Gishwati – Mukura National Park is located in the western part of Rwanda as one of the newly national parks in Rwanda. The great effort put forth by the government of Rwanda to position the country as a leading tourism destination in East and Central Africa resulted an opening of Gishwati-Mukura National Park. The park was created in 2015 merging together from Gishwati Forest in north and Mukura Forest in south making it the smallest with 34 square kilometers and least visited national park in Rwanda.
Despite the fact that Gishwati Mukura National Park is between Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park, it harbors various primates, birds, reptiles and tree species such as chimpanzees, baboons, golden monkeys, Lhotse’s Monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Over 100 species of birds can be sighted here are the Old World Warbler, Mountain Yellow Warbler and White-headed Woodhoopoe, expect to encounter brown forest frogs, toads, chameleons and bush vipers and many more.
Are you wondering about when to visit Gishwati Mukura National Park?
Mukura-Gishwati has better weather unlike the Volcanoes National Park because of its mountains and high altitude, the Volcanoes National Park can be very cold during certain months of the year. The newly park receives two seasons that is rainy and dry seasons annually. The rainy season comes between March to May and October to November whereas December to June and June to August are considered dry season. Tour visitors are organized throughout the year but the best time to visit is during the dry season.
If you’re planning to track the chimps or other primates ensure that you visit during the dry season to avoid the mud, over grown bush and slippery paths. The wet season has its own advantages. This is a time of plenty for the animals in the forest. The primates do not move deep into the forest in search of food like they do during the dry season. It is also important to note that rains should be expected at any time of the year because of the vast forests.
What are some of the activities taking place in the park?
The major activity taking place in the park is chimpanzees trekking which is accessed by booking permits. Just like other primate parks like mgahinga national park in Uganda and Budongo forest , most of the tracking starts in the morning hours with a briefing about the dos and don’ts of chimpanzee trekking . Visitors are guided by game rangers who protect them from wild animals in the forest. While searching for chimpanzees in the forest, visitors are able to view birds and other mammals like monkeys, duikers and trees. During the tracking, visitors are briefed on what to wear that is having long trousers, long stocking, long t-shirt, comfortable hiking boots, cameras, rain coat, water and snacks.
The Gishwati Mukura National park is one of the best bird watching parks in Rwanda .The recorded bird species are over 83 however 15 species can only be spotted in the Albertine Rift like the Grey Crowned Crane, Martial Eagle, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-throated Alethe, Regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, Ruwenzori Turaco, Weaver birds, Wood hoopoes, Strange weavers and the Stripe-breasted Tit.
Due to the fact that the park is new, it’s highly explored to discover what in the park and visitors are given much tension and more private visits by the community guides. Consider visiting the local communities living in the park for a more complete experience of Rwanda and Africa. The local people are extremely friendly and will be eager to entertain while showcasing their culture through dance, music and drama. During the morning or evening walk in the forest, visitors will have an opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty of the forest and its creatures like butterflies, chameleons, insects, birds and primates
How to access Gishwati-Mukura National Park
Due to the fact that the newly fourth park was established in 2015, it is between volcano national park and Nyungwe forest national park. The distance from both national parks isn’t far from the newly one for example the distance from volcano national park to Gishwati Mukura National park is only 27 kilometers. The park is also easily accessible from Kigali by road or chattered flight. A flight takes 45 minutes to the park whereas 2-3 hours by road.