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Rwanda: Destination Kivu Belt - a New Hiking Trail Is Set to Boost Cultural Tourism and Inform About Colonial HistoryBy ATTA®
The Institute of National Museums of Rwanda (INMR) in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH carried out a three-day familiarization trip to promote cultural tourism as a lucrative and exciting experience. The trip was conducted under the theme "Discovering the Richard Kandt Trail". The participants of the familiarization trip included local tour operators, media houses, representatives from MINISPOC, the Rwanda Tourism Chamber, INMR and GIZ.
Richard Kandt was the first German colonial resident of Rwanda during the colonial era. The trail leads to different sites that mark important stages of Kandt's life. While it does so, it educates and informs about the time under colonial administration. Hence, Kandt's years spent in Rwanda and his expeditions through East Africa between 1898-1914 are the vehicle to transport an important period of Rwandan history that has inevitably shaped the Rwandan heritage. The trail, for instance, leads the visitors to Kandt's residence in Shangi as well as to the farthest source of the Nile in Nyungwe National Park. It is the INMR's mission to promote and preserve these historical sites. The trip was organized with the intention of rising awareness about this new tourism product. The Richard Kandt Trail can easily be combined with already existing tourism attractions in Rwanda and thus becomes a divers and exciting experience.
On the first day of the Richard Kandt Trail familiarization trip, the group visited the golden monkeys in the Volcanoes National Park that were scientifically named after Richard Kandt (Cercopithecus kandti). The species is listed as endangered on the Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and hence subject to special protection. To visit the rare primates, visitors have to hike about one and half hours. The destination at the foot of the volcanoes allows for spectacular views of the Virunga Mountains. The trail through the neighboring communities also gives a glimpse into the lives of the people living in this part of the country.