Category Archives: ACNR-the organization

Celebration of the World Migratory Bird Day 2011

This year 2011, ACNR in collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Rwanda Birding Association (RBA) organized a joint event. With RDB on board this was the first celebration of WMBD on a national level in Rwanda.

The Programme

The celebration of World Migratory Bird Day 2011 in Rwanda had 3 components.
1) A preliminary round table discussion was broadcasted live on Rwanda TV onwmbd_2 Thursday 12th May 2012, featuring
– Mrs Rica Rwigamba, Head of theTourism and ConservationDepartment at RDB to present the standpoint of the government on bird conservation and tourism,
– Mr Serge Nsengimana, ACNR Executive Director to call for conservation of Birds and their habitats in general and migratory birds in particular and
– Mr Davidson Mugisha, President of RBA to talk on behalf of eco-tourism operators in Rwanda.
2) A press release on World Migratory Bird Day 2011 and the events in Rwanda was sent out to prominent media in Rwanda to advertise the celebration. The press release was coordinated by ACNR and RDB.
3) Sunday 15th May 2011 was the day for a big bird watching event, aiming at catching people’s interest in birds and their protection needs while at the same time introducing the newly developed Bugesera Birding Circuit. It brought together more than 100 participants including RDB, ACNR and RBA staff, bird guides, Nature Club students, community members, media, tour operators, some diplomats like the US Ambassador, government officials and general public.

The event was held in Bugesera District, south of Kigali. Participants were assembled in three Birding Groups for different birding sites; one to two guides were available for each group. After birding, participants met at Gashora La Palisse Hotel, for refreshments and short boat rides on Lake Rumira. Speeches were held by the following individuals:
– Davidson Mugisha as MC, as an introduction and information on avi-tourism in Rwanda.
– The Mayor of Bugesera District to welcome the event.
– Bird watching group representatives to talk about their impressions from bird watching.
– An ACNR representative to recite a poem on the World Migratory Bird Day.
– Rica Rwigamba to thank all participants for coming and invite for lunch.

ACNR initiated the creation of a paper bird sculpture. For this purpose every participant received a paper bird to write on it his personal impressions, ideas and wishes concerning WMBD. Afterwards all paper birds were collected and will be hung up in the RDB entrance hall in a shape of big bird, where more than thousand people pass every day, to give the event an even bigger range.
RDB provided logistics for all participants, including transport and refreshments while ACNR provided all necessary information on birds, posters, fact sheets, buttons for all participants etc. Guides and birding materials were shared by all organizing parties.


World Migratory Bird Day 2011 in Rwanda can be called a success. The collaboration of three able institutions substantially increased the range and diversity of the event, despite the time pressure of preparation at the last minute and ACNR’s financial constraints. Feedback from the participants and also the organizing parties was throughout positive, showing that the event had left a mark in people’s minds and will leave them thinking about birds and the threats they face.

Launch of the new canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park

canopy walk

Friday, the 15th of October, the canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park, which is meant to give a new experience to tourists by bringing them to the “eye-to-eye level” with different primate and bird species that are used to live or to breed in the upper scales of the forest and giving them the possibility to have an overwhelming view over a big part of Nyungwe, was inaugurated.

The opening act started at 10.30 am. Speeches were hold by the Head of the section “Tourism and Conservation” at RDB (Rwanda Development Board), Mrs Rica Rwigamba and Mr. Louis Rugiranyange, the Chief Park Warden of Nyungwe National Park. The canopy walk, which is located in the middle of the Igishigishigi trail is the biggest walkway in East Africa which is, at its highest point, situated 90 meters above the ground, which should enable tracking tourists to gain inside of the upper tree levels as well as their inhabitants such as different primates, birds and orchids. The whole process of planning and constructing the canopy walk took at least five years during which there were mainly 25 people constantly involved in the building process. It was mainly financially supported by the US government through USAID and built by Canadian specialists from Green Heart Conservation Society.

The canopy walk is very strong and can support maximum 4 tones.

canopy walk


During the launching ceremony, there were only 12 people, including two guides, allowed to do the canopy walk at one time at one lap. Therefore, the opening acts´ visitors were divided into ten groups. This was necessary in order to make sure that everybody could walk at his own speed and could enjoy his/her first walk on the new building and no one had to hurry. The first group included the Minister of Trade and Industries, Mrs. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the Chief Operation Officer at RDB, Mrs. Clare Akamanzi, the “Changée d’ Affaires” at USAID/Rwanda Program and other VIPs. 


 We as ACNR staff members (Serge Joram Nsengimana, Executive Director, Dane Beckers [see left picture] and Till Esch [bottom], both German volunteers) were inside the 9th group.

Serge and Dane







By chance, after a walk of 20 minutes toward the canopy walk, we were able to see two blue monkeys playing in the tree tops.

The whole walk, including some stops when our guide was giving information about a special tree species, when we had to wait for people in front of us to finish their turn or when he was giving us instructions on how to behave inside Nyungwe National Park or on the canopy walk, took us about two hours.

It was really a great experience for me and Dane, not just because it was our first time to visit a rainforest but also because we have never been that deep in nature, surrounded by nothing but the fresh air and the tree tops, and we would recommend to everyone visiting Nyungwe National Park and doing the canopy walk.