When it comes to unique and new African safari experiences, Gishwati-Mukura National Park is of no doubt one exceptional place any nature lover should look out for. Established in 2015, Gishwati-Mukura NP is amazingly the 4th and newest National Park in Rwanda- the Land of a Thousand Hills. It was created after merging 2 rain-forest reserves; Gishwati and Mukura Forestsforming a 34 sq.km of protected area now Gishwati-Mukura National Park which is located in Ngororero & Rutsiro Districts, Western Rwanda.
Gishwati-Mukura N/Park lies along the ridges of Congo- Nile drive close to Gisenyi tourism city and Volcanoes National Park towards the north. Due to its location along the Albertine rift, it makes it an incredible place to sight several of Albertine rift endemic species especially birds.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park is a unique safari destination of its own, protecting important wildlife of visitor interest while on Rwanda safari. The park is known for its diverse primate species including 20 chimpanzees, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, olive baboons and others.
Other animal species that inhabit the compact 34 sq.km Gishwati-Mukura National park include chameleons, bush vipers, red river hogs, plus unique floral species including 60 tree species comprising of bamboo and hardwood.
A total of about 232 species of birds including several of Albertine rift endemic species are distributed in the compact Gishwati-Mukura National Park. The park’s diverse birdlife include the strange weavers, stripe breasted tit, purple breasted sunbirds, Rwenzori turacos, martial eagles, Rwenzori batis, regal sunbirds, mountain yellow warblers, grey crowned cranes, red throated alethe and more.
When it comes to chimpanzee tracking, there are only two places to visit in Rwanda; Gishwati-Mukura National Park and Nyungwe National Park. For new chimp trekking experiences, Gishwati-Mukura is the place to be- offering tourists a lifetime opportunity to have an in-depth learning about chimpanzees’ daily behaviors, grooming habits, feeding habits and a chance to take pictures.
While on a chimpanzee trek, expect to see more than chimpanzees because there are several other interesting primates (including blue monkeys, baboons, colobus monkeys, vervet monkeys and more) and birds.
Important things to carry for your chimpanzee tracking include among others a trekking permit, daypack, camera, insect repellent, trouser, walking/hiking boots, long sleeved shirt, rain jacket, sweater, bottled water, snacks, visas & passport.
Nature walks offer a thrilling on-foot experience as visitors explore the beautiful Gishwati-Mukura N/Park’s diverse habitats each with varied wildlife. A nature walk in this park is a great opportunity for you to see varied primates, birds and floral species of medicinal importance.
Birders on a tour in Gishwati-Mukura also have over 232 bird species to look out for. They include mountain yellow warblers, grey crowned cranes wood hoopoes, martial eagles, strange weaver birds, purple breasted sunbirds, Rwenzori turacos, Rwenzori batis and regal sunbird.
At Gishwati-Mukura NP, there is a chance to visit, interact with localresidents in their communities. In the various local communities, you will have a complete cultural experience, learn how local residents live, enjoy dances, traditions, cultures, visit the farms or traditional healers and more.
When to visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Rwanda?
Visits to Gishwati-Mukura NP can be done any time or month of the year. Though this is a fact, dry seasons are understandably the best to go tour this pristine protected area. The dry months of the year to visit Gishwati-Mukura range from June to September/December to February. These are perfect months to have the most of Gishwati-Mukura N/Park’s chimpanzee trekking experience, bird watching or guided nature walks.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park currently doesn’t have plenty of safari lodges, camps and other accommodation facilities because it is just a newly established park. The available lodge to retire for the night is Gishwati Lodge, a luxury facility with 6 Luxury chalets and capacity to accommodate about 15 people. This luxury accommodation became operational in 2019. There are also other nearby places to stay in Gisenyi including Lake Kivu Guesthouse, Malahide Paradise resort and so much more.
Gishwati-Mukura N/Park is only 2-3 hours’ drive away from Kigali capital, taking the Northwestern direction. Gishwati-Mukura NP can be reachable using a private 4x4 tourist car or by public means.