Wildlife Encounters

Gishwati Mukura National Park

Gishwati Mukura National Park : Established in 2015, Gishwati Mukura is the newest National Park located in the Northwestern part of Rwanda. The main goal of the park’s formation was for wildlife conservation purposes, especially for the chimpanzees that are inhabitants there. The park is made up of Mukura and Gishwati forests and sits on a 34 square kilometres making it the smallest of them all. It is apparently the most famous National Park in Rwanda for Rwanda Primate safaris. The park enables people to discover animals that live in the Albertine region.

Attractions in Gishwati Mukura National Park

Animal species

There are different attractive animals in Gishwati Mukura National Park that include Primates like chimpanzees which are the most common, you can also see buffalos and other large mammals like African Palm Civets, Serval Cats, Side Striped Jackals, Giant Pouched Rats, Bush Pigs, and Giant Pouched Rats in the forest.

On a safari in this park you will be able to encounter other primate species besides the chimpanzees that are the commonest their like, olive baboons, white and black colobus monkeys, among others.

Bird species

Gishwati Mukura National Park is one of the best places in the world with attractive and beautiful bird species that are over 150 bird species. The park is a home of bird species like, like the Grey Crowned Crane, African hill babbler, Cinnamon-chested bee-eater, Mountain buzzard, Red-chested flufftail, Narina trogon, Scaly-throated honeyguide and among others.

Activities to do at Gishwati Mukura National Park

Chimpanzee trekking

The main safari activity in Gishwati Mukura National Park is chimpanzee trekking. It starts with a briefing at the park headquarters early in the morning about the rules and guidelines to follow while carrying out chimpanzee trekking safari. After briefing, you might be split up into different groups led by experienced guides who take you through the forests on different trekking trails to find these chimpanzees, which are related to humans because they share 98.8% of our DNA and along the way, you will be able to observe various biodiversity while looking for the chimpanzees.

Chimpanzee trekking safari can take about thirty minutes to four hours to find the chimpanzees. Once the chimps are located, you are allowed an hour to be in their presence while watching the chimpanzees play, eat, care for their young ones, and do other things. After the one hour, return to the starting point to receive your chimpanzee trekking certificates for taking part in the trekking.

Bird watching

Gishwati Mukura National Park is a birder’s paradise with over 150 different kinds of birds. Some of these endangered birds like the Rwenzori Blue Turaco live in the Albertine Rift. Other bird species encountered in this park include the Martial Eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, grasshopper buzzard, Yellow-eyed black flycatcher, Scaly-throated honey guide, regal sunbird, strange weaver, African hill babbler and many more.

Gishwati Mukura National Park
Scaly-throated honey guide

Guided nature walks and hiking

One may also consider going on a guided nature walk and hiking, knowledgeable guides or armed guard guides are used. The walk gives you a chance to encounter almost all the park corners and different trails like waterfall trail, Umushwati trail, Matyazo trail, and others while spotting the incredible wildlife in the park. On this walk, you get to see the Kazenenza Waterfall, as well as a number of primates, animals, and different bird species.

Cultural experiences

Tourists on Rwanda safari take part in culture tours with the local people who live along the tourist routes. They can learn about their local way of living by watching them go about their daily business in the neighborhood like listening to their stories, watching them perform traditional songs and dancing. In addition, seeing traditional healers who use local plants to heal a wide range of illnesses, visitors can learn how to make crafts, participate in gastronomy, and do lots of other things here on a safari in the park.

Biking/Cycling through the Congo Nile Trail

Tourists love the trail in Gishwati Mukura National Park because it is the best place to go for the perfect biking tours in the park. The path was made along the shores of Lake Kivu and then through the middle of Nyungwe forest.  Congo Nile Trail is close to Gishwati-Mukura National Park. It gives tourists a chance to see countryside of Rwanda.

Best time to visit Gishwati Mukura National Park

Gishwati Mukura National Park is a fantastic year-round destination. The best times to visit are from June to September and December to February due to the dry weather, which means less rain. This makes the chimpanzee trekking paths less slippery and messy, ensuring a better experience. During the dry season, the park’s foliage is also shorter and less dense, making it easier to spot animals.

If you plan to visit between March to May or October to November, you can explore the park independently and have a higher chance of encountering chimpanzees because food is abundant throughout the park. Additionally, you might save on accommodation costs since there are fewer tourists during these periods.

Where to stay

Gishwati Mukura National Park offers tourists with the wonderful accommodation facilities during their safari in the park. The different options range from luxury, mid-range to budget options. Including Gishwati Lodge, Emeraude Kivu resort, INZU lodge, Peace guest hotel, Uwinka campsite, Comoran Lodge, among others.

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