Blog

‘A country rebuilt by women’

After the genocide, over 70% of the population in Rwanda was female. Today, may people say that Rwanda is a country rebuilt by women.

_MG_4204 copy

After celebrating International Women’s Day, it felt fitting to shine a light on female empowerment in Rwanda. For example, did you know that women in power at a leadership level has resulted in the highest female representation in parliament anywhere in the world?

During the production of Beyond A Thousand Hills, we spent time with inspiring Rwandan women, across all levels of society, witnessing first-hand the cascading effect of female empowerment.

_MG_4010 copy

From witnessing well-organised and creative women’s co-operatives along the Congo Nile Trail in rural Rwanda, through to our dealings with the Rwandan Development Board in Kigali and the countless female AEC entrepreneurs we visited and interviewed. Rwanda champions women’s rights far better than any country we’ve ever visited.

While you think about and appreciate all the wonderful women in your life, spend a moment to take a look at how this tiny country, nestled in the heart of East Africa is demonstrating a truly progressive and impactful approach to gender equality.

_MG_2399 copy

To meet and hear about many of the wonderful Rwandan women we met, pick up a copy of Beyond A Thousand Hills on Amazon. All profits are being donated to support local Rwandan entrepreneurs.

cropped-48991534_514754539022507_5860987134617321472_o.jpg

 

 

Tour Du Rwanda

This past week has seen hundreds of professional cyclists hit the Rwandan roads, as the country celebrates one of the biggest sporting events in the annual calendar – the Tour Du Rwanda.

Now one of the top three races on the African continent, the Tour welcomes riders from across Africa, as well as top teams from Europe and the USA. The challenge must be one of the most gruelling cycling races in the world, as riders take on nearly 1000km of road, winding across Rwanda’s scenic hills, over eight gruelling days.

The Beyond A Thousand Hills team were lucky to spend time with the Rwandan cycling team and their founder, Jock Boyer (an ex pro cyclist the and the first American to race in the Tour De France) while producing the book. While sadly they weren’t in Rwanda to witness the Tour first hand, Beyond A Thousand Hills includes a series of wonderful photographs from guest photographer, Skyler Bishop.

Cycling 1
Photo credit – Skyler Bishop
Cycling 3
Photo credit – Skyler Bishop

If you’re a passionate cyclist, why not check out the Tour Du Rwanda next year! It’s quite a time to visit this charismatic country!

We also recommend reading the best selling book – Land Of Second Chances (The Impossible Rise Of Rwanda’s Cycling Team) by author Tim lewis.

Tim has been a great friend to the Beyond A Thousand Hills project, given the following endorsement of the book:

‘It’s always a struggle to convey the jarring, unexpected beauty of Rwanda, but Cate and John Gunn have done exactly that. Beyond A Thousand Hills is full of sumptuous images and inspiring stories’

91gKwpDmVlL

In other news, we’re excited to announce that Beyond A Thousand Hills is now available to purchase on Amazon, for UK and European customers. Please check the book out on the link below and if you already have a copy, please feel free to leave a review!

Check out Beyond A Thousand Hills on Amazon UK

We’re also proud that the book has been covered in Travel Africa Magazine this last week! You can read a short interview with author – John Gunn, on the link below.

Check out Beyond A Thousand Hills in Travel Africa Magazine

7covers2017.1024

 

 

 

 

Pioneering Conservation in Akagera

While producing Beyond A Thousand Hills, the team visited Akagera National Park multiple times. The chance to spend some time in Rwanda’s great wilderness was always a highlight.

020A8317
Zebra Heard

Located on Rwanda’s north-easter border with Tanzania and run by African Parks, the 112,000-hectare Akagera National Park now boasts all of Africa’s big five, after the re-introduction of 18 black Rhinos in early 2018.

020A8463
Lonely Elephant

The park was devastated during the Rwandan Civil war in the 1990s, with much of the land reallocated as farmland for returning refugees. Over the last decade, African Parks have worked closely with the local population, building a long term and sustainable model for park management.

While the Pioneering Eco-Tourism chapter in Beyond A Thousand Hills beautifully showcases a selection of the parks wonderful wild inhabitants, it’s enriched by an inspiring and informative essay from Sarah Hall, tourism and marketing manager at Akagera National Park.

Well worth a read, Sarah highlights and brings to life a selection of the brilliant conservation initiatives that are currently in place. Ranging from high-tech wildlife tracking, to community engagement initiatives centred around the re-introduction of the Park’s famous Lions.

