board. (Outcomes of the newest gorilla census are anticipated to point out an additional enhance in gorilla numbers. Nevertheless the species continues to be classed as Endangered on the IUCN Purple Checklist).

Now in its 14th 12 months, Kwita Izina has gone from being a sooner or later gorilla naming occasion to an entire week of conservation and tourism associated occasions. Tourism generally is a highly effective software for lifting folks out of poverty and Rwanda is pushing it at each degree. One of many week’s occasions is the two-day Dialog on Conservation (CoC) discussion board in Kigali which takes a strategic take a look at conservation within the nation.

What had been the highlights of Kwita Izina 2018?

My 11 hour bus journey from Kampala to Kigali was value each minute. Listed here are a couple of of the wonderful folks I met in Rwanda.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony Rwanda
I couldn’t resist saying good day to fellow Brit Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, certainly one of 23 superstar namers on the Kwita Izina gorilla naming ceremony. I’ve at all times been a fan of his TV reveals and environmental campaigns
Prosper Uwingeli, Volcanoes National Park 2018 Rwanda
Prosper Uwingeli is the Chief Park Warden of Volcanoes Nationwide Park in Rwanda. Right here I’m proudly holding my field of Rwandese tea 🙂

Prosper was very useful once I was researching and writing the ecotourism information“Strolling with the Gorillas” printed by Horizon Guides.

Walking with gorillas 2019. Horizon Guides
“Strolling with Gorillas.”  Contributors: Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikuosoka, Ian Redmond OBE and Emmanuel Bugingo

Do you know … trackers at the moment are given lovely presentation bins of tea or espresso – Rwandese in fact! (These exchange the certificates we was given). Gorilla monitoring in Rwanda now prices a whopping $1500 per allow as Rwanda pitches the nation as a high-end tourism vacation spot.

Theo Kgosinkwe Kwita Izina 2018 Rwanda
The South African duo Mafikozolo carried out stay on the Gala Dinner held on the Lake Kivu Serena Resort in Gisenyi. Theo Kgosinkwe was one of many gorilla namers. (Due to Priya and Mallick of Purple Scarab for letting me photobomb their second with him!)
Carmen Nibigira, Susan Muumbi, Charlotte Beauvoisin, Kigali Serena Hotel Kwita Izina 2018
It’s at all times a pleasure to see the tourism dynamo Carmen Nibigira (center). Susan Muumbi (left) from the East African newspaper has been a beautiful journey companion from one nook of Rwanda to the opposite! Photograph taken at Kigali Serena Resort

Susan and I watched three lions in Akagera Nationwide Park, ate Sambaza fish on Lake Kivu, survived the jaw-dropping cover walkway in Nyungwe Forest, and loved an exhilarating gorilla monitoring expertise with the Titus gorilla household.

Carmen Nibigira, Green Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Nuaimi, Dr. Edwin Sabuhoro
I had the honour of assembly His Highness ‘The Inexperienced Sheikh’ Abdul Aziz al Nuaimi (centre). To the fitting is Dr. Edwin Sabuhoro of the Parks, Recreations and Tourism Administration. Thanks for the introduction Carmen Nibigira!
Kwita Izina 2018 gorilla namers. Belise Karisa, Rwanda Development Board
The 2018 gorilla namers with Belise Karisa, Chief Tourism Officer of Rwanda Growth Board
gorilla Baby Name Cards Kwita Izina 2018
As every namer takes the stage, they learn out the gorilla child names in Kinyarwanda and English. It’s enjoyable to try to report the names on these Child Title Playing cards

Anybody can get a flavour of Kwita Izina by visiting – one click on and you might be just about there!

Right here’s a full record of 2018’s gorilla namers. Data courtesy of RDB.

