Activities in Gishwati-Mukura national park
Activities in Gishwati-Mukura national park are those things that travelers can engage in while on a safari in Gishwati-Mukura national park to make the safari exciting and interesting. Gishwati-Mukura national park is situated in the southwestern part of Rwanda comprising of Gishwati and Mukura forests. Gishwati-Mukura national park protects endangered chimpanzee species and other primates such as olive baboons, blue monkeys, l’hoests monkeys, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys among others.
Activities in Gishwati-Mukura national park are those things that tourists can be part of while on a safari in the park. There are so many tourism activities that can be done in the park and they include chimpanzee trekking, golden monkey trekking, birding, hiking and nature walks, and lastly cultural tours. The Park is easily accessed from Kigali city and it’s open at any time of the year for tourism activities.
Activities in Gishwati-Mukura national park
Chimpanzee trekking: This is by far the most done activity in Gishwati-Mukura forest national park because tourists love spending time with apes that share about 98% of Human DNA. The chimpanzees are endangered species of primates in Rwanda and some of the population can be found in Gishwati-Mukura national park. Chimpanzee trekking in this park is done by those that have valid chimpanzee trekking permits.
Chimpanzee trekking starts with a briefing at the park offices where only 8 people are briefed about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity. Later armed ranger guides are assigned to the group to lead them into the jungle as they search for these apes. During the search, the trekkers are able to meet birds, plant species, and primates such as blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, and much more. When the chimpanzees are located, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these apes, watch them do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits.\
Bird watching: Birding is the second done activity in Gishwati-Mukura national park after chimpanzee trekking, the activity is done best early in the morning but again it can be done in the evening. Birding activities in this park are led by well-trained bird guides who know most of the birds in this park and the best birding spots. During the birding activities in Gishwati-Mukura national park, birders are able to spot birds such as Grauer’s swamp warbler, Abyssinian ground-thrush, Regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, cardinal woodpecker, purple-breasted sunbird, grasshopper buzzard, Woodhoopoe, and black-faced apalis.
Other birds in Gishwati-Mukura national park include red-faced barbet, Strange weave, short-tailed warbler, handsome francolin, Martial Eagle, booted eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, Dusky Crimsonwing, slaty flycatcher, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, yellow ramped tinker bird, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Red-throated Alethe, great blue turaco, grey crowned crane, Ruwenzori Turaco, and strange weaver among others.
Golden monkey trekking: Gishwati-Mukura national park has a lot of primate species and apart from chimpanzees, golden monkeys have been habituated for tourism activities although their population is not as much as that in volcanoes national park. The golden monkey trekking activity starts with a briefing where participants are taught about the dos and don’ts of the trekking activity before armed ranger guides lead them into the jungle. During the search for golden monkeys, trekkers are able to meet other park primates such as blue monkeys, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, black and white monkeys, l’hoest monkeys, birds, and different plant species. When trekkers meet the golden monkeys, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around these apes, watch them do daily activities, take photos and learn about their habits.
Hiking and nature walks: Hiking and nature walks are other activities that can be done in Gishwati-Mukura national park. Nature walk activities in this park are done using different trekking trails such as waterfall trail, Umushwati trail, and Matyazo trail and are guided by armed ranger guides who take you through different hiking trails as they protect you from dangerous wild animals. The nature walk activities in this park give you an opportunity to visit Kazenenza waterfall, meet different park primates, birds as well as plant species.
Cultural experiences: On a visit to Gishwati-Mukura national park, tourists can have cultural tours to the communities around the forest. the cultural tours around Gishwati-Maskura national park do give tourists an opportunity to interact with local people, watch them do dail0y activities, take part in activities in the community, listen to stories from old people, support art and craft shops, and get entertained by the traditional dancers.
The cultural tours are done at a fee which helps to promote communities visited and the activity is led by the local guides. During the community tours around Gishwati-Mukura national park, tourists will be able to learn how to make art and crafts, prepare local food, dance, and much more. You will also meet traditional healers who use plants to cure diseases.
Biking: On safari to Gishwati-Mukura national park, biking along the Congo Nile trail is another activity you can be part of. The Congo Nile trail passes next to this park and taking part in this activity will give you an opportunity to spot some of the park primates such as blue monkeys, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, olive baboons, birds, and different bird species.
What is the best time to visit Gishwati-Mukura national park?
Gishwati-Mukura national park can be visited at any time of the year for different activities but there are months that are better than the rest. The drier months of June to September and December to February are the best to visit Gishwati-Mukura national park because they are characterized by little or no rainfall. This makes the trekking trails less slippery, the vegetation is short giving clear views of the wildlife and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Tourists can still visit Gishwati-Mukura national park in the rainy season of March to May and October to November in order to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. However, during this season, there is plenty of rainfall which makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall giving unclear of animals and birds and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Accommodation on a safari to Gishwati-Mukura national park
Gishwati-Mukura national park has only one lodge that is constructed inside the park and this is called Gishwati Lodge however there are other accommodation facilities ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options where tourists can stay during the safari to the park. These include Emeraude Kivu resort, Golden monkey hotels, INZU Lodge, peace guest hotel, KCCCEM guest house, The Uwinka campsite, Gisakura family hostel, Muhabura Mountain Lodge, and Comoran Lodge among others