Tanzania has proclaimed several new national parks, previously designated as game reserves. Burigi-Chato National Park (2019), previously called Burigi Game Reserve, spreads between Lake Victoria and Rwanda. On its northern boundary is Lake Burigi and it is partly flanked by the Kagera River. It covers 4,702 square kilometres and incorporates the Biharamulo and Kimisi game reserves. It consists mainly of savanna woodland and game has been reintroduced after decades of poaching. There are good populations of Plains zebra and Maasai giraffe, amongst others, and recently more than 30 problem lions from greater Serengeti were released here. Other new national parks are Ibanda (200 square km) and Rumanyika-Karagwe covering 800 square km.


The issue has been raised that the Tanzanian parks authority is already struggling to cope with the parks under its control and little financial provision has been made for the new additions to its real estate. Dare it be said it is an attempt to lure more $$ wielding tourists? Tanzania's northern circuit is the main drawcard, the southern circuit (eg. Mikumi, Ruaha) is struggling to draw tourists, now it is joined by the unknown north-west collection.

 17.09.2019 - Selous Game Reserve

It was recently anounced that 30,893 squkm of the Selous Game Reserve will be upgraded to National Park status and called Nyere NP. It is not clear what the government's intentions are with the remaining area of the Selous. 


Another park under the hammer! First, it was the hydro-dam across Stiegler's Gorge in the Selous Game Reserve and approval for industrial-scale logging. Now we hear that plans are afoot to dam the Victoria Nile above the Murchison Falls within the Murchison Falls National Park. And prospecting is already going ahead in the same park for oil. These are all 'thin end of the wedge' situations that pressure Africa's parks. But let us not forget that the Europeans and the North Americans have already long ago destroyed the natural environments of their respective natural spaces. The problem everywhere, just far too many people. Unless we control population growth we can kiss goodbye to the natural world.


Except for trophy hunters only a limited area in the north of the reserve is accessible to the photographic tourist. Now, Stiegler's Gorge is to be dammed to harness hydropower and an estimated 2.6 million trees will be felled by the timber industry with 17 local companies (Chinese involvement?) granted tenders. The total area parcelled out is 1,500 square kilometres, only a small percentage of the 54,600 square kilometres ecosystem but this is most likely going to be the 'thin end of the wedge'. The arrival of the logging companies will force luxury lodges to close, one has already done so, Azura Selous. Of course, this means far fewer outside eyes seeing, or reporting, the destruction.

Despite the history of controlled hunting and high levels of poaching this is one of Africa's few wilderness areas. One cannot deny that Tanzania has a need for a more reliable source of electrical power but one wonders at the long term costs. We predict that beyond the dam completion logging concessions will be expanded.