Need to get the best of authentic and fresh experiences while on African safari but you do not know which destination to visit? Well, if this has always been your dream then Gishwati Mukura National Park has it all. This is remarkably that one unique and most pristine national park to make your dreams come true while on safari in Africa. This exceptional national park lies suitably on the Congo Nile Divide, west of Rwanda. It was gazetted in 2015 making it not only Rwanda’s newest national park but also the 4th to be established in this country. Its creation was mainly to offer refuge to its biodiversity and it is best referred as a miracle park.
What to see in Gishwati Mukura National Park
Gishwati Mukura National Park is a home to varied wildlife species and they include among others the Red River hogs, Southern 3 hyrax, about five species of primates-the eastern chimpanzees, blue monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys; more than 130 bird species, 20 of these are endemic to Albertine area. Initially, it formed part of a single track of forest which extended from the north connecting Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park. About 58 tree species exist in this park including the bamboo and hardwoods. It covers an area of about 34.3 square kilometers comprising of both Gishwati and Mukura forest reserves.
Things to do in Gishwati Mukura National Park
Being a newly established national park, Gishwati Mukura National Park is that one remarkable destination to get you the best of authentic experiences. A trip to this national park takes you through the following exciting safari activities;
Chimpanzee tracking is Gishwati Mukura National Park’s premier safari activity and for any plans to visit this park, it should be a must to do primate adventure. This adventure may not be like that in Nyungwe Forest National Park where there are more than 13 primate species but it equally rewards travel endeavors with amazing encounters. The chimpanzees that thrived here nearly got extinct due to poaching and habitat loss. However, change was realized after collective efforts from the Rwanda government and other NGOs which rose to support conservation of this forest and its wildlife species. Chimpanzee treks here equally kick start with early morning briefing on dos and don’ts from one of the park officials.
Hiking and nature walks
If you are a nature lover, a visit to Gishwati Mukura National Park gets you a great opportunity to explore its hidden treasures. A nature walk in this park, means a great chance for you to catch a glimpse at varied primate species including the black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, L’Hoest monkeys as well as some of the incredible tree species like mahogany, ferns, macaranga kilimand, bamboo, butterflies and many more. Alternatively, you can embark on hike through the park’s hiking trails which lead you up to the scenic kazeneza waterfall.
Gishwati Mukura National Park features among a few most significant birding sites in Rwanda. A birding tour in this park gets the best sights at varied Albertine rift endemic birds. The birds to spot out include regal sunbird, Rwenzori Turaco, Mountain yellow warblers, martial eagles. Weaver birds, strange weaver, wood hoopoes, red throated alethe and others.
Besides wildlife experiences, this park is also ideal for cultural safaris. Cultural encounters can be done in nearby local communities at the park and while on cultural tour here, you have a chance to enjoy unique dances, drama performances as well as pay a visit to the traditional healers, learn how traditional meals are prepared or have a hand in craft making among others.
When to visit Gishwati Mukura National Park
Rwanda features one of the best climatic conditions that favor its visitors who come to spend their holiday. A visit to this park can be done at any time of the year however, it is important that you take note of the two seasons-the dry and wet season while you plan for your holiday to this park. The dry season normally kick starts from December to February and June to September. This season is characterized by low rainfall down pour and the habitat remains relatively drier thus making it favorable for one to walk through while in search of chimpanzees. The wet season on the other hand is ideal and starts from March to May then from October to November.
Where to stay
Visitors on Rwanda safari to Gishwati Mukura National Park can spend a night at Gishwati Lodge. This lodge is a sister facility to Bisate safari lodge in Volcanoes National Park.