October 19

Eco-tourism in Rwanda and Its Impact


October 19, 2021

As a seasoned African traveller, I’ve been fortunate to tick many items off my African travel bucket list.

I’ve had my fair share of magical African moments, from soaring above the Serengeti in a hot air balloon to meeting a leopard’s eyes at Londolozi.

However, despite this, nothing quite prepares you for travelling to Rwanda. There’s something undeniably different about this country, and its commitment to tourism plays a huge role in this experience.

The government has established a keen focus on eco-tourism in Rwanda, and its success is fast establishing a blueprint for other African countries to follow.

Progressing from the Shadows of a Troubled Past

Dancers at Gorillas nest - Rwanda
Rwanda’s people are eager to share their vibrant culture.

In Rwanda, pride seems to emanate from the earth, and they celebrate rich culture in every interaction. Couple this with some of Africa’s warmest hospitality, and it’s difficult not to get caught up in the moment. It can be hard to find the words to describe how Rwanda makes you feel, but once you’ve set foot on her soil, it’s unmistakably there.

When thinking of Rwanda, it’s easy to forget the country’s infamous past even though the turmoil of ethnic genocide is still very apparent. However, as a country, they have marched boldly towards a brighter future.

Building an African Eco-Tourism Blueprint

Rwanda has fast become a leader in sustainable tourism on the African continent. Revolutionary legislation and renewed focus have set a clear path for their future. Rwanda, known as the land of a thousand hills, is among the greenest (both literally and figuratively) countries on earth.

With their initiatives, such as banning plastic bags, animal conservation, and sustainable lodges, Rwanda is changing the face of eco-tourism. The streets of the capital, Kigali, are pristine, a rarity among African cities. There’s an absence of discarded food wrappers or plastic bottles, making it East Africa’s cleanest city by far.

More Than Meets the Eye

Gorillas in Rwanda
The importance of conservation to building a sustainable eco-tourism industry has been a focus of the Rwandan government.

In a similar vein, there has been a growing focus on animal conservation efforts in Rwanda. The resulting resurgence of the gorilla population and the reintroduction of lions and rhinos to Akagera National Park have been products of the focus on tourism.

As tourism begins to boom, the Rwandan government has ensured that eco-tourism is an absolute priority. Luxury lodges and properties have community and conservation initiatives that pledge to safeguard the future of tourism. There is far more to tourism than meets the eye, from reforestation efforts at Bisate Lodge to community initiatives that empower women at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest.

The Impact of Eco-Tourism in Rwanda on Locals

Woman weaving at Gorillas Nest, Rwanda
The tourism industry is actively empowering members of communities by making them key contributors to eco-tourism.

As a nation, they take collective responsibility to ensure every visitor leaves with an incredible experience. Apart from its famous mountain gorillas, Rwanda truly shines in its ability to combine astonishing luxury with warm hospitality. 

There’s no doubt that the renewed focus on tourism has brought a sense of meaning to the Rwandan people. And with their involvement, it’s well on its way to being a truly symbiotic relationship. 

Increased funding raised by a reinvigorated industry contributes to assisting in housing and community upliftment. And, in return, the people of Rwanda work together to ensure this is a destination that truly touches your heart. All in all, it makes for the perfect representation of the Rwandan culture, her community, and her people.

If you’re planning your next African adventure, Rwanda should be at the very top of your list. And, as African Travel Experts, Rhino Africa are here to help bring your next dream African holiday to life.

Contact Rhino Africa today to start planning.

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About the author 

Luke Caldecott

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