Community Tourism in Rwanda
Rwanda has a growing community tourism potential. The touristic potential within Rwandan land and traditions is so evident that they decided to create infrastructures to host tourists and to set up community-led projects to improve their standards of living and preserve the environment through tourism.Village led projects offer services such as accommodation, traditional gastronomy, eco-tourism and cultural activities. A fair-trade logic applies, so tourists are paying a fair price in exchange for high quality and often unique products and services, within a context of transparency and equality. For tourists it is a genuine and rich experience. They get to know the local traditions, get involved in cultural activities and have the opportunity to see unspoilt nature and eco-systems.
More and more travelers want to go beyond the bus window and experience what life is like for the people on the ground. Their community based projects are the ideal vehicle to experience first-hand issues facing rural, impoverished and often neglected Rwanda. Their volunteers live within the community either in home-stays or within a traditional Iby’Iwacu village and volunteer in the community.
Share the most important hallmarks of Africa adventure holidays with our Rwanda adventures that offer the best and most fulfilling way to experience authentic Rwanda in all their inspirational beauty. In tiny, remote villages in the Reconciliation villages of Bugesera district, in the coffee and tea of Rubavu, the ethno botany tours of Musanze or the village walks of Ruhengeri, you are welcomed into communities which benefit directly from your stay, as part of a unique social enterprise, Village Ways, with which we are proud to work.
Not only can you appreciate village life in Rwanda at first hand – taking part in traditional activities if you wish – you can also enjoy plentiful wildlife, beautiful scenery, historic sites and a real sense of adventure, with the reassurance that your holiday arrangements have been taken care of, and expert local guiding along the way. Enjoy a wonderful holiday which also benefits local people, revel in the sense of adventure, become a privileged guest in your hosts’ villages, have variety of tasty, wholesome vegetarian food, sightseeing options with car and driver, discover exotic wildlife and get an opportunity to explore fascinating city too-Kigali.
The people of these out-of-the-way villages in Rwanda have embraced the opportunities offered by Village Ways with real enthusiasm. Having struggled to survive, with their young people heading for the urban areas, they now see a brighter future through harnessing local knowledge, skills and resources for the purposes of tourism. This rehabilitated optimism is reflected in the wholly natural and disarming warmth of the welcome you receive, whereby your hosts, cooks and guides – however much, or little, English they speak – do their absolute utmost to ensure that your stay with them is an enjoyable and fulfilling one. Wherever you go in Rwandan communities, you meet hospitable people eager to hear about your life and family while they proudly show you their local treasures, or tell you their legends over a cup of coffee.
Enjoy generous quantities of tasty, vegetarian dishes which are provided by your hosts-this is food they have cultivated themselves in their own gardens and watching them carefully prepare your dinner is a great experience. This is simple, wholesome food – the kind of meals that the villagers themselves would normally eat, adapted slightly for Western palates. Wonderful insights – and contrasts as well as offering insights into age-old ways of life in rural areas, our holidays, through stays in enthralling city of Kigali reveal different sides of this captivating country, and the various experiences combine to make an unforgettable adventure.
– Get chances to explore coffee growing and production processes in Rubavu right from the nursery beds, coffee plantations, picking coffee, washing, selection, drying, fermenting until you sip your own coffee.
– Visit Musanze in ethno botany tour where traditional healer does everything in the local garden/bushes with visitors-get a comprehensive introduction to the local herbs, learn different medicinal values of different plants that help to cure different witches and poisoning.
– Get introduced to the traditional history, genocide era and referencing today’s life in the model reconciliation village in Bugesera district and engage in different activities ranging from agricultural experiences, interaction with children, learning about the health situations, getting cooking and weaving lessons from locally based women associations in the village and ending up with an exciting event “Get together Party” with all community members in a reconciliation village.
– Understand the unique culture of Rwandese through their daily life and knowledge of the environment, folklores, poetry, dancing, singing, pottery and the theoretical hunt gathering skills in Kinigi Cultural Village tour-Musanze.
– Engage in Banana and Sorghum Beer Production Experience in Musanze and Mutara.
– Visit local markets and get introduced to the traditional dishes in Ruhengeri and Kabarore Village Walks.
– Enjoy Traditional Games, Bee keeping, pottery and wood carving in Ruhengeri.
These local communities are not becoming touristic entrepreneurs. Farmers still want to grow vegetables and breed animals, indigenous peoples still want to live their culture and preserve their traditions. Community tourism is a source of complementary income (on average only 15%) that they use to improve their standard of living and to preserve their culture and eco-systems. For that reason they are guided by a set of ethical principles, among which we find income redistribution, transparency and capacity building. In other words, they are doing the polar opposite of mass tourism.
Many local communities in Rwanda are aware of the power of responsible tourism in supporting conservation and local economic development. Based in areas of outstanding, and often vulnerable, natural and cultural heritage, they take on the challenge of setting up community based tourism enterprises, usually in partnership with local or international NGOs.
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