Happy Earth Day 2023! This year's theme is "Invest in our Planet" and it's a reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting and preserving the natural world around us. As we reflect on the importance of taking care of Mother Nature, it's crucial to remember the many reasons why our planet needs our attention.
First and foremost, our own wellbeing is directly impacted by the state of the globe. The health of the ecosystem has an impact on everything, including the food we consume and the air we breathe. When we invest in the environment, we also invest in the wellbeing of present and future generations.
Another reason to care for and invest in the planet is the staggering biodiversity that exists within it. From the tiniest microorganisms to the largest mammals, each species plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. When we protect the planet, we're also protecting the countless species that call it home.
One way to make a difference and invest in the planet is through community involvement. At Kingfisher Journeys, we're proud to be hosting a canoeing event on the Mukungwa River, where we'll be cleaning up a section of the river to help preserve its natural beauty and protect the wildlife that depends on it. It is not a new concept because we used our canoes to clean up a small, plastic-filled lake close to Musanze, Rwanda, on Earth Day 2021. With assistance from the community, we gained access to areas that were otherwise inaccessible and assisted in restoring the habitat for the neighborhood as well as some freshwater shrimp that some Kingfisher staff members discovered in the water.
At Kingfisher Journeys, we want every action we take to make a difference in the journey of investing in the earth and among our commitments. So, we align our plans with five shared pathways (measure, decarbonize, regenerate, collaborate, finance) to ensure climate action is consistent across all of tourism.
Our contribution to this effort may seem small, but it's important to remember that every effort we make to protect the environment counts. Whether it's reducing our carbon footprint, conserving water, or participating in community cleanups, every step we take towards environmental stewardship brings us closer to a sustainable future.
This Earth Day let's make a commitment to invest in our planet. Whether it's through community involvement, supporting sustainability initiatives, or simply making small changes in our daily lives, we can all make a difference. By working together, we can create a healthier, more vibrant planet for ourselves and future generations.
Did you know that almost every day, something very special takes place on the clear, blue waters of Lake Kivu?
As sunset approaches, hundreds of extraordinary, three-hulled fishing boats leave villages all along Rwanda’s shores. With characteristic long poles attached to their bows and sterns, these fascinating boats become slowly silhouetted against the darkening sky. In small groups, they seek the deep water a few kilometres out into the lake from where they cast their nets and fish throughout the night.
To see them leave at twilight, go to a hotel near Bralirwa (7km from Gisenyi), the inlets of Kibuye or villages on the coast such as Cyimbili or Kinunu. And listen carefully. In the calm of the evening there is no wind so sails are not used here. Rather, each team of fishers paddle out with remarkable agility and speed, because, working in unison, they sing rhythmically to time their paddle strokes and give encouragement to each other.
Watching from the shore this makes an interesting sight. However, why not go out on the water to be right there with them? Silently paddling out onto Lake Kivu by kayak is by far the best way to see the fishing boats and hear their crews – as well as catching the sunset itself. Because only when you’re on the water can you closely approach, watch the fishers paddling and really appreciate their singing.
As dusk turns to night the fishing boats arrive in position. They illuminate lamps to attract a type of small sardine (known as Isambaza) and the delicious, larger Tilapia that they catch in their nets. With lights from the many fishing boats spread across the water, Lake Kivu soon resembles a starry sky. From one of the luxury lodges, guesthouses or even a private island campsite that are found along its shores, it looks both romantic and spectacular.
However, for the fishers out on the water, theirs is a hard job. Their catches are not large because the unique physical characteristics of Lake Kivu tend to limit the stock of fish that it can support. Therefore, whilst working most of the year, they all pause for a few days each month (around the full moon) as well as during September and October to allow the fish to replenish their numbers.
Witnessing the fishing boats depart for the night is one reason why kayaking on Lake Kivu has become one of the most popular activities in Gisenyi and Kibuye. So, time your visit well and, as a bonus to a superb time on the water, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing experience unlike anything else in Rwanda.
To see and hear the fishing boats of Lake Kivu by kayak, Kingfisher Journeys runs guided one or multi-day adventures from Gisenyi or Kibuye that include an optional sunset paddle. With no hippos or crocodiles in the water, modern, stable kayaks and expertly trained guides no experience is needed to take part. So book online or just ask your tour operator to include kayaking on Lake Kivu in your Rwandan itinerary.