Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Gishwati-Mukura National Park is the newest addition to the national parks in Rwanda, bringing the total number of Rwanda national parks to four. Gishwati-Mukura National Park adds to Volcanoes National Park famous for gorilla trekking safaris in Rwanda, Nyungwe Forest National Park most known for chimpanzee tracking, golden monkey tracking and the canopy walk, and the only savannah national park in Rwanda;-Akagera National Park from where travelers can enjoy wildlife safaris. Rwanda’s latest addition, Gishwati-Mukura National Park, is made up of two separate forests, the larger Gishwati forest and Mukura forest which is relatively smaller, making up a total area of 34 square kilometers of space as well as a buffer zone that Park occupies.
Gishwati-Mukura National Park sits on the ridge which divides the Congo and the Nile water catchment areas, along the beautiful Albertine Rift valley. Gishwati-Mukura National Park, regulated by the Rwanda Development Board, is located in Rutsiro and Ngororero districts in the northwestern part of Rwanda, with towns of Rubavu and Karongi being the nearest to the park. The Park has an altitude of 2000-3000m above sea level, and receives annual rainfall of 1200-1500mm. Park was elevated to national park status in 2016 by the government of Rwanda with an aim to increase the number of trees to improve soil fertility and to stabilize slopes and regulate stream flow. In addition, the livelihood of the people living within the Park would be improved with the coming of tourists given there are community-based activities that can be done by travelers who do visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park of Rwanda.
Attractions in Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Gishwati-Mukura National Park has wonderful landscapes which are a great sight especially at the top view. Below are the key attractions in the Park that travelers can see when they do visit on a Rwanda safari tour in the park;
Wildlife in Gishwati-Mukura National Park
The wildlife in Gishwati-Mukura National Park is one of the top attractions in the park that travelers who do visit can enjoy. The most prominent of the wildlife in Gishwati-Mukura National Park are the eastern chimpanzees and golden monkeys which travelers can have an opportunity to encounter on various activities in Gishwati-Mukura National Park. Other wildlife in Gishwati-Mukura National Park that can be seen in the park include mountain monkeys, serval genet, African civet, side-striped jackal, Ruwenzori sun squirrel, Great Lakes bush viper, chameleons, among so many others. All the wildlife in Gishwati-Mukura National Park can be enjoyed with activities like wildlife exploration which is possible in the park.
Birds in Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Gishwati-Mukura National Park has a record of over 126 bird species, with about 14 bird species being endemic to the libertine Rift Valley area. The Purple-breasted sunbird has the highest population in Gishwati-Mukura National Park, with other bird species like regal sunbirds, blue-headed sunbird, the Great blue-turaco, Rwenzori turaco, Dusky Crimson wing, martial eagle, gray-crowned crane, handsome francolin, Mountain Sooty Boubou, Rwenzori Apalis, Kivu Ground Thrush, Archer’s Ground Robin, Strange weaver among so many others are some of the birds that travelers keen on birding safaris in Rwanda can encounter while in the Park of Rwanda.
The amazing flora of Gishwati-Mukura National Park is spectacular and shall leave travelers amazed. Gishwati-Mukura National Park has about over 60 plant species recorded in the park like the Giant tree fern, Carapa grandiflor, prunus Africana among others are some of the tree species travelers shall surely come cross while in the park.
Trails and waterfalls
Trails and waterfalls are some of the most fascinating attractions in Gishwati-Mukura National Park that travelers can enjoy while on nature walks in the park. With the trails in the Park, tourists can enjoy activities like hiking, chimpanzee trekking, biking, birding safaris, community visits and nature walks in the park. Waterfalls in the Park are located on different rivers like Pfunda, Sebeya River, Secoko River, Rucanzogera River and Satinyisi River.
Local tribes and culture
There are a number of local community products and projects that tourists on a visit to Rwanda can enjoy while in Gishwati-Mukura National Park. These products and projects done at community level include traditional medicine, handicraft making, bee keeping, cattle faming, homestay, traditional dances and songs and camping, among others. Travelers can get to enjoy these with cultural or community visits in and around the park, all year through.
Activities in Gishwati-Mukura National Park
With so much attractions in the Park, there are also a number of activities in the park that travelers can enjoy, say chimpanzee tracking, guided nature hikes, monkey tracking, bird watching, biking and cultural/community visits can all be done in the park.
How to get to Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Depending on one’s location, Gishwati-Mukura National Park can be reached by road. There re regular buses that operate from Kigali to Rubavu that travelers can use to get to the park eventually, taking about 3 hours on the road. From Rubavu town, one can connect to the Park, by booking taxis to take you further into the park given the buses have limits. Having a tour operator transport you is a much better option for you are not much disturbed.
When to visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
The Park can be visited all throughout the year. Given that the Park has a relatively high elevation, and that Rwanda is a naturally mountainous country that enjoys cool and sunny tropical climate, clothing should be carried according to season; light clothing during the hot season and warm clothing when it is a wet season.
Accommodation in Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Accommodation in the Park can be had at the low cost secure camping sites available around the park, the Sunshine Gishwati Research Centre accommodation cn also be used, be sure to book in advance though. There are also various hotels in the nearest towns of Rubavu and Karongi, outside the park definitely.
The Park though a newly added national park in Rwanda, is a great tourist destination especially for primate and nature lovers. Incorporate the Park on your Rwanda safari itinerary and get to explore this newest Rwanda national park.