Ecotour to National Parks of Rwanda – Gorillas and Duikers and Chimps, oh my!

When we first read Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fosse and then saw the movie, we were intrigued by the possibility of one day visiting the Virunga Volcanoes to spend time with mountain gorillas. It seemed a distant dream until October of 2012 when we were training guides in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park. OnContinue reading “Ecotour to National Parks of Rwanda – Gorillas and Duikers and Chimps, oh my!”

Making a Difference on Purpose

Dr. Sam Ham is a well-known name in the interpretation profession. He has just completed a new book entitled Interpretation – Making a Difference on Purpose. His classic first text, Environmental Interpretation – A Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets was published in 1992 in English and Spanish. It has servedContinue reading “Making a Difference on Purpose”

Greening Rwanda – One Bird at a Time

Picture a group of young people led by a highly trained and Certified Interpretive Guide. They’re looking for birds, monitoring endemic species in one of the most significant rainforests in East Africa. Imagine this is your group – twenty-five enthusiastic young people who want to learn more about their environment and hundreds more waiting behindContinue reading “Greening Rwanda – One Bird at a Time”

Product or Experience?

Are you planning tourist or visitor products or experiences? It matters how you think about it. Tourist products, like tours, boat rides, or programs, are often viewed by visitors as commodities. They compare your two-hour tour to other diversions of two hours, like a movie. Price becomes an important factor in the decision to buyContinue reading “Product or Experience?”

Akagera National Park and Ruzizi Lodge, a Wildlife Experience

We recently visited Akagera National Park in northeastern Rwanda to fill in our understanding of the amazing progress being made in this small nation to protect important habitat and wildlife populations.  Akagera, named after the river of the same name, includes montane forests, savannah and wetlands in its 1120 square kilometers. The park was badlyContinue reading “Akagera National Park and Ruzizi Lodge, a Wildlife Experience”

Elephant Lessons

The quiet of elephants is one of the great mysteries of the animal kingdom. How can something so big move so softly, barely making a sound? I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with over one thousand elephants in the last few weeks in Tanzania, including two substantial groups of about 75 individualsContinue reading “Elephant Lessons”

Kikoti Camp, Tanzania; Glamping in Tarangire

At 3:30 AM one morning I awakened to the sounds of a waterbuck bellowing below our tent cabin in Kikoti Camp near Tarangire National Park in Tanzania. Kikoti is a wonderful combination of comfort and close to nature. Glamping, glamor camping, as some call it, is a wonderful experience and the Kikoti experience is firstContinue reading “Kikoti Camp, Tanzania; Glamping in Tarangire”

Rwandan Guides Share Nyungwe’s Beauty with Guests

Nyungwe National Park is nestled in the southwest corner of Rwanda, a nation roughly the size of the state of Maryland. Nyungwe is several hours south of Volcanoes National Park (VNP) of “Gorillas in the Mist” fame. VNP brings people from all over the world to northern Rwanda, but some manage to also find thisContinue reading “Rwandan Guides Share Nyungwe’s Beauty with Guests”

Beware the Memorized Spiel

I once attended a guided tour of a large, expensive visitor center for a major religious group in the United States. Elders of the church met people at the door of the center to offer a free, guided tour. I joined a tour and our group obediently followed the guide as he delivered what wasContinue reading “Beware the Memorized Spiel”

A Motivation by Any Other Name

I have questions about visitors, clients and customers. Who are they? What do they want to do? What do they enjoy? What kinds of experiences appeal to them? Is it enough to know their age group or their family status? Many planners have spent many decades developing visitor experiences with market segmentation approaches that areContinue reading “A Motivation by Any Other Name”