Govt plans to build animal sanctuaries to boost domestic tourism

Friday October 12 2012

A girl plays with a Serval cat at the Animal Orphanage in Nairobi. The government has been urged to come up with animal sanctuaries similar to those in Kenya and Uganda. Photo/FILE

Even as the Ministry of Tourism embarks on a major local and international tourism awareness campaign, the country is yet to have animal sanctuaries in its major towns.

This hampers the growth of local tourism as animal sanctuaries or orphanages have been proven to be major drivers of tourist numbers.

Uganda and Kenya have animal orphanages and sanctuaries located in major towns, which has seen their tourism revenue increase.

Uganda has the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary while Kenya has the Nairobi National Park and Haller Park in Mombasa.

Rebero Hill sanctuary

The animal sanctuary on the hill of Rebero in Kicukiro district was destroyed during the genocide in 1994 and it has never been rebuilt.


According to government officials, the establishment of animal sanctuaries, for example private game farms, is provided for in the wildlife policy, which is being formulated.

“What we have planned is the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries where we can collect and protect animals that are found to be illegally detained in homes and those endangered in captivity. These sanctuaries will then serve not only to protect the animals but also for educational purposes,” said Télésphore Ngoga, manager at Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in charge of Conservation Division.

Dr Tony Mudakikwa, veterinary, research and monitoring senior officer at RDB, confirmed the board plans to create an animal sanctuary called Wildlife Education Centre. The centre will be used to educate children about the value and importance of wildlife.

Dr Mudakikwa said the government will explore a private-public partnership between Kigali City and a private firm.

The government has lined up several projects tied to tourism such as fencing Akagera National Park; defining a buffer zone for the Volcanoes National Park; reinforcing protection of Nyungwe Park and diversifying its tourism products.


Rwanda Today interviewed several people on their take about establishing game parks and reserves in major towns.

“I cannot afford to pay for permits, travel expenses and accommodation fees. It would be great to have a place in Kigali where I could go and see these animals,” said Alice Mukunzi from Remera.

“Promoting domestic tourism is vital to increasing tourism revenues especially from domestic tourism. Game reserves would go a long way in increasing domestic tourism,” said Dominic Dusenge, a businessman in Nyamirambo.