An exciting new opportunity for Rwandan tourism
By: Kingfisher Journeys Ltd.
With no hippos or crocodiles and crystal clear, clean water, Lake Kivu is one of the safest lakes in Africa. Using modern and very stable sea kayaks that are designed for touring along the coast, Kingfisher Journeys has started operating one and two-day small group, guided tours from both Rubavu (Gisenyi) and Karongi (Kibuye) as well as a four-day journey between these lakeshore towns. Furthermore, with expert instruction, this new activity is open to people of all abilities.
Led by an experienced British Canoe Union (BCU) 5-Star Sea Kayaking Leader and instructor, Kingfisher Journeys is taking people into a beautiful and yet hardly explored corner of the country. Set against the lush, verdant hills for which Rwanda is famous, residents and visitors alike are appreciating the azure waters, vibrant fishing communities and wide horizons of Lake Kivu in a new way.
Near to Rubavu (Gisenyi), coffee connoisseurs can see how coffee is grown and made into a delicious cup of famous Rwandan coffee. And not far from Karongi (Kibuye) is Rwanda’s own ‘Bay of Islands’ where many uninhabited islands are covered with precious natural ecosystems that teem with at least sixty species of birds and even a remarkable colony of bats. Without the use of a motor, making the journey quietly along the coast that is the really special part of ‘sea’ kayaking on Lake Kivu.
The potential for water sports in Rwanda has been long recognised. However Kingfisher Journeys is the first company to be established by a qualified and experienced instructor who has the skill to professionally develop kayaking to internationally recognised standards. With Rwandan guides who are being trained according to the BCU syllabus, this commitment to quality and especially safety is designed to ensure that every client simply has a superb experience.
Kingfisher Journeys has already created something very different in Rwanda and almost unique in all of Africa. However, it is also has plans for the future that include: Operating along Lake Kivu as far as Cyangugu; canoeing on the Upper Nyabarongo River; Kayaking on the Twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo that are set in the shadow of Rwanda’s gorilla volcanoes; and short journeys on Lake Muhazi near Kigali.
One of the key findings from the Sustainable Tourism Development Master Plan For Rwanda is that a diversification of tourism activities is urgently needed. Thus, crucially for the success of Rwandan tourism, Kingfisher Journeys is poised to help create many new reasons for people to visit Rwanda that will also mean that many people will also stay longer. The company therefore welcomes enquiries from tour operators and hotels that would like to become partners as the scale of its operations increases.
Perhaps one day, Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills will be as well known for canoeing and kayaking on its many rivers and lakes as it is today for its amazing gorillas and friendly people.
Steve Venton, Director, Kingfisher Journeys Ltd.