Walk into Netflix Documentary — Virguna National Park, Rwanda

2 min readOct 8, 2022

A Netflix series “Our Great National Park”, reveal national parks around the world. It not only displays spectacular flora and fauna, but also advocates sustainable interaction between visitors, locals and nature. In the first episode, a national park’s story caught my attention, Rwanda Virguna (Volcano) National Park. (Not because there is a farmer looks like my Caribbean friend, Omar,) is the harmony among agriculture, volcanic ecosystem, and skateholders.

Link: Official trailer of Our Great National Park

In these scenes, farmers cultivate at the foot of the mountains, mountain gorillas walk across the retaining walls, a squad of golden monkeys robs the crops in agricultural field but farmers do not get mad. It made me start wondering why farmers indulge these primates so badly. Later now, the voice over of the film explain the whole thing.

A harmony environment among farmers, mountain gorillas and golden monkeys is achieved by ecotourism. Mountain gorillas have been listed at the near extinct species, habituated across the mountains along DRC, Uganda and Rwanda. Primatologists research in this habitant and bring them into human’s horizon. Since that, these treasure animals attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, paying fair price for high quality ecotour.

Rwandan government did not take it for granted. They chose to not exploit the ecological treasure immediately but to make it into a sustainable business. For sure, it took longer to convince those who used to rely on the natural resource. The poachers hunt for treasure, locals want to participate into this business. Without strong authority power, it cannot be achieved.

I was attracted deeply by the sustainable ecotourism business and interested in the actual interaction between national park and local community. What extent does Virguna National Park contribute? The channel between Virguna National Park and local community is whom? Does the business model really sustain?

To fulfill my curiosity, I decided to go to Rwanda. I searched volunteering program online and I found Sabiyino Community Livelihood Association, SACOLA, which is a NPO dedicates to community development in Musanze. Damien Nkubana who is on the contact, and I sent him an email to express my interest in knowing the operation of SACOLA. After 3 months, I am here in Musanze, Rwanda.

I am going to expose my bona fide experience in Musanze, Rwanda. Let’s sit tight and explore with me.

Fig 1: arrival at Kigali international airport, Rwanda