Segment 1, Topic 3
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Attractions of the Region

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In addition to the wildlife lover’s bounty presented in the previous topic, our region is a Mecca for any passionate birder. Nyungwe National Park is the best site to look for the 29 endemic birds of the Western Rift Valley but the totals are awe-inspiring as well: over 600 avian species have been recorded in Queen Elizabeth National Park, over 500 in Akagera, over 350 in Bwindi, over 300 in Nyungwe and over 200 in the Virunga volcanoes.

Among these volcanoes, a hiker’s hottest reward is sleeping next to a bubbling lava lake atop Mount Nyiragongo in Congo (UPDATE: Nyiragongo has erupted), and almost every other peak in the region is climbable as well.

A network of guided Gorilla Highlands Trails, together with the Congo Nile Trail on the shores of Lake Kivu, allow a walker to reach all the highlights on foot, and mountain biking is a great alternative too. Rwandan lakes can be explored in kayaks, Ugandan waters in dugout canoes.

Off the beaten trail, let’s just mention a little gem in every country … The Rwandan home of Rosamond Carr, a New Jersey-born fashion illustrator turned farmer and humanitarian. The architectural splendour of Congo’s Bukavu dipping its peninsula fingers into the lake. The dramatic story of Uganda’s Kisiizi Falls where a waterfall that once meant death for unmarried pregnant girls now powers an excellent hospital.

Do try to incorporate respectful visits to Batwa “Pygmies” and other local people — your engagement will prove that responsible tourism is a win-win. 

To learn more about the home of Rosamond Carr, please jump to the Imbabazi topic in the Off the Beaten Track segment of this In-Sight.

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