How to get to Gishwati-Mukura national park
How to get to Gishwati-Mukura national park? Gishwati-Mukura national park is the newest and fourth national park in Rwanda. The national park that covers a total area of 35 sq. km is located in the western part of the country between Virunga national park and Nyungwe forest national park. Accessing Gishwati-Mukura national park can be done using road transport in one day or Air transport in 45 minutes if you decide to use Gisenyi airport.
Using road transport, one can access Gishwati-Makura national park from Kigali national park and this takes 2-3 hours. From Kigali, you will drive to Rubavu to Kivu to Goma to Rusizi to Gishwati-Mukura national park. Travelers from Uganda’s Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park can access Gishwati-Mukura national park using Katuna border and Cyanika borders.
Activities that can be done in Gishwati-Mukura national park
This is without a doubt the most done activity in Gishwati-Mukura national park. The park is home to a certain population of chimpanzees with some being habituated for chimpanzee trekking activities. The chimpanzee trekking activity is done by those who possess chimpanzee trekking permits and all the participants start with the briefing. The briefing is done at the park offices where trekkers get to learn about the dos and don’ts of the chimpanzee trekking activity.
Armed ranger guides lead the trekkers into the jungle to search for chimpanzees using different trekking trails. During the search, the trekkers are able to meet different park animals such as blue monkeys, golden monkeys, olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys, golden monkeys, mongoose, birds, and different bird species. When the chimpanzees are located, the trekkers are able to learn bout their habits, take photos and watch them do daily activities such as breastfeeding, hunting, nesting, playing, and much more.
Golden monkey trekking
The population of golden monkeys in Gishwati-Mukura national park is not as much as that of the volcanoes national park. There are golden monkeys in this park that are habituated for tourism activities and the trekking activity that only be done by those that have permits. Just like chimpanzee trekking, golden monkey trekking starts with a briefing where trekkers are taught about the dos and don’ts of the activity.
The armed ranger guides lead the trekkers into the jungle and using different trekking trials, they are able to meet some of the park animals like the blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, l’hoests monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, mongoose, civets, birds, and different plant species. Once the golden monkeys are located, 1 hour is given to trekkers to be around them watch them do daily activities, learn about their habits and take photos.
With over 230 bird species, birding is another activity that can be done in Gishwati- Mukura national park. the activity is done with a help of an armed ranger bird guide who leads you to different birding spots in the park. Birding activities in Gishwati-Mukura national park expose you to birds such as Purple-breasted sunbird, booted eagle, Abyssinian ground-thrush, grasshopper buzzard, Grauer’s swamp warbler, Ruwenzori Batis, black-faced apalis, Martial Eagle, Strange weave, short-tailed warbler, Grey Crowned Crane, Dusky Crimsonwing, yellow ramped tinker bird, slaty flycatcher, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Red-throated Alethe, great blue turaco, grey crowned crane, and red-faced barbet among others.
Hiking and nature walks
Hiking and nature walks are other activities one can do during free time while on a safari in Gishwati-Mukura national park. The activities are done with a help of an armed ranger guide through different trails such as waterfall trail, Umushwati trail, and Matyazo trail protecting the participants from dangerous wild animals. The nature walk activities expose tourists to waterfalls in the park, plants, birds, and different primates.
Community tours are some of the activities you can carry out while in Gishwati-Mukura national park. There are several communities around the park where you can take a visit to meet and interact with the local people. The community visits are led by the local people who take you through different homesteads, interacting with people about how they live their day to day life, taste their local food be part of the ceremonies, visit art and craft shops, and in the end get entertained by the traditional dancers.
What is the most appropriate time to visit Gishwati-Mukura national park?
Gishwati-Mukura national park can be visited at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest. the dry months are the best to visit Gishwati-Mukura national park because they are characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall, the trekking trails are less slippery, the vegetation is short giving unclear views of the park animals, and the roads leading the park are passable.
Tourists can still visit Gishwati-Mukura national park in the rainy seasons of March to May and October to November to enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities. During these months, however, there is plenty of rainfall, the trekking trails are muddy and slippery, the roads leading to the park are impassable and the vegetation is always tall in the park giving unclear views of the park’s wildlife.
Where to stay on a safari to Gishwati-Mukura national park?
Gishwati Lodge is the only accommodation that is found inside Giswati-Mukura national park but travelers don’t have to worry about where they will stay. There are other accommodation facilities around Gishwati- Mukura national park and they range from budget to mid-range to luxury options such as 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.