Rwanda is famously known for the main three national parks of Volcanoes, Akagera and Nyungwe national. Gishwati mukura national park is newly created national park in Rwanda, making it the four national park of the country.

Gishwati Mukura national park is located in the western province of Rwanda in the districts of Ngororero and Butsiro covering an area of 35.58 sqkm. This national park was uphold in 2016 as a national park from the title of game reserve , as means to enforce the conservation efforts of the two forests (Gishwati and Mukura) that make up the national park. The national park derives its name from the combination of the two forests.

In the early years of the two forest existence, these were faced with vast degradation that was caused by human settle, illegal mining of the rich forest mineral and livestock farming. With the presence of rich bio diversity in the forest that included vast flora and fauna, this the Rwanda government together with the Rwanda development board to conserve the forest more.

About the forests.

Gishwati forest.

This was a large forest area covering and extending far to the west of Lake Kivu and south of Nyungwe forest. In the early years between 1978-1986, Gishwati forest covered a large area of about 250,00 acres. Due to the massive degradation that was caused Rwanda genocide refugees into the forest, this called loss of biodiversity from the forest.

For the efforts to restore the lost gem of Gishwati forest, the government of Rwanda collaborated with various institutes to restore the forest. In 2007, the Gishwati Area conservation program came into the restoration of the forest. And in 2001 the forest of hope association humped on the role of reconstructing the forest.  This forest shares a larger part of the Gishwati Mukura national park , with a chimpanzee population of 20 chimp ,golden monkeys and a bird population of 232 bird species.

Mukura forest

This was designated as a reserve in the year 1951, before it was joined to Gishwati forest to make a joint reserve and later a national park. Mukura forest covers an area of 1200km, making the smallest portion of the park. It is a home to about 163 bird species that include forest birds and Albertine rift endemic bird species. The Mukura forest lost largely part of its area from originally covering to 30,000 hectares to the current area.  The forest receives 1500 mm of rain annually with a forest temperature of 15C.

Activities at Gishwati mukura national park

For most visitors that visit Rwanda , their main interest is gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park , wildlife viewing in Akagera national park and chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe national park. Gishwati is vast with touristic activities worth exploring on a Rwanda safari.

Primate tracking

The primates of Gishwati mukura national park are a major attraction to the national park, and tracking these species is a no miss when a visit is made to the national park.  The tracking of primates such as the eastern chimpanzees, blue monkeys, golden monkeys, mountain monkeys, L’hoest monkeys and many more, can be sighted while taking the different primate trails of Gishwati mukura national park.


Bird watching

Gishwati mukura national park is a bird paradise with over 300 bird species up for an amazing sight.  A view of the forest birds, Albertine endemic birds in the forest canopy is truly an experience for a lifetime. Bird species such as the mountain yellow weblers, weaver birds, Turacos, handsome francolin, martia Eagle, stripe breasted tit, Dusky crimsonwing, strange weaver, Blue headed sunbird, red throated Alethe, kivu ground thrush, mountain masked Apalis, Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori Apalis,  wood hoopes, the Grey crowned crane to mention but a few. The birding activity in the park is done by foot. The most preferred birding trails that expose a variety of bird species include; the riverside trail, waterfall trail, Rucanzogera trail, and mukura trail.

Guided nature hike

The marvelous landscape of Gishwati national park offers beautiful views of the different fauna and flora that can be encountered while a nature walk.  The walk is always lead by an experienced forest guides that leads to particular forest trails that rewards beautiful views. The hike rewards views of birds, wildlife such as giant earth worms. Jackals, striped jackals, African civet, serval cat, skinks, chameleons and many more.  Hiking trails of the park include the riverside trail, Rushubi trail, Mukura trail and the Rucanzogera trail.

The nature walks through the national park, lead to the views of beautiful waterfalls founds in both the Gishwati forest and Mukura forest. Pfunda and Sebeya River in Gishwati forest have an amazing waterfalls that is sighted while visiting the Gishwati mukura national park. In mukura forest, the rivers of Satinsyi, Rucanzogera and seceko form beautiful waterfalls that offer a refreshing cool and feel as one hikes through the park.

Tea plantation visit

The large plantation fields cover another part of the park. The tea expects that the visitors through the growing, harvest and trending process of the tea. This a refreshing activity after the primate encounter in the national parl.

Community encounter

Outside the Gishwati national park, the community members offer quite a number of activities that the tourists can engage in. Handcraft making, tradition healing sessions, a local traditional dance by the (indashyikirwa) and bee keeping all same a great experience at Gishwati mukura national park.

How to get to Gishwati mukura national park

This park can be accessed by either a road or air transfer depending on the location. Tourists from Kigali can take up a road transfer travelling only 84 kilometers using up 2 to 3 hours to reach Gishwati mukura national park. From Rubavu, a distance of 54 kilometers is covered to reach the park. From volcanoes national park it takes only 27 kilometers. This park is located in the western province of Rwanda.

Accommodation at Gishwati mukura national park.

With the fact that the national park is newly introduced a few accommodation Is available for the staying tourists. But the live hope that there is construction and establishment of more accommodation facilities.

For tourists planning a Rwanda safari, Gishwati mukura national park , is among the destinations ,not to miss on the bucket list.

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