The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and Imizi Ecotourism Development, a subsidiary of Wilderness Safaris, have signed a 25-year concession agreement for the development of a multi-phased conservation and tourism management programme in Gishwati-Mukura National Park.

According to a statement released by RDB, the concession agreement will see Imizi develop and operate an exclusive chimpanzee and primate trekking experience under the Wilderness Safaris brand, while RDB will oversee ecology and conservation initiatives, including ranger presence, law enforcement, engagement of community co-operatives, and human-wildlife conflict resolution.

Emmanuel Hategeka, RDB’s Deputy CEO, says: “We expect this new project in Gishwati-Mukura National Park to offer another unique world-class tourist experience, and draw even more visitors to Rwanda. It will be a valuable addition to other popular destinations including the Volcanoes National Park, home to the rare Mountain Gorillas, Nyungwe National Park, and the Akagera National Park – home to the ‘Big Five’.”

Imizi’s investment in Gishwati-Mukura National Park further reinforces Rwanda’s position as a high-end sustainable tourism destination, and benefits the residents living around the park.

Keith Vincent, Wilderness Safaris CEO, says the potential of Rwanda is undeniable, and Wilderness feels privileged to partner with the RDB to unlock the development in Gishwati-Mukura. “The signing of this agreement is an exciting development in our overall strategy to help take the Rwanda high-end ecotourism experience and its positive impacts on conservation and rural communities far beyond the gorilla experience. We envisage extended stays in the country where tourists are exposed to more of Rwanda’s unique attractions.”

Gishwati-Mukura National Park is Rwanda’s fourth national park, and is made up of two separate forests – the larger Gishwati and small Mukura – forming a total of 34sqkm, plus a buffer zone.

The forests sit on the ridge that divides the Congo and Nile water catchment areas, along the Rift in the west of the country.