Gishwati Mukura National Park is the newest and fourth national park to be added in Rwanda the land of a thousand hills. It was established in 2015 and was recently opened for tourism visitation in 2019. The declaration of Gishwati Mukura National Park forest reserves as the national park was seen as a great effort by the Rwandan government to position itself as a topmost tourism destination in Africa.
After the launch of the Congo Nile trail as an important tourism product, cultural heritage sites, and opening of the Musanze curve, bird watching safaris and trails in the Park has diversified the Rwanda’s tourism products hence boosting the tourism industry in the country.
Gishwati Mukura National Park is situated in the northwestern part of Rwanda in the districts of Rutsiro and Ngororero covering an area of 99.8 hectares which is equivalent to thirteen square miles with a radius of 34 square kilometers. It stretches up to the areas of Ruharo, Kigeyo, and Nyabirisi sectors.
The newborn park Gishwati Mukura national park was the result of intense negotiations that led to the two combinations of two forest reserves that is Gishwaki and Mukula to form the park. This was as the result of continuous illegal forest activities such as mining, farming, and poaching of primates which needed to be stopped to boost tourism.
Gishwati Mukura National Park is comprised of two forest reserves which are known as Gishwati and Mukura Forest Reserves. Gishwati forest reserve is situated adjacent to Lake Kivu National park located in the Northern part of Rwanda and links the Mukura forest reserve. It is believed that Gishwati National park was spread through to Nyungwe forest National park but because of illegal activities, the forest was later isolated.
The combination of Gishwati and Mukura forest reserves has created rich biodiversity of wildlife species which has made the park a prominent destination for tourists in Rwanda. The major implausible wildlife species include baboons, golden monkeys, colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, L’Hoest’s Monkeys, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, black and white Colobus monkeys among others.
Gishwati forest reserve is the biggest forest as compared to Mukura Forest Reserve. Gishwati was one of the forest reserves that spread out to Nyungwe forest National Park and even to those of Uganda and Central African especially those of the Republic of Congo. However, because of illegal Human activities, it was reduced.
On the other hand, the Mukura forest reserve is not as big as the Gishwati forest reserve and because of illegal activities, the forest reserve was left with only 1200 hectares from 2000 which it had a thousand years ago. The forested park had no chimpanzees but currently, the establishment of the corridor extending to Nyungwe has enabled Gishwati Mukura National park to have over 20 groups of chimpanzees alongside other primates
The park harbors 395 species of birds and of which 232 are traced in Gishwati forest reserve while 163 forest reserves are only found in the Mukura forest reserve. The park further is composed of over 60 species of trees which among others include orchids, eucalyptus, and hardwood, and bamboo forests.
Top Attractions in Gishwati Mukura National park
Gishwati Mukura National park is an exciting park offering a breathtaking tourist experience. Gishwati National park features different tourist resource attractions that can be seen by visitors visiting this park. Among the tourist attractions include;
These are the great tourist attraction found in Gishwati Mukura. The presence of the highest number of primates makes this park one of the credible destinations to visit for anyone traveling to Rwanda. In this thickly forested Gishwati Mukura park, numerous primates are identified as black and white colobus monkeys, baboons, golden monkeys, and chimpanzees. These are major primates that can be seen wandering anywhere in the park. Besides primates, there other wildlife species such as duikers and wildlife cats.
Gishwati Mukura National park is the haven to various bird species that you can enjoy while visiting this park. There over 83 bird species including those of endemic to Albertine rift. The common bird species sighted include Ruwenzori Batis, Martial Eagle, Regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori turaco, weaver birds, wood hoopoes, crested cranes, regal sunbird, and many more others.
The nature forest green cover
The park as earlier discussed encompasses two forests which are Gishwati Mukura Forest reserves. The availability of these forest reserves makes it possible for the park to habitat different species and creates a loving environment for nature lovers. There are over 58 species of trees which include bamboos, eucalyptus, Mahogany, Macaranga which are used for research and amazing encounter.