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The Rangers of Rwanda: Today’s Real Heroes.

8 June 2022
By: Kieke van Maarschalkerwaart
Part Of Jimmy Nelson His Team- Kieke van Maarschalkerwaart
Jimmy Nelson- Foundation

Jimmy photographs the rangers in Volcanoes NP, Rwanda

Jimmy received the beautiful opportunity to visit Rwanda on behalf of the Jimmy Nelson Foundation and photograph the brave rangers of the Volcanoes National Park.

He created artistic images of these guardians who are willing to risk their lives. This unique content will bring their story to the world. We dream big and we want to place the rangers on the pedestal and are today’s heroes.

Jimmy Nelson- Foundation
Jimmy Nelson- Foundation
After a brutal past, Rwanda has had a magnificent reset. It is a beautiful country in the green heart of Africa, also known as the land of the thousand hills.
Jimmy Nelson- Foundation

Rwanda: a magnificent reset

After a brutal past, Rwanda has had a magnificent reset. It is a beautiful country in the green heart of Africa, also known as the land of the thousand hills.

Slowly, old and new national parks are established and tourism is increasing day by day. There are limited numbers of tourists allowed and set times to regulate tourism in order to keep it controlled for everyone, both people and wildlife. Rwanda is a beautiful example on how to welcome visitors. With a big smile the Rwandans say, in the official language Kinyarwanda: “Murakaza neza mu Rwanda”, meaning welcome to Rwanda.

Jimmy Nelson- Foundation
Jimmy Nelson- Foundation

Local Communities around Volcanoes NP

The Volcanoes National Park and the gorillas bring tourism to Rwanda. It provides employment for many locals, from rangers and trackers to porters, drivers and staff at tourist lodges.

A percentage of the revenue from tourism also finds its way back towards local communities by schools, roads and health centers that are built. The park has also improved the social welfare for the local communities.

The local communities live on the borders of the national parks, and sometimes they are in conflict with the wildlife that crosses the border. A compensation fund was set up to help local farmers whenever wildlife destroys the farming fields so they can keep living closely together in a peaceful co-existence. Local communities benefit from nature, wildlife and national parks.

Raising awareness starts at Rwandan schools where they teach the children to clean up and think green. Plastic bags have already been banned since 2008. This makes Rwanda one of the cleanest countries of Africa. The Rwandans are proud and they see nature as a national treasure to safeguard.

Kwita Izina

On the 24th of September the whole of Rwanda celebrates Kwita Izina, which means ‘to give a name’ in the national language. The highlight of this festivity is the naming ceremony of the newborn gorillas of Volcanoes National Park. This ceremony originated from the old tradition where Rwandans name their babies in the presence of their family and friends. Now, the new generation of gorillas is celebrated and the ceremony is used as an opportunity to thank the local communities and everyone that is dedicated to help preserve these majestic creatures.


In a special edition of Cult-ED we will share stories about the Rwandan rangers. You can read about it in the upcoming week on our social media channels. So stay tuned!
Jimmy Nelson- Foundation

To be continued

On the 24th of September the name giving day will be celebrated by Avila Reizen in the Netherlands. At this event Jimmy will share the story of his journey in Rwanda and his experience with the rangers. The Jimmy Nelson Foundation will provide an artwork for the auction. All proceeds of this auction will go back to the rangers of Volcanoes National Park and their local communities.

A special thanks to

Rangers: Schadrack Dusenimana, Raymond Nestor Kendelo, Gelard Higeneyimana, Ezira Ntirumenyerwa, Jacques Bisamaza, Jean Damascene Hakizmana, Fidele Ntawumenyerwa, Emmanuel Munyembazi, Theogene Niyitegeka, Jean de Dieu Ndayisenga, Jean Pierre Samedi Mucyo, Emmanuel Bizagwira, Dr Jean Bosco, Angnes Mukarubibi, Odette Mukakanyana, Phocas Nsengiyumva, Honorine Uwiragiye, Fidele Nizeyimana, Pierre Celestin Nsebimana, Pierre Nsayisaba.

Avila reizen, especially Tim en Hilda van der Wel
Rwanda Development Board
Visit Rwanda
Amakoro Songa Lodge, Songa Africa, especially Rosette Rugamba
Ambassade van de Republiek Rwanda in Nederland