Eastern Africa News Network

Makuyuni Wildlife Park crops up within the Rift Valley

Tanzania is working to set up the first ever Wildlife Park in the Northern Circuit.

The country already has practically all nature-based tourism destinations; National Parks, Game Reserves, Game Controlled Areas, a Conservation Authority, Forest Reservers, Marine Parks and Geoparks.

Now the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA) is rolling out what shapes up to become the proposed Makuyuni Wildlife Park, a new concept in the country’s leisure travel.

The new Wildlife Park will be mapped within the 47 Square kilometers of acreage formerly serving as farming estates in the Makuyuni precinct of Monduli District.

As it happens, the government which has been holding the former farming estates under the Treasury Registry has handled the estates to TAWA for wildlife conservation and tourism activities.

The Lente, Amani and Loldebes farms used to be expansive estates formerly placed under productive agricultural activities throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s by its previous landlord, a large-scale farmer from South Africa.

Hermanus Philipus Steyn through his Rift Valley Seed Company, used to cultivate high quality legumionous crops such as beans and peas before the government privatized the estates in 1981.

Fourty years later the farms have officially been placed under the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA), after the state decided that the farms should be converted into a new conservation entity.

The Director of Privatization from the Register of Treasury, Mohammed Nyasama, officially handed over the farms to the TAWA Commissioner of Conservation Mabula Misungwi Nyanda.

The Lente farm, measuring 3344 hectares, Amani estate occupying 9007 hectares and Loldebes ranch mapped within 2812 hectares were all nationalized in the early 1980s after being taken away from a large-scale farmer who hailed from South-West Africa, Hermanus Philipus Steyn.

The Commissioner of Conservation for the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority, Mabula Misungwi Nyanda said the area, which was once a farm for leguminous crops, is in the process of being converted into the country’s first ‘Wildlife Park,’ a new tourist product to be managed by TAWA.

A wildlife park is a tourist site which offers all the natural surroundings, wildlife species, and campsites but with added recreational facilities and activities such as swimming, bush dinners, wild sports and serious hiking.

Already the proposed Makuyuni Wildlife Park features all types of wild animals, including elephants, buffaloes, and leopards not to mention Zebras, Giraffes, the Ostrich, Impalas and Elands.

“We intend to seriously market the new Makuyuni Wildlife Park as a weekend getaway for mostly young people who want to have it all, enjoyable active sports as well as wildlife tourism,” explained Commissioner Nyanda.

On his part, the Chairman of the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority’s Board of Directors, retired Major General Hamis Semfuko insisted that the Makuyuni Wildlife Park will be strictly for photographic tourism and other leisure activities.

“We are going to ensure that the costs of visiting and enjoying the facilities in the area remain affordable to encourage local domestic tourists,” explained Major General (rtd) Semfuko.

TAWA intends to make the Makuyuni Wildlife Park their trademark destination and leading property in the Northern Zone.

Located 70 kilometers from Arusha City Center and about 100 kilometers from Babati, the headquarters of Manyara, the new Makuyuni Wildlife Park which is also very close to the main Dodoma Road is the most accessible tourist destination in the Northern Zone.

The Monduli District Commissioner, Joshua Nassari welcomed the new development, saying the tourist site will boost the precinct’s income.

“We already have been receiving contributions from the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority and with the addition of the Makuyuni Wildlife Park, the money is bound to increase,” said Nassari.

However, the DC implored TAWA to ensure that local communities in the area are fully involved in the project in order to create employment for the Monduli youth as well as ensuring that people change their perception of wildlife.

“Many villagers think wild animals are only destructive to their crops, but once they start earning from tourism, they will realize the importance of wildlife conservation,” the District Commissioner maintained.