SPECIAL FEATURE | THE INDEPENDENT | The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting is the biggest postcolonial international conference that gathers all the former British colonial territories. A total of 53 countries gather together every two years in one of the commonwealth countries to discuss ways on how to further democracy, peace and prosperity in the commonwealth countries.
For the last fifty years, the conference has so far been held twenty five times. Of these 25 times, Africa has had the privilege of hosting five conferences in a span of 45 years. The first CHOGM in Africa was held in Zambia during the reign of Kenneth Kaunda, followed by Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria and Uganda respectively.
Rwanda was to hold the sixth Commonwealth heads of government meeting on the African continent in 2020. Unfortunately the covid-19 forced the event to be postponed to 2022. Like the 2020 UEFA Euros and Olympics, the events could not happen during a time when countries were witnessing some of the worst pandemic ever in world history.
On 22th June 2022, Rwanda will become the sixth African country to host the commonwealth heads of government meeting fifteen years since it was last hosted on the Africa continent.
In 2007, Uganda had the privilege of hosting this international conference. Though Uganda invested massively in infrastructure development in preparation for the conference; they never envisaged the impact the conference would have had on the Tourism industry and for that matter, limited efforts were put in linking CHOGM to what the pearl of Africa had to offer in terms of tourism.
Rwanda is Well Positioned to Exploit CHOGM Tourism
From the ruins of the genocide; Paul Kagame the current present of Rwanda has been able to build Rwanda from the genocide ashes to an African fortune. Through his leadership; Rwanda has become one of the safest and cleanest countries on the African continent.
The 2020 Covid-19 setback that saw the conference postponed to 2022 seems to have already come to its eve. This can partly be attributed to the mass vaccination not only in Rwanda but in most of the commonwealth countries including Rwanda’s neighbors.
Rwanda has massively invested in informing the whole world that it exists. It is not a simple matter to ensure that whenever people think of an African country, they think of you and for the good reasons. Through the Rwanda Development Board; there are number of success stories to tell about Rwanda when you decide to visit the mountain gorillas on Rwanda Gorilla Trek.
Among the success stories that are retold over and over again about Rwanda is its tourism industry with a tagline #VisitRwanda. Anyone that is a fan of football has probably seen Lionel Messi of PSG or Bukayo Saka of Arsenal wearing a Jersey with a phrase; visit Rwanda.
Now that the commonwealth heads of government meeting has drawn closer; what are some of the must visits in Rwanda for the different country delegates?
Rwanda Must Visits 2022
Anyone on a work holiday often has limited leisure time at their disposal. For that matter, they will most likely go for one or two tourism activities. Therefore we shall not bore you with a very long list of the things to do in Rwanda. Here are the best three activities to do in Rwanda.
Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park
The huge investment in marketing Rwanda’s Primates has also brought forth the most expensive gorilla trekking permit in the history of gorilla trekking. In Rwanda, a gorilla trekking permit goes for $1500 per foreign nonresident. At the moment, there is no special package for commonwealth countries.
But assuming you are considering parting with $1500; is gorilla trekking in Rwanda worth the money? The short answer is yes. Mountain gorilla trekking can only be done in Uganda, Rwanda and democratic Republic of Congo. If you compare the cleanliness, the security and hotel ambiance; Rwanda offers the best gorilla trekking experience for anyone fitting the class of a country delegate.
Considering classy lodges such as Virunga lodge, Bisate Lodge, Five Volcanoes among others; you cannot worry about service quality. You simply have to sit back and enjoy the unfolding of a lifetime safari experience.
Kigali Genocide Memorial
The structure of present Rwanda has been built from a continuous reminder of the ashes, the blood and the skulls of the genocide. You cannot talk of Rwanda today without acknowledging the damage that is still hidden deep in the hearts of Rwandese due to the genocide.
Kigali Genocide memorial is one of the best places for any leader to visit. Anyone towing the line of tribalism or racism can clearly see from the museum that there is no winner in a genocide. It is a place where you join millions to mourn yet at the same time checking your heart of any motives that can possibility bring about the same in your country.
Nyungwe Forest National Park
Wild primates are some of the animals that so interesting to see. Part of the reason is the fact that they share a very close DNA to that of human beings. Among the many primates you find in Rwanda besides the mountain gorillas are the chimpanzees hence the recommendation for Primate Safari in Rwanda to be done with local Companies that have expertise in Primate Safaris.
Rwanda has some of the cheapest chimpanzee tracking permits in East Africa. A canopy walk coupled with a chimpanzee tracking experience remains one of the top must do activities in Rwanda.
Chimpanzees have a 98.7% human DNA. You can always learn a thing or two about yourself when you visit the chimpanzee in Nyungwe forest national park. The transfer from Kigali to Nyungwe forest national park is also remarkable given the fact that Rwanda is a country of a thousand hills.
The Landscapes on your transfer to Nyungwe forest national park are part of the memorable experience hidden in a thousand hills of East Africa.
There is more to see and do in Rwanda, but with the above three activities, you can always have a common conservation ground with most of the former visitors of Rwanda. Gorilla trekking and the visit to the Kigali genocide memorial museum remain top of Rwanda’s bucket list activities.