The Head of Tourism and Conservation Department within RDB, Ariella Kageruka, has announced that tourists will soon start to visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park and Biosphere Reserve as it has to be opened before the end of 2020.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park which has recently been nominated among UNESCO MAB biosphere reserve is located in Rutsiro and Ngororero Districts in the Western region of Rwanda.
It became a National Park last year after its restoration process but tourism activities haven’t yet started.
This Thursday, November 12, 2020, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has handed over the Rwanda Development Board, infrastructures and equipment for Gishwati-Mukura National Park and Biosphere Reserve, during an event that took place in Rutsiro District.
These infrastructures that include the building that will serve as the Park Headquarters, have been installed by LAFREC (Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation) project funded by the World Bank under the implementation of Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), since 2016.
The signing of the handover documents was presided over by the Director General of REMA, Juliet Kabera and the Head of Tourism and Conservation Department within RDB,Ariella KagerukaAriella Kageruka .
“We are grateful to the World Bank for having supported the activities of restoring Gishwati-Mukura National Park, collaborative efforts invested in its restoration led to its nomination among UNESCO MAB biosphere reserve”, Kageruka said.
“We will keep collaborating with the communities around Gishwati-Mukura National Park and Biosphere reserve to ensure its sustainability as it will soon start generating revenue. As you may know, the Park is not open for tourism as we were dealing with its restoration but we are to open it for tourists soon before the end of this year”, she added.
The Director General of REMA, Juliet Kabera has welcomed the efforts and role of every part in all activities that led to the success of LAFREC project and pledged that the collaboration will continue.
“We have been waiting for this day for a long time. We are handing over infrastructures, but we are not certainly handing over the MoU, as we still have a long journey together in the process of ensuring the sustainable management Of Gishwati-Mukura National Park and Biosphere Reserve”, she said.
The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna species. The main animals found in Gishwati-Mukura National Park include chimpanzees, golden monkeys and blue monkeys. There are more than 130 bird species with over 15 endemic ones. Different plant species that include ‘Umushwati’, on which the park was named, are found there, according to Abel Musana, the Park Director.
This forest occupies an area of about 35.4 kilometer square. Last year, the Rwanda Government confirmed that Gishwati-Mukura forest reserve has become the country’s forth National Park.
It is expected to help boost the tourism business in the country and act as a resource for researchers, conservationists therefore help in the environment and the ecosystem preservation or protection.
Over Rwf 900 million have been spent over to set infrastructure and equipment for Gishwati-Mukura Park Headquarters, all from World Bank.
Currently, RDB has allocated more than Rwf300 million to the revenue sharing program in communities around Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
By Kanamugire Emmanuel