LT&C-Penguin Greg Bakunzi: first Rwandan citizen to name a baby gorilla

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 18.39.29

As eTurboNews (eTN, the Global Travel Industry News) reports from Rwanda, LT&C-member (King Penguin), founder of Amahoro Tours and Red Rocks Cultural Centre and  LT&C-Example provider, Greg Bakunzi, became the first Rwandan citizen honored to name a baby gorilla. At the Kwita Izina, Rwanda’s annual baby mountain gorilla naming and conservation ceremony, Greg Bakunzi was among the 19 namers – a star-studded list that also included Howard Buffett, the son of American billionaire investor Warren Buffett, as well as acclaimed Nigerian movie star Patience Ozokwor (commonly known as Mama G).

Bakunzi became the first tour operator in Rwanda to be given the chance to name a baby gorilla, an honor that is usually reserved for international celebrities and conservationists.

“Mr. Bakunzi has been a tour operator in Rwanda for very many years, during which he has made immense contributions towards community development and sustainable tourism,” the day’s emcee introduced the Amahoro Tours founder as he stepped forward to give a name to an 11-month-old mountain gorilla.

 Bakunzi named the baby mountain gorilla Tembera U Rwanda (meaning visit and explore Rwanda) amidst cheers from an 80,000+ audience, which also included Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

“Many people come to Rwanda to see mountain gorillas. I named the gorilla Tembera U Rwandabecause I want people to come to Rwanda to see more than just gorillas; I want them to stay longer and also experience our unique culture and history,” Bakunzi said after the ceremony.

Ever since he founded his flagship tour company Amahoro Tours in 2002, coming up with different life-changing initiatives that help improve the quality of life for the locals around the Volcanoes National Park – home to the mountain gorillas – has been Bakunzi’s modus operandi.

One such initiative is the Red Rocks Self-Help Scheme, which aims to lift Rwandan jobless women and youth from extreme poverty by availing them goats, sheep and pigs that they can raise in their homesteads and subsequently earn some income.

Through the Red Rocks Self Help Scheme, the center also trains the youth – at no cost – in key areas of the hospitality industry. Many of the youth have been trained at the center to be waiters, chefs, waitresses and tour guides.

“Our mission is to equip the youth with the skills they need to enhance their employability,” says Bakunzi. “But we also teach rural women and youth how to speak English, which we do with the help of volunteers, in order to help them easily communicate with English-speaking tourists.”

Another initiative of the Red Rocks Cultural Centre that has helped empower local communities is its Eco-Tourism Homestay Program, which ensures that locals earn a living by hosting some tourists as guests in their homes.


LT&C congratulates our penguin Greg Bakunzi and hopes that others in the Virunga gorilla mountain region gets inspired by his example to also contribute making the three countries’ (Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda) cooperation a leading example of linking tourism and conservation. May tourism in the transboundary national parks, which hosts the endangered mountain gorilla population, increasingly safeguard a good future of both the wildlife and the surrounding human communities.

See also the LT&C-Example Virunga National Park, which Greg Bakunzi authored.

Sign up now

Sign up for an LT&C membership by filling in the details below.

Make a donation

We are very grateful that you chose to donate to LT&C! We accept donations through PayPal or international bank transfer.

Alternative 1: Donate through Credit Card:

Please click the Donate button and then choose to use credit card

Alternative 2: Donate through PayPal (amount in Euro):

Please click the Donate button and then choose your PayPal account

PayPal Logo

Donate via Paypal

Alternative 3: Donate through international bank transfer

Bank details:
Cultura Sparebank
Pb. 6800, St. Olavs plass
N-0130 Oslo

Name: Linking Tourism & Conservation,
Account no.: 1254 05 95168
IBAN: NO8712540595168
BIC/SWIFT: CULTNOK1
Routing BIC: DNBANOKK

Please mark payments with your name and/or email address

Add your LT&C-Example

Would you like your LT&C-Example/Initiative to be listed on our website? Please fill in the form below.

  • Would you like your LT&C example/initiative to be listed on our website? Please fill in the form below.
  • Please tell us about your LT&C example/initiative and how it fits with Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C)
  • Please elaborate on the following topics:
    a) Political/management support
    b) Financial support
    c) Educational support
  • Website with more information on the LT&C example/initiative
  • Please leave your contact details so that we can get in touch with you. This information will not be displayed on our website unless you ask us to.
  • By submitting this form you accept our current LT&C Privacy policy and that we may store and manage your contact information and that we may use the submitted material on our website.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.