Four Paris Saint Germain stars including Sergio Ramos, Julian Draxler, Keylor Navas and Thilo Kehrer visited Rwanda and participated in some amazing tour activities including gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. Their three-day visit which began on Saturday last week was part of the club’s partnership with the Visit Rwanda campaign.
The quartet, together with their family members started their Rwanda safari experience on Sunday by visiting Akagera National Park in the east of the country. Here they had a chance to see the famous Africa “big five” including lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhinoceros as well other animals roaming the park. Akagera National Park is the largest protected wetland in Central Africa protecting over 13,0000 animals including savanna adapted species.
Players trek mountain gorillas
After experiencing the taste of a Rwanda game drive safari in Akagera, the quartet climaxed their wildlife tour with the breathtaking gorilla trekking encounter in Volcanoes National Park on Monday. As the norm is, the quartet was accompanied by trackers into the deep lush vegetation of the park to guide them in finding where the gorillas would be. Like many other trekkers who get a glimpse of gorillas, the football stars were equally amazed at the sight of these elusive and giant primates.
“Seeing the gorillas up close in the forest has been an amazing experience. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to see them in their natural habitat. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I want to thank Visit Rwanda for hosting us. We enjoyed our time here very much.” Said Julian Draxler, one of the trekkers.
What else did the players do in Rwanda?
In addition to their wildlife experience, the stars also participated in a variety of other activities while in the “Land of A Thousand Hills”. These included attending a traditional Rwanda dance performance at the One & Only Gorillas Nest Hotel near Volcanoes National Park. They also visited the Kigali genocide memorial where they paid their respects to the victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. Their visit ended with a meet and greet at Kigali Convention Centre where they met young fans including members from the Paris Saint Germain Academy which was opened last year in Rwanda.
During the discussion, Sergio Ramos who joined Paris Saint Germain at the beginning of the season from Real Madrid said, “First of all, I would like to thank the country. From the first day we arrived, the welcome from all the people of Rwanda was wonderful. We have taken with us a very special affection and a lot of kindness from all the people we have met here. We will take away with us an unforgettable experience, thanks to the safaris and the gorillas and above all, thanks to the great hearts of the people here.”
Rwanda Development Board CEO, Clare Akamanzi said:
“We are honoured to receive the Paris Saint-Germain players and their families to experience the best of what Rwanda has to offer. We are proud of our partnership with Paris Saint-Germain, which has resulted in tangible results since 2019. Through the visiting players, Paris Saint-Germain fans worldwide will be able to see the remarkable beauty of the country. We look forward to hosting more Paris Saint-Germain players, legends and fans to the premier luxury, eco-tourism destination.”
Marc Armstrong, Paris Saint-Germain’s Chief Partnerships Officer, added:
“We are delighted that some of our first team squad have had the chance to come to Rwanda. In addition to wearing the Visit Rwanda logo on their training kits, they can now get a taste for the Rwandan energy, creativity and natural beauty. It is great that we can further strengthen the partnership between Rwanda and Paris Saint-Germain through trips such as these, with our former and current players. I have no doubt that they will enjoy their stay and return to Paris with unforgettable Rwandan memories.”
PSG deal with Visit Rwanda
In 2019, the two parties signed a three-year sports partnership deal which leverages shared values and a commitment to providing incredible experiences to introduce Paris Saint-Germain fans to Rwanda. It is built around three main cornerstones: cultural and artistic synergies, a shared commitment to excellence and football development, according to the French club.
The club launched a new football academy in Rwanda last year with the aim of nurturing young football talent in the East African country. The deal also requires the French club to showcase Rwanda’s tourism attractions as well as sporting and events facilities and invite the world to visit Rwanda.
Tourism in Rwanda
Rwanda is one of the countries on the African contest with a fastest growing tourism industry. The country has invested heavily in the sector including signing mega-money sponsorship deals with giant European football clubs like PSG and Arsenal FC in England. Some of Rwanda’s major tourist attractions include gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, game viewing in Akagera National Park, primates tracking and birding in Nyungwe National Park. Others include amazing cultural and historical tours around the country, nature walks and canopy walks. Rwanda has also invested heavily in developing her infrastructure like roads and accommodation facilities to accommodate tourists and enable them enjoy their safaris in the country.