Gishwati-Mukura National Park is the newly gazetted Protected Area in the North-western side of the Land of a thousand Hills. With the creation of this wonderful Forest National Park at the end of 2016, travelers have more wonderful things to see and do during Rwanda safaris. This Park offers tourists with the sights of mammals such as the Red river hogs and Southern tree hyrax, more than 5 species of primates including the Eastern Chimpanzees and 100 species of birds of which 20 species are Albertine Rift endemics. Therefore, the amazing activities to expect within this destination include;

Chimpanzee tracking

Although there are less than 20 of these Apes in this National Park, Chimpanzee tracking is undeniably one of the important activities to enjoy during Rwanda safaris. Much as the feeling is not like it is in Nyungwe Forest National Park where more of these primates are found, the experience is equally authentic because fewer tourists visit the Park hence will have the entire Park to yourself.  It is said that the Chimpanzees of this site were almost getting extinct around a decade ago due to poaching and habitat loss but this changed drastically after the combined efforts of the Government of Rwanda and several Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to conserve the Forest and the remaining wildlife species. Just like it is in other places, the activity starts with briefing on the tracking guidelines and tourists have to dress appropriately for this exciting adventure.

Hiking and nature walks

This is probably one of the must-do activities in this Forest National Park because it allows visitors to get in touch with the wonders of the jungle that include primates such as blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys and golden monkeys, over 60 species of tress including mahogany, orchids, Macaranga kilimand, blue lichens, tree ferns and bamboo, colorful butterflies as well as some mammals like the southern tree hyrax and the Red river hogs among others. Not only that, several amphibians such as the brown forest frogs and reptiles like the bush vipers and chameleons are likely to be sighted during nature walks. Besides the wildlife species, hiking trails also lead tourists to the breathtaking Kazeneza waterfalls in the middle of the Forest.

Bird watching

There is nothing as exciting as enjoying the sights and sounds of the singing birds in the jungle and this Park will offer you that exciting experience. There are more than 100 species of birds including 20 Albertine rift endemic that call this Park home, thus it is not an overstatement to say it’s a true birder’s paradise. It is one of the hot spots for bird watching in the land of a thousand hills and interestingly among the best Birding Areas in the country because of the small size of the Forest. Notable bird species to expect during this adventurous activity include the wood hoopoes, Rwenzori Turaco, Mountain yellow warblers, Regal sunbird, grey crowned cranes, species of weaverbirds, strange weaver, Rwenzori Batis, the red-throated Alethe, Martial eagle and many others. The most interesting thing about birding in the Park is that there are high chances of sighting new bird species.

Cultural experiences

Besides natural wonders, visiting Gishwati-Mukura National Park offers tourists with the opportunity of interacting with the local community members surrounding the area. A number of NGOs and Conservation bodies including the “Great Ape Trust partner with the local community members and the Rwanda Development Board to develop community development Projects with interesting activities for tourists to enjoy. Some of the tourist activities developed in these projects include entertainment in dance and drama, visit to the traditional healers, preparation of traditional dishes and hand craft making among others.

In conclusion, Gishwati-Mukura National Park is a one of Rwanda’s must-visit destinations because it offers interesting activities such as bird watching, chimpanzee tracking, nature walks or hiking and cultural encounters, that tourists can enjoy during Rwanda safaris.