Gishwati Mukura National Park

Gishwati Mukura National Park, found in Rwanda is the countrys addition, to its collection of national parks. Established in 2005 it joins the ranks of Volcanoes National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park and Akagera National Park.  Nestled between Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park near the Lake Kivu region Gishwati Mukura National Park boasts two forests that give it its name. The larger one goes by the name of Gishwati while the smaller one is called Mukura.

Covering an expanse of 34 kilometers including a buffer zone this park has a history. Although officially designated as a park recently these forests have remained untouched and unmanaged since 1978. Unfortunately during the events of the 1994 Rwanda genocide these forests served as hiding places for people. This led to deforestation due to settlements and subsistence farming by refugees.

Positioned along the Albertine Rift on the ridge that separates the Democratic Republic of Congo and River Nile water catchment areas this parks location contributes significantly to its biodiversity. With 60 tree species including indigenous hardwood trees and bamboo thriving within its boundaries nature enthusiasts and plant researchers alike consider it an absolute paradise.

Moreover this park is also home, to an array of primates.Gishwati Mukura National Park is home, to an array of wildlife including 20 chimpanzees, golden monkeys L’Hoests monkeys and blue monkeys. This makes the park a perfect destination for those in chimpanzee trekking and observing primates. In fact it is the park in Rwanda to offer exciting treks after Nyungwe Forest National Park.

For bird enthusiasts Gishwati Mukura National Park is a paradise with its avian population. The Gishwati forest alone boasts 232 bird species while the Mukura forest is home to 163 species. Many of these birds are unique to the Albertine Rift region, such as the Grauers’s broadbill, Rwenzori batis, Grauer’s warbler, Shelley’s crimsonwing and Rockefeller’s sunbird.

Unfortunately human settlement and activities like farming and illegal mining caused harm to the parks resources after the refugee settlement. To counteract these effects and restore the areas resources, a team of botanists specializing in forestry got involved.

Since being designated as a park in 2015 Gishwati Mukura has shown signs of recovery. It is expected that over time there will be an improvement in tree growth rates soil fertility levels will stabilize again. Stream flow will return to its state. In 2019 tourism activities such as guided nature walks along, with chimpanzee trekking, monkey tracking,bird watching. Waterfall hikes were initiated.
The local community residing near the park will greatly benefit from the tourism it attracts. Not will it create a market, for their produced goods but a portion of the parks revenue will also be invested in social services to improve their quality of life.

Aside from enjoying the beauty of Gishwati Mukura National Park visitors can immerse themselves in community based activities. They have the opportunity to experience staying at farms taking part in dances learning traditional handicrafts engaging in beekeeping exploring tea plantations and discovering medicinal plants found in nature.

Highlighted attractions at Gishwati Mukura National Park

Primate Watching

The park has been instrumental in conserving primates, chimpanzees. These primates were once close to extinction due to loss of habitat and poaching. Thanks to government and conservation efforts their numbers have steadily increased. The primates have become accustomed to presence. Are not easily startled or aggressive allowing visitors a rare chance to observe them in their natural environment.


Bird enthusiasts will find Gishwati Mukura National Park a haven. It is home to than 83 bird species, including 15 species, to the Albertine Rift region.
If you’re someone who enjoys bird watching whether, as a hobby or just casually having an experienced guide can be really helpful. They can assist you in identifying bird species. Take you to the best spots for observing them.

Local Cultural Experiences

The park collaborates with communities to offer a range of cultural activities. Visitors have the chance to visit homes and communities where they can learn about crafts, food preparation techniques and farming practices. It’s also possible to stay in a home witness captivating cultural performances such as dances and dramas or even visit traditional healers to gain knowledge about local medicinal herbs.

Hiking & Nature Exploration

There’s an abundance of trails within the forest that provide perspectives of the park. These trails offer opportunities to observe forest inhabitants such as butterflies, chameleons, insects, birds and primates. Moreover these paths showcase than 60 tree species including bamboos, ferns,mahoganies and orchids. An incredible highlight along these hikes is the kazeneza waterfall situated in the heart of the park.

Adventure on the Congo Nile Trail;

This trail offers an exciting biking experience as it winds its way, along Lake Kivus shorelines and through Nyungwe forest. It gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in Rwandas beauty while appreciating stunning landscapes.

How To Get To Gishwati Mukura National Park

Getting to the park is quite convenient as there are road and charter flight options, from Kigali and nearby parks. Currently there aren’t accommodation choices within the park itself. Gishwati Lodge stands out as a top notch luxury option that combines comfort, adventure and conservation. Alternatively you can consider staying in parks or camping at designated sites within the park.

What makes Gishwati Mukura National Park truly special is that it not provides a wildlife encounter but also plays a vital role in conservation efforts and local community development. Whether you’re into wildlife spotting, bird watching engaging yourself in culture or engaging in activities, like hiking and cycling this park guarantees an unforgettable experience.