Gishwati Mukura National Park

Gishwati Mukura National Park is the youngest national park in Rwanda. The park was gazette in 2019 as a national park. It is the fourth national park in Rwanda that boosts tourism after the volcanoes, Akagera and Nyungwe National Park. This park was originally a forest reserve in the 1970s. And 80% of the area was covered by the forest. But during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the refugees had shifted to this area where they were hiding away from their enemies. Later, they had to cut down the forests in the area to create land for settlement. The big part of the park was destroyed both the wildlife and the forests.

History of the Park

In 2001, there was only 15000 acres of forest cover remained with less wildlife out of over 250000 acres of the reserve. The Gishwati area conservation program was introduced in 2007 with an agreement with the government of Rwanda and the Great Trust Ape. The program was aimed at protecting the rich biodiversity in the area. The reserve was later under the management of a nongovernmental organization called the Association Hope in 2011 and is up to date. The organization is still restoring nature in the reserve and up to now it is at 67%.

Gishwati Mukura National Park is made up of two forests which include the Gishwati and Mukura Forest reserves. In 2015 the government aimed to plant more tree species in the forest to stabilize the challenges that they facing soil infertility and regulate the water flow on the slopes of the hill. The Gishwati forest reserve used to extend in the areas of Lake Kivu towards the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Now the park is the smallest in Rwanda covering an area of 34 square kilometers and located at the edge of the Nile basin.  The park is home to over 395 bird species, 60 tree species, and a lot of mammal species.

Gishwati Mukura National Park

What to do in the Gishwati Mukura National Park?

While on your Rwanda safari, there is a variety of activities to do which include;


Since the park is small this makes birding more productive. The park is home to over 395 bird species with 20 endemic species in the area making it a birding paradise for birding trips. Travelers on their Rwanda safari will see birds like mountain yellow welder, red-throated Alethe, Dusky Crimson wing, Rwenzori Batis, Ragel sunbird, and many other species. This makes the smallest park in Rwanda a birding haven for travelers on their Rwanda safari.

Chimpanzee trekking 

During your Rwanda safari, a traveler has the opportunity to walk into the Chimpanzee world. Chimpanzees are considered to be the closest cousins to human beings sharing over 98% of our DNA. So, the travelers on their Rwanda safari will have to track the chimpanzees in their natural habitats. While you track the chimpanzees, you will have the opportunity to learn about their mode of feeding, how they live, and how they take care of their young ones. During the activity, you will have an experienced ranger. He or she will guide you on this activity. Also, in Rwanda, this chimpanzee trekking can be done in the Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Golden monkey trekking

The golden monkeys are one of the interesting primates in Rwanda’s smallest park. This activity will involve walking on foot within the forests of the park. These old monkeys are golden orange colored where the name originates. They usually live in the Bamboo type of forest within the park. As you are going to this tracking of the golden monkeys, you are required to have a ranger. He will interpret for you their behavior. Then you will have one hour observing them in their natural habitat.

Waterfalls hike

This is one of the rewarding activities in the park which is usually done by healthy and fit travelers on their Rwanda safari. During this hike, you will have a goal to reach the final point of the Kazenenza Falls. This is one of the most thrilling adventures in the park for travelers on their Rwanda safari. During the hike, you will also spot the plant species that are only found in this park.

Accommodation facilities in the park

The comfort of the traveler on their Rwanda safari in the accommodation facilities offers the best experience for them to enjoy the activities. In Gishwati Mukura National Park there are limited accommodation facilities since the park is still new. The travelers on their Rwanda safari are usually advised to use the accommodation facilities in the Nyungwe Forest National Park since the park is near the Gishwati Mukura National Park. The accommodation facilities are usually categorized as luxury, mid-range, and budget.

Luxury accommodation facilities are facilities that offer high-end and first-class services to travelers on their Rwanda safari. These facilities tend to be desirable for travelers. The facilities include; Gishwati Lodge which is the only lodge in the Gishwati Mukura National Park and so luxurious. The other luxury facilities are found in the Nyungwe Forest National Park. Midrange accommodation facilities are facilities that offer usual services which are slightly half of the luxury services for travelers on their Rwanda safaris. These facilities are located in the Nyungwe Forest National Park since it’s near the Gishwati National Park. They include; Nyungwe Top View Lodge, Golden Monkey Hotels, Peace Guest Hotel, and many others. Budget accommodation facilities are facilities that offer standard services and these facilities are for travelers on a tight budget on their Rwanda safaris. They include; the Uwinka camp site, Gisakura family hostel, and many others.

What is the best time to visit Gishwati Mukura National Park?

Gishwati Mukura National Park is open throughout the year for travelers on the Rwanda safari. Rwanda has two seasons of the year that is to say wet and dry seasons. The best time to visit the park is usually in the dry season. The season runs through June to September and December to February. During this period, activities like chimpanzee trekking, golden monkey trekking and hiking are more easy to do. This is because the area is dry to do them and the vegetation is dry to track these animals.

On the other hand, during the wet season of the year, the area is so wet and slippery that some activities like hiking become difficult. And the most amazing thing is that during the wet season, the chimpanzees come closer to lower areas. They come closer since there is more food and the vegetation is so thick to support the life of the chimpanzee. Additionally, the wet season comes with a reduction in the number of people visiting the park per day. This implies that the experience can be easily personalized. Additionally, accommodation is somewhat cheaper in low seasons making it the best time to visit the park, especially for budget travelers.

How to access the Gishwati Mukura National Park?

The park is mainly accessed by a road where a traveler is on a Rwanda safari from the Kigali International Airport to the park. It will take you about 3 to 4 hours to access the park since in Rwanda their speed limit is 60 km per hour. There are no domestic flights currently moving to the reserve.  

In conclusion, now that you have an idea about Gishwati Mukura National Park, you are almost there. Book your Rwanda Safari and create a signature of memories.

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