Gishwati Mukura National Park – Rwanda

Gishwati Mukura is Rwanda’s newest national park was gazetted in 2015. The 32 sq. km park is made up of two separate forests, Gishwati and Mukura, which are about 50km apart but are connected by an area that was reforested. It is situated in the Albertine Rift on a ridge that divides the Congo and Nile water catchment areas in the western part of Rwanda.

The park is a mix of montane rainforest, bamboo forests, and grasslands. These are home to a variety of wildlife, including chimpanzees, golden monkeys, L’Hoest’s, and Blue Monkeys, and a variety of bird species.

Things to do in Gishwati Mukura

1. Chimpanzee Tracking

There is one group of 20 chimpanzees in Gishwati Mukura National Park and chimpanzee tracking will allow you to meet them. You will be led by experienced trackers into the dense forest where you will observe these fascinating primates in their natural habitat. You will spend one hour with the chimpanzees learning about their behavior and social dynamics.

Black and white colobus monkey in Nyungwe National Park

2. Primate Trekking

Apart from chimpanzees, there is a variety of other primates like the rare golden monkeys, l’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and blue monkeys. You will be able to see these during guided primate treks in the park.

3. Hiking and Nature Walks

Gishwati Mukura National Park has a network of scenic hiking routes that cater to all skill levels.

Hiking in this park will have you trekking through dense forests, crossing meandering streams, and up to panoramic viewpoints where you can take in breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. So, lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails!

4. Birdwatching

With over 130 bird species recorded within the park, including several endemic and migratory species, you are in for a treat. These include the Rwenzori Turaco, Mountain buzzard, Regal sunbird, and the rare Grauer’s Swamp Warbler.

You can join a birdwatching tour led by knowledgeable guides who can help you identify various species and share insights into their behavior and habitat. Just bring your bird guidebook and camera to capture the park’s rich avian diversity.

Budongo Forest birding

5. Waterfall Visits

Wander through the forest to discover the beautiful Kazaneza waterfalls tucked away in the middle of the park. You can swim in the cool waters or simply enjoy the serene beauty of the surroundings.

Best time to visit Gishwati Mukura

The best time to visit Gishwati Mukura National Park is during the dry season from June to September. This is the best time for hiking as the trails are less slippery and the weather is generally sunny, making it more pleasant for outdoor activities.

The wet season, particularly from October to May, is excellent for bird watching. The birds are more vocal during this time making them easier to spot.

Getting There

Gishwati Mukura National Park is accessible by a 2-to-3-hour drive from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. The journey to the park offers stunning views of the Rwandan countryside and its rolling hills.

We offer transportation with a guide to the park but if you are feeling adventurous, you can drive yourself to the park.

Entry Requirements

Visitors to the park are required to obtain permits for activities such as chimpanzee trekking and guided nature walks. It’s advisable to book your permits in advance to secure your spot.

Where To Stay

Since the park is still new, there are limited lodging options within the park itself. However, nearby towns and villages offer a range of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. From cozy guesthouses to luxury eco-lodges, there’s something for every type of traveler.

Its proximity to Lake Kivu and Volcanoes National Park means you can still visit the park and then retire to lodges in these areas.

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