ARP Travel Group given the honor to name Baby Gorilla “INDONGOZI” which means a “Leader” at Kwita Izina 2015 held at Rwanda on 5th September 2015

ARP Travel Group given the honor to name Baby Gorilla “INDONGOZI” which means a “Leader” at Kwita Izina 2015 held at Rwanda on 5th September 2015

(Pictured) Sanjay Gajjar, Ranger Safaris General Manager representing ARP Travel Group at Kwita Izina ceremony.  One of 24 people only invited to name one of the newly born baby gorillas.  A greater honour for our group

ARP Travel Group was invited and honored to participate in Rwanda’s renowned annual gorilla-naming ceremony, Kwita Izina 2015.  Sanjay Gajjar, Director of Ranger Safaris, Arusha office represented the group at the event.

Like every year this year also hundreds of visitors from overseas and thousands of local residents attended Kwita Izina 2015 to witness, applaud and support Rwanda’s extraordinary conservation efforts. Many tourists from all over the world holidaying in Rwanda were also present as they didn’t miss out the annual occasion that provides unique and utterly breathtaking mountain gorilla experiences. In total 24 baby gorillas were named at the event and the names were chosen to represent the gorillas' importance to the Rwandan people. ARP was honored and privileged to name baby gorilla as ‘Indongozi’ (means leader in Kinyarwanda). Indongozi ’s mother is Isura and it belongs to Isimbi group. Other names included Tabaro (rescue), Umuhoro (gathering), Inkunga (help), Ubwira (courage), Twongere (prosperity) and more named by Dr. Amy Vedder from Yale University, Dr. Allan Karlsson, senior conservation advisor of World Wide Fund for nature and other dignitaries. The names given to the gorillas at the ceremony become their identity and enable monitoring and reporting on each individual gorilla in their families and habitat. Each namer was given baby birth card showing picture of baby gorilla with his/her mother’s name, family name and date of birth. The baby gorillas, of course were not in attendance but each was represented by a photo and celebrated with traditional dances.

Rwandan President His Excellency Paul Kagame was the guest of honor at this colorful event under the theme ‘Conserve for now and the future’. According to the Chief Tourism Officer in the Rwanda Development Board, Ambassador Yamina Karitanyi, the Kwita Izina ceremony merges culture, tourism and conservation. Gorilla permits in Rwanda costs US$750 for foreign tourists but this price has not deterred tourists frequenting Rwanda to see the endangered mountain gorillas. It is said that Africa is at a crossroads, with wildlife populations under increasing threat, and development agendas at times in conflict with nature conservation. Rwanda has made significant progress in aligning an ambitious development agenda to be compatible with nature conservation. Kwita Izina event has been marked on the international conservation calendar as a big day for Rwanda and conservation enthusiasts.

ARP was privileged to participate with His Excellency Paul Kagame at another community ceremeony namely “Umuganda”. This is communal based approach ensuring that Rwanda remains one of the cleanest countries on the continent of Africa. It has been a tradition for Rwanda on the last Saturday of each month, all citizens and residents are required to come together, clean their surroundings and undertake identified projects that benefit their communities. Clean and beautiful streets of Kigali are a true reflection of “Umuganda” success. It is also the secret behind Rwanda’s unity after the genocide and a tool they are using to rebuild Rwanda into a paradise.

Rwanda’s conservation efforts registered 26% growth in population of gorillas in a period of 7 years. Tourism revenue has increased by 25% per annum, which is a significant achievement in a short period of time.  Country’s revenue sharing scheme provides sustainable development across the region to local communities. Rwanda is a role model for conservation and many lessons can be learnt from their forwarding thinking approach.

Rwanda is much more than gorillas and a land of thousand hills. Recently lions were introduced at Akagera National Park from South Africa. A canopy walk at Nyungwe national park is a must experience apart from bird watching, chimpanzee and golden monkey trekking. Though Rwanda’s scars run deep, now it is the time to embrace its new found optimism under the banner of ‘Remarkable Rwanda’.