Rwandan National Park Project Honored as World’s Best by British Travel Writers

The Nyungwe Nziza project in Rwanda has been named winner of the prestigious British Guild of Travel Writers’ Best Overseas and Best Global Project Awards. At the recent annual awards dinner at the Savoy Hotel in London, Guild Chair Roger Bray said: “Nyungwe Nziza is a model tourism project for developing countries.”

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been working with the government of Rwanda for 20 years to help transform the Nyungwe National Park into a viable ecotourism destination. Implemented by DAI, the current project—called Strengthening Sustainable Ecotourism in and around Nyungwe National Park—focuses on developing inclusive ecotourism for the benefit of communities surrounding the park and leveraging private sector investment in the management, construction, and maintenance of park infrastructure.

Photo of Newtonia Buchananii trees.
"It is really the sort of project that should be replicated around the world."

At the Guild awards ceremony, the Nyungwe Nziza (“Beautiful Nyungwe”) project was recognized for its contributions to ecotourism, biodiversity, and local communities. “Guild members selected the Nyungwe Nziza project after considering many projects from around the world,” said former Guild Chair Melissa Shale. “We voted for the Nyungwe Nziza because it is really the sort of project that should be replicated around the world.”

Facts About The Park
  • Covers 1,000 square kilometers at a height of 7,000-10,000 feet.
  • Contains more than 1,100 known floral species, 275 species of bird, and hundreds of butterfly species.
  • Home to a quarter of all Africa’s primates, with 13 species of apes and monkeys.
  • New park headquarters and ranger stations, 78 trained rangers and ongoing ranger training to help law enforcement and hinder poaching, deforestation, and mining.
  • Nominator’s note: “Harmonizes tourism, wildlife, environment, and agricultural development under a single banner.”

“USAID is proud to have been working alongside our Rwandan partners in this montane rainforest since the 1980s,” said USAID/Rwanda Mission Director Peter Malnak. “Most importantly, the Rwandan government, the private sector, and local communities understand the value in Nyungwe, and are working together to protect the forest not only for its remarkable beauty, but also for the economic benefits and ecological services it provides.”

Partners on the project include SW Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm, and the U.S. National Park Service.