How to Visit Rwanda in a Sustainable Way
Travelling to Rwanda offers a fantastic opportunity to discover nature and get close to incredible wildlife, including the fascinating mountain gorillas. However, there is more to travel than meets the eye. With travel comes the responsibility to preserve and protect nature and wildlife so we can continue to enjoy them for many generations. Given the number of threats the environment faces today, it’s worth knowing how to minimise your impact and contribute positively. So, here’s how to visit Rwanda sustainably.
5 Tips to Visit Rwanda in a Sustainable Way
1. Get Involved in Climate Change by Planting Trees
One of the many ways the government of Rwanda is preserving the environment is through tree planting. The government has poured money into reforestation through the annual forest planting season. They involve locals in tree planting projects and teach them how to conserve and maintain trees to fight climate change. In addition, they use seed bags made from banana bark, a biodegradable alternative to plastic bags.
As one of the leading African countries committed to fighting climate change, Rwanda’s reforestation projects can help put the country on track to reach its target of cutting 38% of carbon emissions by 2030. Several environmental campaigns worldwide have reforestation at their core since it’s one of the most effective ways to protect biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions. Trees capture carbon dioxide naturally and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the air, making them one of the world’s most valuable resources in fighting against climate change.
As a visitor to Rwanda, you can help preserve the environment by joining the country’s reforestation project. Aside from contributing to the environment, it’s a perfect opportunity to explore the outdoors, meet locals, and learn about the community. You will also have the chance to encounter fascinating wildlife like mountain gorillas and experience stunning natural wonders such as Lake Kivu and the surrounding volcanoes.
2. Stay in Sustainable Accommodation
Choosing where you stay on your holiday to Rwanda will significantly affect the local communities and the environment. Just think of the energy used when you switch on the air conditioning in your hotel room or the waste produced when using shampoo and toiletries. Therefore, choosing sustainable or eco-friendly accommodation can be one of the most important things to consider when planning a trip to Rwanda.
Choose environmentally friendly accommodation, such as Bisate Lodge, an eco-resort surrounded by majestic volcanoes that benefits both the environment and the local people. Committed to conserving the Rwandan jungles, Bisate Lodge is near the Volcano National Park and is the perfect base for your gorilla trekking adventure in Rwanda.
The lodge’s architecture pays homage to the local communities and the surrounding environment. Its grassy interiors are a nod to Rwanda’s heritage of architecture in the surrounding communities, while the pointed roofs allude to the majestic hills surrounding Rwanda’s landscape.
Sustainability is the cornerstone of Bisate Lodge, making it a perfect choice for visitors who want to visit Rwanda sustainably. Aside from being plastic-free, the lodge has vegetable gardens that they use for produce.
3. Try Sustainable Tours in Rwanda
Another way to embrace sustainability when travelling to Rwanda is to try sustainable tours. These tours apply sustainable practises and help spread awareness of the tourism industry’s positive and negative impacts. More importantly, they are committed to minimising the negative impacts of tourism on Rwanda, including economic leakage, damage to natural resources, and overcrowding.
Going on gorilla tours in Rwanda is a well-liked and environmentally friendly choice that gives you a unique chance to see and interact with the critically endangered mountain gorillas in their natural environment. It takes place in Volcanoes National Park, home to ten gorilla families. When you join these tours, you contribute towards their sustainability since the money you pay will go towards their conservation, including paying for the doctors who treat them.
So far, the local government’s conservation efforts for the mountain gorillas have been successful. There are now over a thousand mountain gorillas in the wild, a four-fold increase from their mid-20th century numbers. Thanks to these conservation efforts, gorilla numbers in Rwanda are continuously on the rise.
By booking gorilla trekking tours, you contribute to job creation in the community. Thanks to Rwanda’s thriving tourism industry, many lodges have opened near the parks to accommodate those going for treks, helping to uplift the local community.
4. Get Involved in the Agriculture
Getting involved in Rwanda’s agricultural programs is another sustainable way to travel to the country. For instance, you can sign up with a local charity that supports participating families through intensive farming programs. These charities support families affected by the country’s troubled history and economic fallout. They focus on growing different agricultural products, such as maize, carrots, and cabbages, which they sell in local markets.
You can get involved in the local agricultural industry in Rwanda in many ways. You can be a volunteer labourer to support local families growing crops. Aside from helping families earn an income, you also contribute to food security in the local community, which also helps improve the health and nutrition of the locals.
Some charities aim to empower local women to make a living through agriculture. One way you can help is by teaching economic and trading skills to these women, which essentially empowers them. These charities connect women to local markets, helping them become business leaders and creating more jobs for the community.
5. Immerse yourself in the Culture
Immersing in the local culture of Rwanda is another way to travel sustainably. It allows you to gain a new perspective on life and a deeper appreciation of cultural diversity. Moreover, cultural tourism is a more meaningful way to connect with the local community while creating lasting travel memories.
Joining tours that take you to the local villages and markets of Rwanda is an example of cultural tourism, where visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture and heritage. It’s also a fascinating way to get to know the country even more—its people, culture, and history.