Welcome to week three of my #RwenzoriDiary. The series started here …
I’ve just received the most exciting hiking training opportunity: a gorilla tracking permit!
The Rwanda Development Board have invited me to be part of the week-long media trip to celebrate the Kwita Izina ‘gorilla naming ceremony’. Gorilla tracking is one element of the trip! This will be first week of September, so the timing could not be better for my plan to get fit and climb one of the Rwenzoris’ peaks. A good long hike uphill is perfect training for the Rwenzoris (better than running, apparently). Last week I had my longest run in a few months. God I felt GOOD! My Hasher friend Daniel was very interested to hear all about the Rwenzoris rebranding project, and my plan to climb the mountain range. “Aren’t you ready to climb already?” He asked me, as we ran together. That came as a great boost to my confidence (although we were running downhill and on the flat at the time, not quite the same as hiking up steep rocky paths and slippery slopes!) Only once I have (re)mastered the art of running a few hills will I feel prepared. My week started with a meeting with Bismac Amumpaire, the TV presenter and journalist behind the Walk for Peace and Reconciliation in Rwenzori Region, the Rwenzori Tourism Expo and the Miss Tourism Rwenzori Region (amongst many other projects!) These three projects are all based in Kasese, one of the towns at the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. Tourists frequently drive through Kasese en route between Queen Elizabeth National Park, Fort Portal and Kibale Forest National Park.
The Rwenzori Tourism Expo 2017 will be held from the 13 to 15th July at Rwenzori Square in Kasese. The expo will climax with the second edition of the crowning of Miss Tourism Rwenzori Region 2017/2018 at Uhuru Gardens in the town. Check out the poster for more info. (Last-minute booking of stalls still possible at the time of writing).
The Rwenzori region is one of Uganda’s tourism hubs. The region is home to various tribal groups each with a rich history and a unique culture. According to the organisers of the Walk for Peace and Reconciliation in the Rwenzori Region, the walk saw a diversity of people walk together for the first time: the Bakonjo, Bamba, Batwa, Batuku, Banyabindi, visitors, the Police, DPC and RDC of Kasese, hoteliers, tour operators, Uganda Wildlife Authority, World Wildlife Fund Uganda, Rwenzori Mountaineering Services, Kasese Peace Coalition, Hotel Margherita, Sandton Hotel, Link Bus Services, Miss Tourism Uganda, politicians and government. It was certainly very colourful!
I wish Bismac and his team the best of luck! I was a bit sceptical initially about how a walk and a beauty pageant can help build peace but I get it now. Events like these bring the community together in a very positive way. Bismac’s drive is tangible and I’m sure this event will become a landmark event for the region. #PeaceAndTourismAreInseparable #SustainablePeace4Tourism