The broad public knows Rwanda for its mountain gorillas. But, amongst birders the land of a 1000 hills has already become an insider tip: if you want to see Albertine Rift endemic birds, such as the Red-Collared Mountain Babbler, Rwanda is the place to go! With the certification of 33 bird guides and two new bird guide co-trainers on Friday, 5th of April 2019, the experience of bird watching is set to further improve. The guides were identified by tour operators and national park managements to become the leaders in promoting Rwanda as a prime destination for birdwatching.

RDB Head of Tourism and Conservation Ariella Kageruka believes that birding will highly contribute to the countries efforts in increasing its income from tourism. “Rwanda aims to double its tourism revenues from US$ 438 million that were earned in 2018 to over US$ 800 million by 2024 and to attain this we need to have skilled professionals giving tourists the best experiences. Rwanda is a hot spot for over 700 bird species and their habitats. Tourists who come for avitourism in Rwanda usually spend more days and money. With this training, we want to improve the quality of bird watching experiences in Rwanda and earn more from avitourism.”

The three-week training to upgrade the skills of Rwandan bird guides was organized by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in partnership with the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism, the Rwanda Safari Guides Association (RSGA) and the Promotion of Economy and Employment Programme (Eco-Emploi). The participants were equipped with reference books for birds gifted by the Rwanda Chamber of Tourism and with binoculars provided by Eco-Emploi. Eco-Emploi is a joint Rwandan-German Development Cooperation Programme with Technical Assistance by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).