Rwanda Positions Itself as High End Tourism Destination

After the increment of gorilla permits from $750 to $1500 (in May 2017), there was fear that it would discourage intending trackers from making gorilla trekking safaris in the country. Of course the news of increasing gorilla permits was received with mixed reactions (with some saying it was a good thing for the country while others saying otherwise).

However, you will be surprised that it didn’t greatly affect the country’s gorilla tourism and interestingly, you will be surprised that several hospitality establishments started embracing the high-end tourism strategy (that involves consolidating its high value and low volume).

Tour operators now concur that from the time Rwanda Development Board (RDB) increased the price of gorilla permits, more tourists are appreciating and also embracing the tourism strategy since is was mainly done for sustainability of tourist attritions through stringent Conservation measures. International tourists now understand that the increment was done for a good cause-conservation of the critically endangered mountain gorillas and benefiting local communities surrounding the National Parks especially the Volcanoes National Park.

Not only that, there has been an increase in Up-market Safari Lodges and Hotels within Musanze district and the neighboring areas as a way of embracing Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy. For instance, the luxurious Bisate Lodge (locally translated as “pieces) was launched/inaugurated on the 1st September 2017 by the President of Rwanda-His Excellency Paul Kagame before officiating the Kwita Izina (Gorilla naming) Ceremony on the same day. This Lodge’s exceptional architectural and beautiful Interior design was derived from Rwandan building tradition of the Nyanza Royal Palace. This Lodge is sprawled on 30 hectares of former farmlands and boasts of 6 villas and 12 exquisite rooms, 6 of which are twin-bedded.

This Lodge is joined by the new luxurious Amakoro Songa Kinigi Lodge situated within Kinigi overlooking the magnificent Sabinyo Volcanoes and is an extension of Songa Africa. This facility is was built with modern energy efficient technology and is managed in the most sustainable ways while taking care of needs of the local community members as well as conservation of nature.

All these new Lodges and others being planned will join the already operating luxury Safari Lodges and Hotels within and around Volcanoes National Park such as Jack and Hannah Cottages, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique Hotel, Le Bambou Gorilla village and La Palme hotel as a way of embracing Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy. If you are looking for unmatched luxury accommodation, then you should be able to part with a minimum of $1000 per night.

During the grand opening of Singita Kwitonda Lodge, the Managing Director, Graham Lodger pointed that the construction is projected to cost about $16 million and will be open for tourist visitation in August 2019. It will be set up along the popular Kwitonda trail with at least 8 villas as well as 12 luxury rooms and is expected to employ at least 70 people especially the locals.

According to Justins Stevens the General Manager of One&Only Resorts in Rwanda, there was a nature Resort launched in October 2017 within Nyungwe Forest National Park and another, also under the One&Only Property called Gorilla Nest is going to be put up within Volcanoes National Park.

Initially when gorilla permits were increased from $750 to $1500 per person on the 6th May 2017, there were fears of tourists shunning Rwanda but according to statistics by Belise Kariza, the Chief Tourism Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), there has been an increase of 39% in gorilla revenues between May and July compared to the same time last year (2016) when permits were still at $750. This shows a positive response by tourists and service providers to Rwanda’s high-end tourism strategy.

List of African Qualifiers for 2018 FIFA World Cup

Tunisia

Here is the list of five African countries that qualified for the 2018 World Cup championship. The list is now full after two other northern African countries snatched a ticket today.

Morocco and Tunisia took the official ticket today after getting high scores and will represent African in the finals of the world’s most popular tournament.
Tunisia needed only one point to go to the tournament and succeeded in getting a point from the goalless draw against Libya’s national team.

Tunisia’s finished on the top of Group with 14-points. Morocco for their part did the unthinkable after defeating Ivory Coast at their defeating Ivory Coast in Abidjan. The visitors defeated Ivory Coast to top the Group C with a two goals win at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan. The first goal was scored by Nabir Dirar in the 25th minute to give Tunisia an early lead. Mehdi Benatia scored the second goal to assure him team of the presentation at 2018 Russia World Cup.

Therefore the 5 countries that will represent Africa at the 2018 World Cup are;

  • Egypt
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Tunisia
  • Morocco.

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Somalia’s Al-Shabab Claims Baidoa Attack Killing 30

Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it carried out Sunday’s attack in Somalia’s southern city of Baidoa that killed at least 30 people.

A car bomb exploded outside a restaurant as people were watching the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal.

In a second explosion, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a busy junction.

This is the fourth major al-Shabab attack in Somalia since the beginning of the year.

It came on the same day as countries which contribute to the African Union force in Somalia, Amisom, pledged “to reinforce military operations in Somalia, to effectively counter threats from al-Shabab”.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud held an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday evening in response to the Baidoa attack, and Security Minister Abdirizak Mohamed Omar called for extra laws to help the government fight the militant group.

AU representative in Somalia Francisco Madeira condemned the attack saying he was “saddened by the loss of innocent lives through acts of terror committed by ruthless individuals who have no value for life”.

In addition to the 30 deaths, the attacks injured 60 people who are being treated in hospital, a local journalist told the BBC.

15 January – on a Kenyan base in el-Ade that Somalia’s president said killed at least 180 soldiers

21 January – on a restaurant at Mogadishu’s Lido beach killing 20 people

26 February – on Mogadishu’s SYL hotel killing nine people

28 February – on a restaurant and busy junction in Baidoa killing at least 30 people

Baidoa is being protected by Ethiopian soldiers, who make up part of the 22,000-strong Amisom force.

Troops from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Sierra Leone and Djibouti are also part of the force that supports the Somali government in its attempt to gain control over the country.

Heads of state from the troop supplying countries said after a meeting in Djibouti on Sunday that they were concerned about the “decision by the European Union to reduce financial support to Amisom… by 20% especially during this critical phase of operations”.

The EU, which pays for troop allowances, decided to cut its funding earlier this month.

The leaders of the countries contributing troops to Amisom have called for an urgent review of their military response to al-Shabab, following weeks of sustained violence.

In addition to the weekend’s attacks, jihadi fighters have clashed with Amisom troops in different parts of the country, forcing the peacekeepers to withdraw from some areas.

Somalia’s allies now say more needs to be done to stem these attacks.

The Amisom nations agreed at Sunday’s meeting in Djibouti that they need more funding and logistical support for their own operations, not to mention helping the Somali National Army stand on its own feet.

The leaders complained that the absence of their troops in some key regions provided a safe haven for al-Shabab.