Gishwati Lodge is the only luxury lodge that is located inside Gishwati Mukura national park on the western side of Rwanda. Gishwati Mukura national park is the newly established park in Rwanda protecting chimpanzees, golden monkeys, vervet monkeys, civets, blue monkeys, mongoose, black and white colobus monkeys, birds, and different plant species. A stay at Gishwati Lodge will give you an opportunity to encounter all the wildlife in the park.
Chimpanzee trekking is the main done activity in Gishwati-Mukura national park and there is only one habituated family found in Gishwati forest although sometimes they also move to Mukura forest. Gishwati Lodge is the only accommodation found inside the park and can easily be accessed from Kigali city using road transport or air transport to Gisenyi airstrip.
Gishwati Lodge is made up of 6 forest cottages and it can accommodate only 6 people at a time. The rooms at Gishwati lodge have an inside toilet that has a flush, mosquito nets, chairs, and minibar. The lodge has free high-speed internet, free parking, a fitness center, and they do offer airport transportation. The lodge is built right within the park giving stunning views of the surrounding areas with opportunities of encountering some of the park animals roaming.
Gishwati Lodge has well-trained staff that have good customer care, chefs that prepare well-cooked food that is international ad local, and they also have a well-stocked bar that has all kinds of drinks ranging from soft to hard ones. Gishwati Lodge offers activities such as birding watching, nature walks as well as photography. Those that want to trek chimpanzees r golden monkeys can be driven to the park offices but they must have valid trekking permits.
Activities to do while staying at Gishwati lodge
Chimpanzee trekking: Chimpanzee trekking is the most done activity by travelers that stay at Gishwati Lodge in Rwanda. The activity is done in Gishwati-Makura national park and by only those that have valid chimpanzee trekking permits. On the day of chimpanzee trekking, the participants must wake up early in the morning and move to the briefing center where they will learn about the rules and regulations of the activity.
The armed ranger guides lead the trekkers into the jungle where they meet different park animals such as blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, mongoose, birds, and different plant species among others. When the chimpanzees are located, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around them, watch them do daily activities, take photos, and learn about their habits.
Birding: Travelers staying Gishwati Lodge can take part in birding activities around the lodge or Gishwati and Makura forests. During the birding activity, the birders are able to encounter different bird species such as Abyssinian ground-thrush, great blue turaco, grasshopper buzzard, Ruwenzori Batis, Woodhoopoe, black-faced apalis, red-faced barbet, Martial Eagle, Mountain Yellow Warblers, and Ruwenzori Turaco.
Other bird species in this park regal sunbird, cardinal woodpecker, short-tailed warbler, handsome francolin, dusky crimsonwing, purple-breasted sunbird, booted eagle, grauer’s swamp warbler, yellow ramped tinker bird, red-throated alethe, grey crowned crane, yellow-eyed black flycatcher, and strange weaver among others.
Golden monkey trekking: Golden monkey trekking is another activity that can be done by travelers staying at Gishwati Lodge. The trekking activity starts early in the morning with trekkers first going for a briefing and thereafter armed ranger guides lead them into the jungle to search for them. Trekking takes several hours of meeting different park mammals, primates, birds, and different plants. When the golden monkeys are located, the trekkers are given 1 hour to be around them, learn about their habits, watch them do daily activities, take photos among others.
Hiking and nature walks: Travelers staying at Gishwati Lodge have an opportunity of taking part in the hiking and nature walk activities that are always organized in the park. The hiking and nature walk activities are best done in the afternoon and they are led by the armed ranger guides who take participants through different trails of the park such as the waterfall trail, Umushwati trail, and Matyazo trail. During the nature walk, you will meet different park primates, mammals, birds, plants, and Kazenenza waterfalls.
Community tours: Travelers staying at Gishwati Lodge can spare some time and take a visit to the nearby communities. During the community visit, they will be guided by members from the community who will take them through different homes, watch the members do day to day activities, be part of food preparations, visit art and craft shops, and in the end, you will be entertained by the local traditional dancers through dances and drama.
When to stay at Gishwati lodge
Travelers can stay at Gishwati lodge at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest. The drier months of June to September and December to February are the best months to stay at Gishwati lodge because they are characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall, the roads leading to the lodge are passable. During the dry months, the trekking trails in the park are less slippery, the vegetation is short giving clear views of the animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Travelers can still visit Gishwati lodge in the rainy season which happens from March to May and October to November. During the rainy months, there is plenty of rainfall which makes the roads leading to the load impassable, and the nature walk trails around the park slippery. In Gishwati-Makura national park, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall giving unclear views of animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable.
Other accommodation facilities you can use while on a safari in Gishwati-Mukura national park
Gishwati Lodge is not the only accommodation to use while in Gishwati-Mukura national park because there are so many accommodation facilities that are built outside the park. These accommodation facilities do range from budget to mid-range to luxury options they 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.