  • – His Highness Sheikh Dr. Abdulaziz Ali Bin Rashid Al Nuami, the ‘Inexperienced Sheikh’, has devoted his life to touring and environmental stewardship.
  • – Dr. Noeline Raondry Rakotoarisa is the Program Chief of Capability Constructing and Partnerships Part for UNESCO/MAB (Man and Biosphere).
  • – Madame Graca Machel is the previous First Woman of South Africa and Mozambique. She is a world advocate for ladies’s and youngsters’s rights.
  • – Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam is an American singer, songwriter, businessman, report producer and actor of Senegalese descent.
  • – Samba Bathily is a Malian philanthropist, He’s CEO of Solektra Worldwide and co-founder of Akon Lighting Africa with Akon and Thione Niang.
  • – Alexandra Virina Scott is a retired English footballer who performed as a right-back for Arsenal Ladies. She made 140 appearances for the English nationwide staff and represented Nice Britain on the 2012 London Olympics.
Arsenal players club shirt VisitRwanda. Photo. Arsenal FC
Arsenal Soccer Membership’s gamers will sport the VisitRwanda shirt sleeve ranging from the 2018/19 season for 3 years. {Photograph}: Arsenal FC

– Laureano Bisan Etamé-Mayer, generally generally known as Lauren, is a retired Cameroonian footballer, who performed for the Cameroonian nationwide staff and Arsenal FC.

  • – Try Masiyiwa is a Zimbabwean businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He’s the founder and government chairman of telecommunications, media and expertise group Econet Wi-fi and Econet Media. Click on right here to learn his nice Fb replace about his expertise at Kwita Izina.
  • – Adrian Gardiner. South African Adrian Gardiner is the founder and chairman of Mantis, a family-run assortment of privately-owned resorts, eco escapes and way of life resorts, with a big presence in Africa.
  • – Michael O’Brien-Onyeka is the Senior Vice President of Conservation Worldwide for Africa, a non-governmental conservation and sustainable growth group.
  • – Thomas Krulis is the Coordinator of Younger Presidents’ Group (YPO) and CEO, Loto Investments.
  • – Hong Liang & Xinyu Zhang. The superstar couple host the favored on-line journey programme ‘Lu Xing’ (On the Highway).
  • – Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall is the Vice President, Flora & Fauna Worldwide UK. He’s an English superstar chef, tv persona, journalist, meals author and campaigner on meals and environmental points.
  • – Peter Riedel is the President and COO of Rhode Schwarz Worldwide, an electronics group specialised within the fields of digital check gear, broadcast & media in addition to cybersecurity.
  • – Alexa Grey represents the Gordon and Patricia Grey Animal Welfare Basis (a supporter / donor for the VNP Growth Program via the Africa Wildlife Basis).
  • – Michael Wale is the Group CEO of Kerzner Worldwide, an organization that develops and manages luxurious resorts, residences and leisure resorts.
  • – Ambassador Peter H. Vrooman, US ambassador to Rwanda.
  • – Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria. (What a beautiful speech!)
  • – Theo Kgosinkwe and Nhlanhla Nciza. The duo, generally known as Mafikizolo, are three-time winners of the South African Music Award for Group or Duo of the Yr.
  • – Rao Hongwei is the ambassador of the Folks’s Republic of China.
  • – Odette Nyiramongi is the proprietor of Paradis Malahide Resort, an eco-friendly lodge in Rubavu.
  • – Judith Kakuze, a former porter on the Volcanoes Nationwide Park, is now on the Advisory Committee of the Volcanoes Nationwide Park Porter Affiliation.
  • – Jeannette Uwiragiye. In 2017, Jeannette graduated as the very best feminine scholar within the Division of Forestry Conservation, IPRC- Kitabi.
  • I at all times come away from Kwita Izina impressed. Rwanda tourism is aware of no bounds.

    A giant shout-out to each one at Rwanda Growth Board for attending to each little element of our excellent tour of what some name the ‘Singapore of Africa.’

    A particular thanks to everybody at Serena Accommodations who hosted us on the Kigali Serena Resort and Lake Kivu Serena. The fabulous services had been an actual deal with.


    … When you find it irresistible … share it! 😉


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