GISHWATI-MUKURA NATIONAL PARK
Founded in 2015, Gishwati-Mukura National Park is remarkably one of the best parks in Africa worth visiting for those interested in unique and fresh experiences. Its establishment in 2015 makes it the 4th national park in Rwanda and it is set within the districts of Ngororero and Rutsiro, Western Rwanda. It occupies an area of 34sq.kms, consisting of Gishwati Forest Reserve and Mukura Forest Reserve. The two magical forests straddle along the ridge that separates the Congo and Nile water catchment areas. Given its strategic location, the park features mostly the diverse Albertine Rift endemic species in Western Rwanda.
Gishwati Forest occupies an area of 14.3972sq.kms and Mukura Forest Reserve sits in the area of 19.8774sq.kms. Gishwati-Mukura National Park lies close to Volcanoes National Park which is situated in the Northern Province of Rwanda about 2-3 hours’ drive from Kigali capital city.
Wildlife in Gishwati Mukura National Park
Tourists in Gishwati-Mukura National Park have a lot more to discover. Over 20 chimpanzees live in this park plus other primate species such as the blue monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, golden monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys; Red River hogs, Southern 3 hyrax, reptiles like bush vipers, chameleons; butterflies.
The flora of Gishwati-Mukura National Park is comprised of approximately 60 species of trees and they range from hardwood to bamboo.
- Bird species in Gishwati-Mukura National Park
With a camera and pair of binoculars, one has an opportunity to sight an estimated 232 different bird species living in Gishwati-Mukura National Park. Diversity in its avifaunal species is what makes it one of the best birding safari sites. Bird lovers on Rwanda safari should consider a must-visit. The majority of the bird species in this park are endemic to the Albertine rift region and forest dwellers. The notable birds to identify on a Rwanda safari in Gishwati-Mukura National Park include Ruwenzori Turacos, wood hoopoes, purple breasted sunbirds, martial eagles, strange weavers, red-throated athlete, wear birds, stripe breasted tit, grey crowned cranes, mountain yellow warblers.
Activities to do in Gishwati-Mukura National Park
- Chimpanzee tracking
Tracking chimpanzees in Gishwati-Mukura National Park rewards trekkers with a rare chimpanzee trekking experience. Although the experience may differ from that in Nyungwe Forest National Park or Uganda’s Kibale Forest National Park with approximately 13 primate species, a visit Gishwati Mukura National Park equally leaves many thrilled. More efforts have been put to restore numbers of chimpanzees in the park by both government and several Non-government Organizations.
With about 232 bird species, a visit to Gishwati-Mukura National Park is worthwhile on the Rwanda birding tour. Despite its size, birding in this protected area lets one identify unique birds including wood hoopoes, martial eagles, strange weavers, wear birds, grey crowned cranes, mountain yellow warblers, Rwenzori Turacos. For an unforgettable birding experience, please visit this park around October and May.
- Hiking/nature walks
For nature enthusiasts, the best way to discover the hidden treasures within and around Gishwati-Mukura National Park is by engaging in a guided nature walks. A nature walk in this park allows one to see numerous species of wildlife including L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys; birds like martial eagles, strange weavers, wood hoopoes, wear birds, grey crowned cranes, mountain yellow warblers, Rwenzori Turacos, old world warblers, white-headed hoopoe. One may also come across unique tree species which are of medicinal importance.
- Best time to visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park
If your plan is to go for bird watching in Gishwati-Mukura National Reserve then the best time to visit the park is in October and May. Visitors who plan to visit the park for hiking can consider traveling around June, July, August, September. However, the park has favorable weather and climatic condition which make it an all-year-round safari destination.
- Where to stay in Gishwati-Mukura National Reserve
Being a new park, there are still fewer safari lodges and accommodations surrounding the park. However, one can spend a night in Gishwati Lodge or Bisate Safari Lodge which is set close to Volcanoes National Park.
- How to get to Gishwati-Mukura National Reserve
Gishwati-Mukura National Reserve is reachable by road or by air. By road, it can be assessed on a road trip in a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle or using public means driving and to Northwestern Rwanda from the capital of Kigali. Driving from Kigali to Gishwati-Mukura National Reserve may last approximately 2 to 3 hours.
In summary, for new experiences, Gishwati-Mukura National Reserve should be one’s top-list destination. Make your road trip easier by booking your Rwanda safari with Mega Wild Safaris and have lots of lasting memories.