Nyandungu Eco-tourism Park (NEP), a recreational space and wildlife habitat in the City of Kigali, is poised for a significant expansion, according to the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).

Currently spanning 121 hectares, encompassing 70 hectares of wetland and 50 hectares of forest with more than 62 indigenous plant species, the park is slated to get an additional 43 hectares. Nearly 200 bird species that had migrated due to wetland degradation returned to the park after its rehabilitation.

Faustin Munyazikwiye, the Deputy Director General of REMA, said that the expansion will usher in a host of new facilities to enhance the park’s offerings. The additions will include kiosks, boardwalks, playgrounds, artificial lakes, and more, catering to the evolving desires of visitors, he noted.

The demands of our visitors for enhanced amenities have been duly noted and will be incorporated as part of the park’s expansion,” Munyazikwiye said.

The precise budget for the expansion project will be determined following a comprehensive study aimed at identifying key features to be integrated into the park. Meanwhile, initial efforts to demarcate the area to be expanded commenced, with three kilometers of fencing slated for completion by the end of February

Nyandungu Eco-Park is the culmination of a visionary initiative aimed at revitalizing six wetlands across Kigali.

Munyazikwiye explained that: “We embarked on this journey with the development of the Kigali Wetland Master Plan, outlining the intended use of each wetland. Some areas required extensive rehabilitation before they could be repurposed.

“Nyandungu wetland, our initial focus, not only mitigates flooding within the city but also serves as a sanctuary for biodiversity, including rare avian species that have experienced a resurgence.”He further elaborated on the park’s transformation, highlighting the reintroduction of native plant life and the diverse recreational opportunities it now offers to residents and visitors alike.

Documenting bird species

One notable testament to the park’s rejuvenation is the publication of “Falling for the Birds of Kigali,” a comprehensive compendium documenting the bird diversity within Nyandungu Park.

“This book serves as a testament to the thriving ecosystem we’ve cultivated, with an impressive array of bird species now calling Nyandungu home,” Munyazikwiye said.

Economic benefits stemming from the project were underscored by Jean Rubangutsangabo, an urban economist for the City of Kigali, who emphasized the creation of over 4,000 green jobs and the park’s monthly influx of approximately 6,000 visitors. The success of Nyandungu Eco-Park underscores the transformative impact of collaborative efforts in shaping Kigali’s future. Political will, Munyazikwiye stressed, remains instrumental in safeguarding the environment and preserving vital wetland ecosystems.

In line with this commitment, the Government initiated the Nyandungu restoration project in 2016, with the aim of combatting degradation and showcasing the potential of wetlands in pollution mitigation and flood prevention.

Meanwhile the government is poised to replicate this success by rehabilitating five additional wetlands across Kigali, with a budget of more than Rwf100 billion for the endeavor. The five wetlands are Rwampara (65ha), Gikondo (162ha), Rugenge-Rwintare (65ha), Kibumba (68ha), and Nyabugogo (131ha), underscoring the constant dedication to environmental conservation and sustainable urban development.


SOURCE: NewsTimes

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