Fairend Safaris

Gishwati Mukura National Park

Visit Rwanda

Gishwati Mukura National Park is the newest park in Rwanda making it the 4th national park. It is between the Volcanoes National Park and the Nyungwe Forest National Park covering an area of 34 square kilometers. The area consists of a buffer zone sitting on the ridge that divides the Congo and the Nile water catchment areas, along the Albertine rift valley in the western part of the country. The park is located in the northwestern part of Rwanda, has an altitude of 2000-3000m above sea level, and receives annual rainfall of 1200-1500mm.

This park was elevated to national park status in 2016 by the government of Rwanda with an aim to boast the country’s tourism sector. In addition to protecting the trees which stabilize slopes and regulate stream flow. Due to its extraordinary biodiversity this park is home to wildlife species including birds, primates like blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, golden monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, and black and white colobus monkeys among others. Other wild creatures like bushbucks, serval cats, red river pigs, tree hyraxes, and black-fronted duiker can be found in Gishwati Mukuru National Park.

How to get to there

Activities to do in Gishwati Mukuru National Park

Primates Tracking

Gishwati Mukura National Park is home to primates including golden monkeys, blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, baboons, and chimpanzees. The chimps are increasing in population with the help of government involvement to protect the area from poachers. Wilderness Safaris began the habituation process for several monkey families, including chimpanzees.  

The habituation process has helped to increase the number of families that can be trekked by tourists. This process helps the primates get used to the presence of humans as they are in their midst. Chimpanzee tracking begins with a briefing at the park headquarters on the activity, expectations, and what to bring. During trekking visitors can see other wild species such as wild cats, duikers, and birds among others.

Birdwatching 

Gishwati Mukura National Park is one of Rwanda’s top birding area due to the presence of many trees in the forest. The park is home to over 83 species, including 15 species that can only be found in the Albertine Rift like the Grey Crowned Crane, Martial Eagle, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-throated Alethe, Regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, Ruwenzori Turaco, Weaver birds, Wood hoopoes, Strange weavers, and the Stripe-breasted Tit.

Birding can be done on foot since the park is small, with the help of an experienced birding guide. Travelers can see most of the species since the guide knows the best places to find them and can easily identify the birds by name.

Cultural Encounters

Travelers visiting Gishwati Mukuru can engage in community visits and get to see how the locals live their daily lives. The park administration collaborates and works closely with the surrounding communities in order to enhance their lives and promote tourism.

Locals get to showcase some of the traditional cuisines, clothing and get to entertain visitors through folk songs and dances. Visitors get to learn how to produce local crafts, milk cows, and prepare some local dishes. This can be done at a local community or individual farm, do not limit yourself to visiting local farmers in the gardens.

Cycling or biking

Cycling can be done at the Congo Nile Trail which offers the biking experiences. The track follows the shorelines of Lake Kivu before leading into Nyungwe forest. The Congo Nile Trail is adjacent to Gishwati-Mukura National Park, allowing tourists to see rural Rwanda and learn about life in rural Africa. During the cycling experience, travelers get to see the rural part of Rwanda as they enjoy the sceneries of farms. Alternatively, travelers go cycling to visit communities and interact with the locals.

Hiking and Guided Nature walks

There are various routes that have been developed to enable travelers explore the park on foot. Thus giving them an opportunity to see some of the wild species up close as they walk within the park.  A nature walk in the Gishwati Mukura National Park allows guests experience the natural beauty of the forest and get to see some wild species such as birds, butterflies, reptiles, and primates.

The forest has over 60 different tree species including bamboos, ferns, Macaranga kilimand, mahogany, and orchids. The route that goes to the kazeneza waterfall in the center of the park gives you beautiful sceneries of the spectacular waterfall and the surrounding environment.

Where to stay when visiting Gishwati-Mukura National Park

There are few lodging options since the park is new however travelers can stay at Gishwati Lodge which is operated by Wilderness safaris. Other options include staying at lodging facilities in Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park since they are both close to Gishwati-Mukura National Park.

When to visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park .

Gishwati-Mukura National Park can be visited any time of the year however the best time to visit is during the dry season from June to August and from December to February. During this period the weather is warm and there is little or no rainfall.

Travelers interested in tracking primates like chimpanzees may visit during the wet season which begin from March to May and September to November, during this period the chimpanzees and monkeys do not move deep in the forest since there is plenty to food for them to feed on.