Nyandungu Park to be expanded to 43 hectares

The National Environment Management Authority (REMA) has announced that it is going to acquire Nyandungu Park located in the Ndera sector in Gasabo District and Nyarugunga in Kicukiro District of Kigali City, expanding its area to 43 hectares.

In July 2022, the Prime Minister, Dr. Ngirente Edouard, inaugurated the Nyandungu Eco Park (NEP), which is part of the National Tourism Master Plan.

Nyandungu Park consists of five zones; two zones are forested areas, while the other three contain wetlands and plant species that help in water purification from surrounding hills. The park also includes newly constructed roads and 10 kilometers of trails suitable for hikers and cyclists.

The park currently hosts 102 bird species, including forest species, and it is expected to host over 200 bird species, including eagles and others, as well as various animals such as antelopes, hyenas, and others.

The expansion covers 121 hectares, including 70 hectares of forest and 50 hectares of various types of trees, including 62 different species of bamboo.

REMA’s Director General, Faustin Munyazikwiye, told The New Times that the purchase aims to improve recreational and other services for visitors.

He stated that the expansion will include various recreational services, well-maintained hiking trails, sports facilities, and other services, indicating that the purchase is in line with the visitors’ preferences.

Regarding the financial aspects, the funds used for this initiative will be made public after a comprehensive analysis showing the importance of the investment in the park.

Since the commencement of the park’s purchase, the construction of three-kilometer roads has begun, and it is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

The expansion of Nyandungu Park is part of a plan to revitalize three of Kigali City’s five wetlands for tourism purposes, but also to provide a green space for city residents.

The other five wetlands earmarked for revitalization include Gikondo, Rwampara, Rugenge-Rwintare, Kibumba, and Nyabugogo, covering 408 hectares.

Munyazikwiye said, “We have started the journey to develop comprehensive tourism packages in Kigali City, focusing on each wetland and its surroundings. There is a need to think beyond before starting to use them.”

Since the park’s activities began, it has provided services to about 4,000 visitors per month, with a target of reaching 6,000 visitors per month. Additionally, about 220 households depend on these five wetlands for their livelihoods, which will be affected by the planned changes.

In 2017, Nyandungu Park started to be renovated as part of a project funded by the Italian Development Cooperation Agency, UNE, the British government, and the Rwandan Environmental Management Authority, with an initial investment of 2.4 billion Frw and a total cost of 4.5 billion Frw.

Currently, Kigali City accommodates 37 wetlands covering 9,160 hectares, valued at approximately $74 million (approximately 94 billion Frw), regarding their functions.

The Comprehensive Tourism Plan for Kigali City until 2050 shows that from 2013 to 2022, the area of wetlands in this city increased by 4%, from the previous 14% of the city’s total area to the current 10.6% due to human activities, hence the government’s commitment to protect them.

Nyandungu Park includes a well-maintained cycling and hiking trail to help people engage in sports and recreational activities
Nyandungu Park has become a sanctuary for birds that have settled in Kigali
Those who enjoy canoeing have been provided with a dock in Nyandungu Park
Nyandungu Park is now home to helpful aquatic plants that purify polluted water