The Vice President and Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum who was in the country recently enjoyed quality time during his trip to Rwanda’s Northern Province according to a video released by his team.
The UAE leader was the first official guest of the exclusive, ultra multi-luxury One & Only Gorillas Nest eco-lodge in Kinigi, Musanze district which was opened by President Paul Kagame and the First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame last week on Thursday.
The highly private visit saw Sheikh Muhammed and his entourage enjoy a trip to the Volcanoes National Park to trek the Mountain Gorillas and enjoy the amazing experience at the high end facility as well as an encounter with nature and Mountain Gorillas.
“It is a nice experience”, Sheikh Muhammed says in the video as he gets up close with the primates and waddles through the mud and thick vegetation while tracking down the gorillas up in the volcanoes with Mohammed Al Shaibani.
Al Shaibani is the CEO of Investment Corporation of Dubai and Chairman of Kerzner International, the owners of One & Only luxury hotel chain which now runs two properties in Rwanda.
The video which was shared by Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, the Director General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai accompanying it with “Visit Rwanda” shows the UAE leader having a free time, kicking off the official regalia to soak himself into a number of nature-centred leisure activities.
According to the Gulf Times, Sheikh Muhammed explored the spectacular landscape of Africa, in particular Rwanda, touring the country by air and land and soaking in its pristine beauty.
Sheikh Muhammed, who is considered a strong friend of Rwanda, took a helicopter from Kigali International Airport to Musanze where he spent a weekend in the newly opened eco-lodge whose rates range between $3,600 to $10, 500 and boasts of a golf course, a helipad, cycling trails and over 36,000 species of flora and fauna.
The VP/PM’s visit confirmed the flourishing relations between Rwanda and UAE, with the Dubai leader maintaining close ties with President Kagame, a friendship which has led to many developments including investment, trade and tourism between the two countries.
The Governor of Northern Province Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi thanked Sheikh Muhammed for ‘valued time spent in Rwanda over the last weekend’, adding that his attachment to Rwanda is value.
The Management of One & Only could not comment on the visit which they said was private but Ashley McBain, a representative of the CEO of Kazner International, Michael P. Wale, said that the visit shows the strong and long-term commitment between the UAE and Rwanda.
Boost to tourism
Rwanda is positioning itself to attract high end tourists who spend more on high quality services and leave behind much higher revenues for the country. The visit of Sheikh Muhammed has boosted Rwanda’s efforts to welcome visitors of his calibre.
The CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Clare Akamanzi said that Rwanda has positioned herself to attract high value tourists and the addition of facilities like One & Only Gorillas Nest which host them supports this vision.
“We very much welcome high end visitors to our country. This is the very reason we have invested in quality infrastructure for this kind of visitor segment. We open doors for celebrities, high-net worth individuals, VVIPS and any other persons wishing to relax and enjoy nature in Rwanda,”
“We guarantee them safety, privacy, great services and exclusive natural products in our national parks as well as the entire country. Thus, the visit by His Highness is testament that our strategy is appealing to our target clientele. Of course we also especially welcome One & Only high-end brand that provides the experience such guests expect,” Akamanzi told KT Press.
Visit to Rwanda 🇷🇼 – An Unforgettable Experience
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— khalifa Saeed (@khalifaSaeed1) March 2, 2020