Welcome to our newest member – Red Rocks Rwanda
Interview with Gregory Bakunzi – Owner & Founder
Tell us your story. How did Red Rocks Rwanda get started?
Red Rocks started in 2010; I was thinking of linking community, tourism and conservation for the sustainability of the local population in the Nyakinama village. I established an accommodation unit providing quality services to budget travellers who come to visit the mountain gorillas. Red Rocks Rwanda is much more than just a hostel/campsite – is a cultural center for the community that includes a woman’s basket making cooperative, arts center, onsite farm, and many other activities. We offer a variety of options for our guests that give you opportunities to learn more about Rwandan culture, village life, and at the same time promote the development of our community.
What makes Red Rocks Rwanda different from your competitors?
Being a social enterprise, Red Rocks Rwanda provides different kinds of community activities. Our projects are mainly for community development, thus sustaining women and youth by enriching them with life skills, paying school fees and buying learning materials for school-going children. Through activities such as banana beer making, basket weaving, organic farming, bee keeping, art and crafts, brick making among others, beneficiaries are able to sell their products
cheaply to tourists in Red Rocks camp.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
Red Rocks Rwanda initiated community development initiatives for sustainable development. Red Rocks partnership with local artists have been working to promote and develop tourism through art classes, which signifies art work with the protection of the environment for future survival and developing tourism through art classes. We set up the Cultural Tourism Week, which brings together local communities, conservationists, tourists and tourism industry players to exchange ideas about sustainable development and share stories and learn from one another.
What can we expect to see from Red Rocks Rwanda in the future?
We will ensure the socio-economic development of our local communities and making sure that our cultural heritage is preserved for future generations. We will be working with students to ensure that we develop strategies that will make international students know more about our culture.
Which trends do you see in educational and active youth travel?
I found the younger generation are more willing to observe the local community in depth than ever before. Educational and youth travel will stimulate the intercultural exchange of students from various countries discovering new cultures and emerging hosts destinations, and ensure the improvement of international youth travel worldwide.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with Red Rocks Rwanda?
At our properties we respect the sanitation of both the bathrooms and washrooms, our kitchen is well equipped with facilities of international standards thus they take caution on the hygiene of the environment in general. Rwanda is generally safe and crime levels are relatively low, and in our campsite, there is always a safety guard to ensure the safety of our guests.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
I want to add more value on the youth travel association by showing the traditional aspects of our culture and making sure they understand the conservation process of the mountain gorillas and their habitat.
Red Rocks Rwanda is a social enterprise that is steeped in history. Back in the 14th Century when the volcanic mountains of Muhabura and Sabyinyo were still active, they used to erupt and send red rocks rolling down the southern part of Musanze , and residues of these rocks can still be found at our headquarters in Nyakinama village, Musanze district. Thus Red Rocks Rwanda stands for what our name stand for – just like the red rocks, we are deeply rooted to the local history and culture.
Passionate about conserving our cultural heritage and protecting our natural environment, we christened our organization Red Rocks as a way of reminding people about the historical and environmental importance of the volcanoes National Park. We are nestled near the volcanoes national park, home to the last remaining mountain gorillas. Our campsites offer more than just camping; they also teem with women enjoying banana beer and others involved in various activities such as basket weaving, which offer guests a peek into the unique and interesting cultures of the peoples around the volcanoes national park.
For more information, visit their website: www.redrocksrwanda.com
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Starter Member
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