793A7049
Lions of Akagera (Photo Credit: Skyler Bishop)

Order a copy of Beyond A Thousand Hills to find out more (or pick one up at the Park souvenir shop) and if you haven’t yet stepped foot in Akagera National Park, the opening of the new luxury Magashi Bush Camp (run by Wilderness Safaris), opening this Spring is a great excuse for a visit!

https___blogs-images.forbes.com_jimdobson_files_2018_11_Magashi-07-tent-interior

https___blogs-images.forbes.com_jimdobson_files_2018_11_Magashi-04-main-area-interior-bar
Images from Wilderness Safaris

 

Cricket, Dancers and Lions!

The Beyond A Thousand Hills team were fortunate enough to fly out to Kigali last week, to attend the opening of the new international Cricket Stadium in Kigali.
The new stadium has made headlines across the globe and attracted interest from some of the biggest names in sport. The team couldn’t miss the chance to capture and include the opening ceremony in the upcoming photography book, Beyond A Thousand Hills.
Joined by the likes of Michael Vaughan and Sam Billings, President Kagame officially opened the stadium alongside project director Alby Shale. Once the rain had cleared (playing cricket in the rainy season was always going to be a challenge!) The one thousand plus crowd were treated to a captivating Twenty20 celebrity cricket match!
_MG_1606
_MG_1452
While the opening ceremony offered great sporting entertainment in a world class venue, the legacy of the stadium has been designed to bring education, healthcare and reconciliation to Rwanda, as part of the excellent Cricket Builds Hope initiative.
_MG_1724
_MG_1672
_MG_1731
As well as attending the ceremony, the Beyond A Thousand Hills team kept to a busy schedule, including hosting a charity print sale at the Heaven Restaurant and working with official project sponsor, Akagera Aviation, to photograph Akagera National Park’s beautiful and diverse wildlife, including the recently introduced Lions.
_MG_1039
Finally, the team continued to interview a range of local Rwandan partners for inclusion in the book, as part of the creation of a uniquely inside-out perspective on the country.
Book production remains in full swing as the team head back to the UK!
As pre-orders for the book continue to flow in, we have limited availability for the first print run, scheduled for Spring 2018. If you’d like to be included, please get in touch at john@beyondathousandhills.com.
_MG_1059

A First Look!

Greetings from Kigali!

The Beyond A Thousand Hills team have just touched back down in Rwanda and we have lots to report!

We’re excited to share that book production is going well and the majority of chapters have been created. We’re incredibly happy with the look and feel of the book and we have been working hard with our London based design team to produce a traditional photography book with a modern Rwandan twist. We can’t wait to share it with you.

To give you a flavour of what’s coming, we’ve included a couple of spreads from the book below!

 

 

In our determination to create a book of the highest quality, production has been extended by 8-12 weeks, and the Beyond A Thousand Hills photography book will now be published in February/March 2018.

If you’d like to pre-order a copy of the book and be included in the first print run, please get in touch on cate@beyondathousandhills.com.

Throughout the journey of the Beyond A Thousand Hills project, we’ve worked hard to ensure a social purpose remains at the heart of the book. Supporting the African Entrepreneur Collective (AEC) is a big part of the project and this coming Friday 27th October, the team will be hosting a Beyond A Thousand Hills charity print sale.

Profits from the sale will be donated to the AEC to help them continue their great work with local Rwandan Entrepreneurs. If you’re Kigali based, please do come and see us at the Heaven Restaurant in Kigali at any point between 3-9:30pm on Friday!

We really can’t wait to share all of our work with you all!

John & Cate

Exciting Times…

…for the Beyond A Thousand Hills project

The Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was successful and the project reached all of its stretch goals, ending up 150% funded. A huge shout out to all of our backers for believing in and supported the project, thank you.

We’ve already had over 200 books ordered and continue to be humbled by the interest shown in the project.

_MG_3543

Production of the book is now well underway as we work towards a Christmas publication deadline. Our design team is currently sinking their teeth into the first three chapters and we’ll share some taster pages with you as soon as we have them.

020A8766

General interest in the book has also increased over the last couple of months and we’ve had queries from a number of airlines, who are keen to feature Beyond A Thousand Hills in their in-flight magazines. We’re currently piecing together some short photography essays and if you’re flying into East Africa later this year, you may well see us on-board!

While production is ongoing, we’re excited to be flying out to Kigali next month. While in town, we’ll be hosting a Beyond A Thousand Hills print sale on 27th October and we’re currently taking a limited number of pre-orders that we’ll be flying over from London. If you’d like a signed, framed and mounted print, please find out more here.

020A1891

While in Rwanda, the team will also be attending the opening ceremony of the new National Cricket stadium, as well as trekking up north to photograph the newly opened Bisate Lodge, run by the luxury Safari Company, Wilderness Safaris.

We’ll keep you updated during the run up to publication and while we’re in Rwanda!

Cate & John