GISHWATI MUKURA NATIONAL PARK.
This is the newly established national park in Rwanda along the volcanoes, forests this place is also known as the land of a thousand hills and its one of the top tourist destinations in the country.
This national park is known for the two forest reserve which are Gishwati and Mukura forest reserve. The national park though was established in 2015, it was opened in 2019 for the general public by the Rwandan Government.
The formation of the national park was aiming at increasing the number of trees in both forests of Mukura and Gishwati forest Reserve in order to improve the soil fertility and stabilize slopes of hills within the reserves, and regulate the flow of water.
What you have to know about the Gishwati Mukura national park.
Gishwati forest had a large portion of land and 80% of this was covered by forest not until 1994 Rwandan Genocide that made thousands of people to flee and settle in these forests reserve. From then a large group of people started digging up and cutting down the forest to them cultivation areas and settlement set up. Most of the wildlife were killed, trees were cut.
Previously, the forest of Gishwati is extending westwards as far as L. Kivu and stretching into the tropical rainforest of Democratic Republic of Congo the southern part of the forest. The southern part of Gishwati also stretched into Nyungwe forest. By 2001, only a small portion at Gishwati forest reserve was left covering about 1500 acres only of 250000 acres that the forest had. In addition, this area became to experience a tremendous amount of soil erosion, degradation and landslides. At present, large tea states occupy the central and northern parts of the forest reserve.
However, in 2007, the Gishwati Area Conservation Progress (GACP) was introduced in the collaboration with the government of Rwanda and Great Ape Trust. The main aim of this programme was to create a national conservations park in order to protect the rich bio diversity of Gishwati forest area. A Rwandan non- governmental Organization, currently managing the Gishwati area conservation program. This organization has been able to successfully restore 67% of the Gishwati Forest.
The New Park in Rwanda spans over 68km which makes it a smallest national park in the country the new national park is situated on the edge of the Congo Nile Basin, and is composed of over 60 tree species including the indigenous hardwoods and bamboo. The national park also shelters a group of 20 chimpanzees, as well as other primate species like golden monkeys, Blue monkeys and other monkeys
This national park is also having over 350 different bird species of birds to add to its list of attractions in the park. Of these, 232 bird species have been found in the Gishwati forest and over 160 species found in the Mukura forest reserve.
ACTIVITIES AT GISHWATI MUKURA NATIONL PARK
This national park is the best place for bird watching. The park recorded over 350 bird species and over 16 species that can only be found in this national park some of the common bird include, grey crowned crane, martial eagle, mountain yellow warblers, purple –breasted sunbird, red –throated Alethe, wood hoopoes, Rwenzori batis, Rwenzori turaco- Weaver birds, strange weaver and many others. The guides will help you to sport the favorite bird species.
This national park has a number of primates of which the number of the Chimpanzees that had been reduced due to poaching. The number has been increased by the government intervention of the government with the support from international wildlife conservation agencies. While visiting the park, you should expect to see golden monkey, blue monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees and many others. The habituation process is to make sure that they are not afraid of the humans. The chimpanzee tracking like all park activities start with a briefing from the park officers about the activity, expectations and what to carry along. While on a primate safari in Gishwati, visitors are almost certain to encounter other forest creatures like wild cats, duikers and forest birds.
There are other activities include, cultural encounters, hiking and guided nature walks, cycling through the Congo Nile Trail.
Accommodation at Gishwati Mukura National Park
Visitors coming to Giswati Mukura National park will be able to get accommodation in the newly set up Gishwati Lodge. It’s a simple eco- friendly lodge with 6 different cottages and able to accommodate 12 guests with both international and delicious local means.
Directions to the Gishwati Mukura National Park
This national park is located 157 kilometers from the countries ‘capital Kigali of which can take 3 -4-hour drive to Gishwati Mukura national park. Though the park can be accessed through the Uganda’s Mgahinga and the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.