A multi-sectoral Ghanaian delegation of high level officials and friends of Rwanda are in Rwanda to explore business opportunities, especially in tourism and related businesses.
For seven days, the delegation, comprising leaders in tourism, investment, export and trade from the public and the private sector will tour Rwanda, a country referred to as the land of 1,000 hills with warm people, to explore and discuss potential areas of strategic partnership.
The delegation, numbering about 30, has already met with Ghana’s Honorary Consul in Rwanda, Mr Dennis Karera, and the tourism sector of that country where they held cross-cutting discussions on how to forge a healthy partnership going forward.
The group last Tuesday (March 16) embarked on the priced Rwandan tourist activity, the Gorilla Trekking, at the Volcanoes National Park at Kinigi, a sprawling town in the Musanze Province.
The population of the rare endangered mountain gorillas, which nearly went extent due to poaching and adverse climatic conditions, has grown over the last 10 years from less than 700 across the world to 1,400.
Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forest of central Sub-Saharan Africa. The gorilla is divided into two species: the eastern gorillas and the western gorillas (both critically endangered), and either four or five subspecies.
Rwanda, working closely with its neighbours, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda, has developed three national ecotourism conservation parks, to husband the then critically endangered species to grow their population and open the parks for tourists.
It takes a winding, tortuous walk of between 30 and two hours, depending on the track (rout) one follows, to find the friendly gorillas, the largest living primates, in their natural habitat, at the peaks of the range of mountains in the well managed national park.
The Volcanoes National Park is also home to buffaloes, elephants, monkeys, other primates and preserves the evergreen rainy forest of bamboo, open grassland, swamp, heath and the stinging nettles, a plant that leaves the body with a quick flash of burning sensation on contact.
In groups of six, led by escorts, the tourists walked kilometres through narrow, steep and muddy tracks nestled along a canopy of trees, shrubs and climbing plants, to meet rangers, a team of weapon-wielding men, who have already found a gorilla family.
This assures the trekking team of a spectacle to satisfy their curiosity and justify the pulsating long walk.
Each of the teams satisfied their curiosities, with amazing sights of the huge silverback mountain gorillas and their families with playful young ones, on the mountains towering more than 3,000 feet above sea level.
Some Ghanaian business delegation
Members of the delegation were as excited at the end of the adventure as they were at the beginning.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Mr Samuel Dentu, said it was an experience of a life-time, worth undertaking.
The President of the Ghana Tourism Federation, Ms Bella Ahu, said it was a great adventure and was glad to be part of the unforgettable experience.
Ms Amma Tiwaa Pepra of the Chefs Association of Ghana, could not hide her excitement at the adventure, the healthy walk and the sight of the large living primates, a venture she would not like to miss at the least opportunity.
Rich tourism potential
Rwanda is a rare example of how luxury eco-tourism and a focus on visitor safety at all times is driving the country’s travel industry to great heights.
The High Commissioner of Rwanda in Ghana, Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, said the trip of the Ghanaian delegation was more than just a touristic visit.
“It is about creating relationships and partnerships in the face of boasting intra-Africa tourism and trade,” she added.
She explained to do business together better, it was important that African knew themselves and hence the visit, which would be followed by a reciprocal visit to Ghana by a team from Rwanda.
The visit by the Ghanaian delegation to Rwanda is reflective of the desires of many to discover and explore new places about which they have heard so much.
Rwanda with its magnificent landscapes, wilderness, precious wildlife, rich traditions and an inspiring story of total turnaround is one such place that many Africans wish to experience.
After Gorilla trekking, the delegation has checked into the waterfront hotel, Lake Kivu Serena, in the riverine town of Rubavu on the border with DRC, where they will soak in the serenity of Lake Kivu, the sixth largest in Africa, where kayaking and other water sports are the main activities for the tourist.
The team will also be in the Akagera National Park for an encounter the big five – the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo.
They will also have game viewing of zebras, giraffes, baboons, antelopes and incredible number of bird species.
A boat trip on Lake Ihema is also a highlight of any visit to Akagera, with its large pods of hippos, Nile crocodiles and abundant water birds on the island in the middle of the lake.
Amidst the sightseeing lies be opportunity for the visitors to meet potential business partners and explore investment opportunities.