Gishwati Mukura national park
Gishawti Mukura National Park is a combination of two forests, Mukura smaller forest, and Gishwati larger forest, it is the most recent conservation area gazette in Rwanda, the national park is one of the few remaining forests along the Congo Nile divide within the great Albertine region, it lies in both Rutsiro and Ngororero districts in the western province of Rwanda. The forests have had a long history of Human encroachment more so in the Gishawti, in the 1930’s the size of the forest was up to 700square kilometers and by the 2002 its size had greatly been reduced to only 6 square kilometers, thanks to the continued conservation policies by the government, today both areas cover a total space of 35.58 square kilometers. The park was recently gazetted in 2005 as a way of protecting the chimpanzees. It is among the least visited destination areas.
The Flora and fauna of the national park give visitors a unique composition of the locality in the bio-diverse region, the flora comprises a mixed montane forest, bamboo, swamp vegetation, forests, which are homes to wildlife in the national park, and most of the wildlife in the conservation area are primates, it’s common resident is the chimpanzee, other species include the Golden Monkey, l’hoest monkey, mammals like the civets, Ruwenzori sun squirrel, serval, side stripped jackal, servaline gente, three-horned chameleon, and over 280 bird species have been recorded to date.
Things to do in the national park include Chimpanzee tracking, the activity is one of the best engaging activities in the national park, chimpanzee is said to share a close DNA with humans, they are a social, intelligent species known to have the ability to use tools, Chimpanzee lives in troops, they love nesting in the canopy trees, tracking begins in the morning with a briefing, en route you will have a great experience as the park ranger will be guiding you through the forest. A waterfall hike is one of the few things to do while in the forest, the walk is filled with nature.
Gishwati National Park is a suitable location for Rwanda birding tours, you will be amazed by how many birds you can view in a day, 126 bird species live in Gishwati national park, 14 of which are endemic to the destination, the most common bird is the purple breasted sunbird. Ruwenzori turaco, great blue turaco, crimson dusky crimson wing, handsome francolin, grey crowned crane.
Other park experiences include guided nature walk through the trails of the forest, handcraft making, and beekeeping in the local community, farmers can share their experiences on how they have contributed to the conservation of the park, and sightseeing of the angelic tea plantations is a must for travelers. Hiking and bicycling through the Congo trail, offers some of the best East African experiences, it stretches through Getting to the park can be by road from Kigali, it is situated in the northern province of Rwanda, the distance by road from Kigali takes approximately 3-hour drive to arrive at the destination.