Gishwati Mukura National Park

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Gishwati Mukura National Park

Gishwati Mukura National Park is Rwanda’s fourth national park, made up of two separate forests – the larger Gishwati and small Mukura, forming a total of 34 sq km plus a buffer zone.

The Gishwati-Mukura National Park is home to a troupe of 20 chimpanzees as well as golden monkeys, L’Hoest, and Blue Monkeys. The park has almost 400 bird species with 232 bird species living in the Gishwati Forest and 163 bird species seen in the Mukura Forest.

Top Things to Do in Gishwati -Mukura National Park

Chimpanzee trekking

Chimpanzee Trekking is one of the main activities done in the park. The trekking starts in the morning at 6:00 am by entering the jungle to hike for seeing these primates though they are not yet habituated.

Hiking and Nature walks

The 4-mile waterfall trail leads to the Kazenenza waterfall. During your hike you spot different plantations that are only found in Gishwati Mukura National Park and Nyungwe National Park like Igishigishigi in this park we have 2 known waterfalls that are so rewarding for tourists who really wish to discover this park. The Umushwati Trail is a 5-mile trek through the heart of the forest that can be approached as an out-and-back route or used to connect to either of the other park trails. The Matyazo Hill Trail is a steep, almost 2-mile ascent to a hilltop with elevated forest views.

Birds watching in Gishwati Mukura National Park

The park has over 235 species of birds recorded in this forest including the endangered Albertine rift like Rwenzori Blue Turaco. Some of the birds to find in the Gishwati Mukura National Park are Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Rwenzori Batis, Woodhoopoe, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Martial Eagle, Strange weave, Grey Crowned Crane, Dusky Crimson wing, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Red-throated Alethe.

Cultural Encounters / Community-Based Tours

Cultural encounters in Gishwati involve visits to the local communities or individual homesteads. Visitors can learn how to make local crafts and prepare traditional foods. You can choose to visit the local farmers in their gardens or stay for a night in one of the homes to experience the kind of life lived by the locals. Alternatively, you can choose to go and attend local cultural performances including dance, drama, songs, and storytelling. If you are more adventurous, you could visit one of the traditional healers and learn how herbs are collected from the forests to cure common human ailments. The Great Ape Trust has partners with the Rwanda Development Board to support cultural dances, and drama to promote local art.

Biking or cycling via the Congo Nile Basin

Biking or cycling activity in Gishwati Mukura National Park is conducted on the Congo Nile Trail. The Congo Nile basis provides an adventurous and thrilling experience to travelers exploring this trail. This stunning was designed in such a way that it passes through Lake Kivu and then connects to Nyungwe Forest National Park. The Congo Nile basin is adjacent to Gishwati-Mukura National Park providing travelers an opportunity to reconnoiter rural Rwanda and immerse in Rwandan culture.

Where to Stay in Gishwati Mukura National Park

Forest of Hope Guest House and Camp Site.

The guest house consists of two en-suite rooms. Both have two twin beds, mosquito nets, hot water, electricity, WiFi, and a private terrace with sweeping forest views.

The campsite is unserved and only suitable for self-catering guests. Toilet and shower facilities, a small fireplace, a barbeque stand, and water for cleaning and cooking are available. Laundry is available on request at an additional fee.

How to get to Gishwati Mukura National Park

From Rubavu. follow the road through Kivu-Goma-Karongi-Rusizi-then Gishwati Makura National Park. This will take 2 hours drive. The distance from Kigali to Gishwati Mukura Park is about 2-3 hours journey covering 85km. A chartered flight to the park takes only 45 minutes.

When to visit Gishwati Mukura National Park

Gishwati Mukura National Park boasts two temperate wet seasons and two dry seasons all the year-round. The best time to visit Gishwati Mukura National Park is during the dry season in December – February and June – September. The dry periods present favorable conditions for chimp trekking, hiking birding nature walks among others. During dry seasons the trails in the park are not slippery as compared to the wet seasons.

The wet season is characterized as long and short wet seasons. March-May is the long-wet season and the short-wet season is experienced from October – November.

Best Time to Visit

Visiting Rwanda for gorilla tracking can be done all year round. The best time to travel to Rwanda is during the drier seasons, periods between December to early March and June to September. December to March is a long dry season for Rwanda, with temperatures going up to 29 degrees Celsius for some days while the months of March – Mid May, July to September, on the other hand, are regarded as the rainy in the country

Best time to go: December to February and June to July (Dry seasons)
High Season: June to September (More people visit Uganda since it is the peak time for gorilla tracking)
Low Season: March, April, May, October and November (A number of camps and lodges close)
Best Weather: Mid-December to February (Less rainfall)
Worst Weather: Mid-March to May and mid-August to November (High rainfall, roads can become impassable)

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