Nyandungu Eco-Park opens to public

On 8 July 2022 at 06:52

From a degraded wetland to an educational and recreational eco-park in the heart of Rwanda’s capital city, Nyandungu is now open to the public.

On behalf of the Government of Rwanda, the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) have signed an agreement with QA Venue Solutions to open and manage Nyandungu Eco-Park. The opening of Nyandungu Eco-Park represents the single largest addition to public green space in Kigali in the city’s history.

Speaking about the park, Juliet Kabera, Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority, said that the Nyandungu wetland represents the value of restoring urban ecosystems, and will serve as a blueprint for other wetlands in Kigali and across the country.

“Urban wetlands play a critical role in preventing flooding, addressing pollution and are home to unique biodiversity. As we face the impacts of climate change, wetlands will be a key ally to protect lives and livelihoods. We look forward to working with our partners to replicate the success of restoring Nyandungu in other urban wetlands in Kigali and across the country,” she said.

The Nyandungu Eco-Park provides a space for residents and visitors to the city to explore and learn from nature, and is part of Rwanda’s efforts to harness eco-tourism to restore biodiversity and conserve urban wetland ecosystems.

The restoration of the wetland and creation of an eco-tourism park was funded by the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) with support from the UK Government, the Italian Government through the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the UN Environment Programme.

The six-year initiative has restored the Nyandungu wetland ecosystem and promoted the sustainable management of natural resources. The initiative has also created approximately 4,000 green jobs.

The rapid growth of Kigali and the asso­ciated human activities have put sig­nificant pressure on the wetlands. Wetlands, including Nyandungu, have been degraded and this led to biodiversity loss. Encroachment has also resulted in downstream flooding as well as increased pollution due sewage outflows.

In 2016, the Government of Rwanda through the Rwanda Environment Management Authority developed the Nyandungu restoration project to respond to these challenges and demonstrate the potential of wetlands to abate pollution and reduce the risk of flooding in urban areas.

Since then, the Rwf4.5 billion project has restored critical habitats, including a native fig forest and the wetland itself, and rehabilitated streams and ponds to alleviate floods and reed-beds to reduce pollution.

The wetland now also features a 10km network of walking and cycling paths, viewing areas, picnic areas, an information centre, and a restaurant among other facilities.

“The restoration of Nyandungu wetland to an eco-tourism park serves as an example of Rwanda’s efforts and commitment towards environmental protection, particularly for the conservation of wetland ecosystems as well as eco-tourism. We look forward to welcoming domestic and international tourists to create fond memories in this new biodiversity hotspot in Kigali,” said Zephanie Niyonkuru, Deputy CEO of RDB.

“Investing in nature is the best investment we can make. By protecting and restoring our ecosystems, we create jobs, improve people’s well-being and build community resilience to climate change and extreme weather events. The Fund is grateful for the support provided by our partners in the rehabilitation of the Nyandungu wetland, and we look forward to the many environmental and health benefits it will bring for generations to come," said Teddy Mugabo, CEO of the Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA).

The Nyandungu Eco-Park is the first public recreational and touristic facility of its kind in Kigali. The park will be managed by QA Venue Solutions through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Rwanda. QA Venue Solutions, which also operates BK Arena, will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the park and offer guided tours to visitors and its attractions.

"QA Venue Solutions is excited to take on the opportunity of managing Nyandungu Eco-Park in partnership with the Government of Rwanda, and believes in the agenda of protecting and restoring the wetlands. Our aim through this partnership is to work side by side with the government to achieve the objectives set out for the Nyandungu wetland, while preserving the space and allowing for the community to benefit from it through educational and recreational activities," said Kyle Schofield, Managing Director, QA Venue Solutions.

The park will be open from 8 July 2022 and will welcome visitors seven days a week from 6am-6pm.

The recreational eco-park in located in Kigali City.
From left: The Director General of REMA, Juliet Kabera; the Deputy CEO of RDB, Zephanie Niyonkuru and Kyle Schofield, the Managing Director of QA Venue Solutions after signing agreements.
Nyandungu Eco-Park is open to the public.