With the establishment of a comprehensive collection of indigenous orchids from the region, this unique initiative – a collaboration with Michael Tibbs (an internationally renowned orchid specialist), the Rwandan Development Board, Volcanoes National Park, and the University of Kigali’s Musanze Campus – is set to leave a lasting legacy. It showcases the delicate beauty and fragility of rare species and plays a key role in the re-establishment of endemic orchids in their natural habitats.
An initial search-and-rescue project at the site of Rwanda Project – Volcanoes National Park secured 5,300 Cynorchis anacamptoides orchids before the construction of the lodge commenced. These rescued plants were grown in pots in a makeshift shade house until the completion of the lodge in August 2019, and within just six months after its opening, several hundreds of orchids were flowering in situ around the lodge – and several thousand were re-introduced by Tibbs and Rwanda Project – Volcanoes National Park conservation team.
This unique conservation project is of vital importance, as the historic deforestation of the area has led to a dramatic loss of habitat, placing numerous endemic species found only in this region at an increased risk of extinction.
The conservation team is developing a database and selecting and planting orchids that have been artificially propagated and are readily available.
They aim to:
Collect as many indigenous orchids that thrive at a 3,200m altitude as possible.
Create a safe and secure home for endemic and indigenous orchids that are being reintroduced across the property.
Showcase a comprehensive orchid collection at the Akarabo Nursery & Garden, enabling guests to enjoy their rare and unique beauty in a carefully documented and beautifully curated environment.
Create one of the most comprehensive collections of Ansellia Africana (the Leopard Orchid) in the world and showcasing its many unique varieties.
The project is supported by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the Director of National Parks, the Rwandan Agriculture and Livestock Inspection Service (RALIS), and the Director-General of the Ministry of Agriculture. The University of Kigali’s Musanze Campus is also appointing a student to work on the artificial propagation of orchid material from Rwanda.
You can help this dedicated team to achieve their goals and contribute to the unique floral legacy of the region. Donations raised through ACCF will support the ongoing research, training, and travel costs of the project team, an annual student grant in conjunction with the University of Kigali’s Musanze Campus, and the establishment of greenhouse facilities at the Akarabo Nursery to house the collection.