Gishwati - Mukura National Park

Gishwati Mukura National Park

Rwanda is known mainly for three major national parks but of recent, the fourth national park, Gishwati Mukura National Park was introduced and opened for tourism. The park is currently made up of two separate forests – the larger Gishwati and small Mukura, hence the name, Gishwati Mukura National Park. The two forests sit on a total of 34 Km2 plus a buffer zone.

Lying on the ridge which divides the Congo and Nile water catchment areas, along the incredibly biodiverse Albertine Rift in the west of the country, Gishwati Mukura National Park is proud to host over 60 tree species including the indigenous hardwoods and bamboo. Gishwati Mukura National Park is also a habitat of 20 chimpanzee groups which reside here alongside the golden monkeys, L’Hoest’s, and the Blue-furred Monkeys. Not to miss to see in the park are the birds too, with over 232 species in Gishwati and 163 species in Mukura forests of the park of which among them, among them Albertine Rift Endemic species and forest specialists. Gishwati is currently part of an ambitious landscape restoration program. Activities in the park are due to begin in 2019 and include a guided nature hike, guided chimp, and monkey tracking, bird watching and a visit to the waterfalls.

Gishwati Mukura national Park is popular because of its flora and fauna. This preserved area offers an unbelievable diversity hence providing passage for free movement of these primates such as chimpanzees, white and black colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, blue monkeys, L Hoest monkeys and other different species of mammals. The park has also around 60 species of trees that includes hard wood and bamboo.

Among the activities that have been re-established to preserve these forests include rehabilitating natural forest and improving land management in the agricultural lands and also making known the various methods of silvo pastoralism in the central Gishwati reserve.

This park is among the top birding spots of Rwanda, birding can be done on foot through the jungle, over 84 bird species stay there. It being small is an added advantage to birding since it makes it easy to watch birds.

Nature walks and Hiking; There are a number of trails in the park which are used for guided walks and hiking by tourists through the forests. This gives visitors a great view of the beauty of this park while on foot and also some hidden wildlife like butterflies and birds can be spotted during hikes.

Since the Gishwati-Mukura was occupied by people, as the government and other conservationists tried to revive it again, they had to come up with ways in which the surrounding communities could benefit from tourism hence coming up with products such as traditional healing, dance and drama, and handicraft making.

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