Bukoba — THE Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, has revealed that plans were underway to promote one of three game reserves in Kagera region to National Park status.
He named the three game reserves as Biharamulo (1,300 sq kms); Burigi (2,200 sq kms) and Kimisi (1,026 sq kms). He noted that after completion of the exercise, the region would increase the number of visiting tourists (both foreign and local), contributing to the region's economy.
Kagera region is endowed with abundant tourist attractions. However, most of them have not been effectively tapped and developed due to lack of promotion and low investment in the sector. The Kagera Regional Economic profile reveals that the region has five game reserves with a total of 5,526 square kilometres.
The game reserves with respective areas in brackets are Biharamulo (1,300 sq kms); Burigi (2,200 sq kms ); Kimisi (1,026 sq kms ); Rumanyika (800 sq kms) and Ibanda (200 sq kms). Various types of wildlife are found in these game reserves. They include elephants, lions, giraffes, buffaloes, leopards, hippopotamus and antelopes, to mention but a few.
There are also certain species of birds and butterflies found in these game reserves which cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Tourist attractions found in the region also include traditional houses of chiefs Rumanyika of Karagwe, found at Bweranyange, Chief Kasusura of Biharamulo and Chief Balamba of Ngara.
Meanwhile, Kagera Regional Commissioner Fabian Massawe has invited investors, both local and foreign, to invest in the region through construction of five star hotels and industries. He challenged the residents to turn to agro-processing of their crops to get more value from their sweat.
He noted that there was friendly environment for investment opportunities. Opportunities in the region include modern infrastructure such as a tarmac road from Mutukula on Uganda border linking the region to Dar es Salaam and reliable air transport between Bukoba and Mwanza, Bukoba -Entebbe (Uganda).
The region has many historical sites suitable for tourism including Rumanyika/Rugondo Game Reserve, Burigi, Biharamulo Game Reserves and Kamuli Hot Springs, in Karagwe district.
Also, people should start honey production whereby a kilo fetches up to 10,000/- compared to a kilo of coffee which fetch only 500/-. The region is rich in mineral resources with gold found in Biharamulo district and Nickel in Ngara district.