Background Information …
Gishwati-Mukura National park is the 4th and Rwanda’s newest National Park; famously known for its diverse plant species; over 60 species of trees like the bamboo and wood and a big number of Rwanda safari wildlife species; around 84 bird species. It is located in Ngororero and Rutsiro districts in the country’s Western province; covering an area of about 3,558 hectares. This park would have run extinct since during the 1994 genocide whereby most people left the country others went to the borders of the country; hence some ended up occupying the Gishwati and Mukura areas; they carried out farming, deforestation and illegal mining. Gishwati and Mukura are forests. In September 2015 a law was passed to have a joint National Park, hence the Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
The forests sit on the ridge which divides the Congo and Nile water catchment areas, along the incredibly biodiverse Albertine Rift in the west of the country. It is made up of 60 species of tree, including indigenous hardwoods and bamboo.
Where to find Gishwati Mukura National Park
What to see and do at Gishwati Mukura National Park
Gishwati is home to a group of 20 chimpanzees which live alongside golden monkeys, L’Hoest’s and Blue Monkeys. Birds are well represented too, 232 species have been seen at Gishwati and 163 at Mukura, among them Albertine Rift Endemic species and forest specialists.
The park has a small number of accommodation facilities to spend a night at. And some of them can be the same used while on a visit to Nyungwe forest but the most recommended one on a visit to Gishwati-Mukura is the Gishwati lodge and also there are campsites for budget travelers.
The park is currently part of an ambitious landscape restoration program. Activities in the park began in 2019 and include a guided nature hike, guided chimp and monkey tracking, bird watching and a visit to the waterfalls. The area was nearly depleted largely due to resettlement, illegal mining in the mineral-rich forest and livestock farming. The formalisation of its National Park status in 2015 aims to help redress the balance, to increase the number of trees to improve soil fertility, stabilise slopes and regulate stream flow.