RDB inks deal with private firm to develop chimpanzee trekking experience

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The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has signed a 25-year concession agreement with a conservation organization to develop and operate an exclusive chimpanzee and primate trekking experience in Gishwati-Mukura National Park in the Western Province.

Under the agreement, Imizi Ecotourism Development Ltd, a subsidiary of Wilderness Safaris will develop a multi-phased conservation and tourism management program in the park, according to RDB statement issued on Saturday.

“The concession agreement will see the 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, science, engagement of community cooperatives, human-wildlife conflict resolution, research and monitoring,” it said.

The RDB deputy chief executive officer, Emmanuel Hategeka, said Rwanda expects the new project in Gishwati-Mukura National Park to offer another unique world-class tourist experience, and draw even more visitors in 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, that receive tens of thousands of guests every year,” he said in the statement.

The investment in Gishwati-Mukura National Park reinforces further Rwanda’s pole position as a high-end sustainable tourism destination, and benefits the residents living around the park, according to Hategeka.
The unique Gishwati-Mukura National Park chimpanzee and primate trekking experience is one more great reason to visit Rwanda, he noted.  

Wilderness Safari CEO, Keith Vincent, said the signing of the agreement is an exciting development in the firm’s 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.

The potential of Rwanda is undeniable and the firm feels privileged to partner with the Rwanda Development Board to unlock this in Gishwati-Mukura and elsewhere, he said.

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