Gishwati Mukura

Gishwati Mukura National Park.

Situated in the districts of the Rutsiro and Ngogorero lies Rwanda’s forth and most recent national park of Gishwati Mukura in the country’s western region. The park, which is the smallest national park in Rwanda at 34 km2, was created by uniting the larger Gishwati woodland and smaller Mukura woods. In the west of the nation, along the extraordinarily biodiverse Albertine Rift, the forests are located on a ridge separating the Congo and Nile water catchment basins.

With over 232 bird species, including the Mountain Yellow Warbler, some of which are exclusive to the Albertine Rift, the park is home to over 5 primate species, including baboons, chimpanzees, golden monkeys, and vervet monkeys.

With the creation of the park, it was hoped to increase the number of trees in the Gishwati and Mukura reserve, so boosting the fertility of the soil. The genocide, however, caused many people to flee to the forest for safety, where they cleared a sizable area that served as a habitat for a variety of wildlife for their own colony. Several species were lost because of this. To restore the forest, the Gishwati Area Conservation Program was established, and it was successful.  The Rwandan government opened the park to the public in 2019.

Wildlife in Gishwati Mukura national park.

Due to its location in a forest and the fact that it was encrusted on local populations, which drove away most large species like buffalo, the park is primarily home to primates. The most often seen primates in Gishwati-Mukura Park include chimpanzees, Golden monkeys, L’hoest Monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Olive Baboons, Black and White Colobus Monkeys among others.

Birds in the park

This park provides shelter to a  variety of birds which birders can find great interest in. Among some of them include Regal Sunbird, Grauer’s Swamp Warbler, Wood hoopoe, Martial Eagle, Strange weave, Grey Crowned Crane, Dusky Crimson wing, Ruwenzori Turaco, Mountain Yellow Warblers, and Red-throated Alethe, Ruwenzori Batis, Purple breasted sunbird.

Things to do in Rwanda’s Gishwati Mukura national park.

There are numerous recreational activities that guests to Rwanda’s Gishwati-Mukura National Park can partake in there, like bird watching, primate viewing—including seeing chimpanzees and monkeys—guided nature hikes, camping, and more. Let walk you through them.

Primate tracking: The Park’s primary attraction for visitors is this. Like in other parks, this activity begins in the morning with a quick introduction to the dos and don’ts before moving into the forest under the guidance of the ranger guide. It gives visitors the chance to witness a variety of primates, including baboons, chimpanzees, blue monkeys, golden monkeys, and more. Views of the birds and mammals can also be seen while conducting this search.

Guided nature walk: With the help of this guided nature walk, discover more of what the woodland has to offer. Insects, butterflies, and more than 60 different tree types can all be seen in the park when taking a nature walk. Bamboo, ferns, mahogany, and eucalyptus are a few of the tree species.

Bird watching: With over 232 bird species, where over 15 are not endemic to the Albertine rift, birders are in for a treat on their visit to the park. Through birding, there are high chances of sighting species like Grey Crowned Crane, Martial Eagle, Mountain Yellow Warblers, Purple-breasted Sunbird, Red-throated Alethe, Regal Sunbird, Ruwenzori Batis, Ruwenzori Turaco, Weaverbirds, Wood hoopoes, Strange weavers among others.

Waterfall visit: One of the best hiking routes in Gishwati-Mukura National Park is a visit to the waterfall. This hike will take you to Kazeneza Waterfall, which is in the center of the park and offers incredible views of the surrounding area.

Biking and cycling: One of East Africa’s best bike experiences is on the Congo Nile Trail. After passing through Nyungwe forest, the walk continues along Lake Kivu’s shoreline. The tourists can witness some of the Albertine species, such as birds, thanks to this.


The park can be accessed by a 3-4 hours’ drive from Kigali city as it is only 157 km away. For those who are interested in combining their visit to Volcanoes in Kinigi for gorilla trekking. Besides, this can also be combined with game drives in Akagera or chimp trekking in Nyungwe forest national park. It is also possible to access the park for Bwindi and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda if you wish to have a combined safari. By air, the park can be accessed by flying from Kigali direct to the park.

Where to stay.

Given the fact that Gishwati Mukura national park is newly established, there are few accommodation facilities as some of them are just yet to be constructed. However, the best lodge to use on your visit it Gishwati Lodge made with a luxury touch. You are therefore recommended to book in time to do away with inconveniences.

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