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RWANDA: Another look at tourism

Red Rocks to host Seeds of Hope Festival

By Joseph Ondiek

Rwanda is famous for its compelling tourist attraction, the most conspicuous one being gorilla trekking.

And Musanze district in the Northern Province; the most mountainous district comprising the largest part of the Volcanoes National Park, is home of most of Rwanda’s famed endangered mountain gorillas which make it the most popular tourist destination in the country.

But Musanze also boasts many other amazing attractive sites and activities that are unfortunately not as well known on the usual tourist circuit.

Now an equally little known tourist campsite called Red Rocks Rwanda is determined to change that.

Located in in Nyakinama village, six kilometers outside Musanze town, Red Rocks Rwanda campsite is promoting community tourism, a concept not yet fully developed and exploited in Rwanda as it possibly is in other places.

According to Greg Bakunzi, the founder of Red Rocks Rwanda who is also the managing director of the more known Amahoro Tours says the idea is to enable tourists and locals alike to experience authentic Rwandan traditional culture, sightseeing, and sense of community.

Bakunzi’s initiative is a result of asking what else, apart from visiting to see the gorillas, can tourists enjoy in Musanze before heading back to their home country or town. What other initiatives could tour operators put in place to ensure that the tourists stay longer?

What about other visitors to whom the gorilla tracking permit is beyond their reach financially?

For years now, many tour operators have been pondering over these questions, and the results now is the creation of innovative diversification of tourism landscape.

Such initiatives and slogans like ‘community-based tourism’, ‘cultural tourism,’ ‘eco-tourism’ and ‘pro-people tourism’ have since steadily taken root.

According to Bakunzi, these alternative tour packages are the very foundations of the emergence of Red Rocks Rwanda.

Already Red Rocks Rwanda has scored some success. Between Feb. 17 and 19, it held a cultural event called `Cultural Talent Show’ whose bid was to raise awareness of the country’s hidden cultural treasures that will be manifest through art forms like music, dance, and traditional poetry.

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