Nyandungu Eco Tourism Park Opens to the Public
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.
- The restoration of the Nyandungu wetland and creation of an eco-tourism park saw the planting of 17,000 trees made up of 55 indigenous species.
- The 121 hectare park features a medicinal garden, a Pope’s Garden, five catchment ponds, three recreation ponds, an information centre, a restaurant as well as 10km of walkways and bike lanes.
- The park opened on 8 July 2022 from 6am to 6pm, seven days a week
- The opening of Nyandungu Eco-Park represents the single largest addition to public green space in Kigali in the city’s history. 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. 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 (REMA) 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 Rwf 4.5 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. Local and international tourists are welcome to visit.
Investing in nature is the best investment one can make. By protecting and restoring ecosystems, we create jobs, improve people’s well-being and build community resilience to climate change and extreme weather events. The Nyandungu Eco-Park is the first public recreational and touristic facility of its kind in Kigali.
Key Facts about Nyandungu Wetland
- 121.7 hectares in size, including 70 hectares of wetland and 50 hectares of forest
- Home to more than 62 local plant species
- Home to more than 100 bird species
Things to do while in Kigali includes;
15 Days Best of Rwanda Safari