Gishwati-Mukura National Park Rwanda | Forest | Lodges | Fees and Rule | Chimpanzee Safari

Gishwati-Mukura national park is Rwanda’s fourth and newest national park, created in 2015 by combining two separate forests – the larger Gishwati and small Mukura, forming a total of 34 square kilometers plus a buffer zone.

The park was established to help preserve what was remaining of the Mukura and Gishwati forests while also protecting the chimpanzee population therein. The park is also home to golden monkeys, blue monkeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys. Before the creation of the park, the two forests almost faced extinction as a result of human encroachment after the genocide in 1994. Refugees came back and cleared a large part of the forests to build homes and for subsistence farming. The forest corridor that connected the two forests to Nyungwe National Park disappeared leaving the chimpanzee population and other wildlife isolated. Over 60% of the forest's wildlife species were lost by the time the national park was formed

The forests sit on the ridge which divides the Congo and Nile water catchment areas, along the incredibly biodiverse Albertine Rift in the West of the country. It is made up of 60 species of trees, including indigenous hardwoods and bamboo.

Gishwati is home to a group of 20 chimpanzees that live alongside golden monkeys, L’Hoest’s, and blue monkeys. Birds are well represented too, 232 species have been sighted at Gishwati and 163 at Mukura.

Community-based activities around the park include a farm stay, a live cultural dance, making handicrafts, beekeeping, a tea plantation tour, and the chance to learn from traditional healers, who use natural plants to support modern medicine and synthesized drugs.

 Refugees came back and cleared a large part of the forests to build homes and for subsistence farming. The forest corridor that connected the two forests to Nyungwe National Park disappeared leaving the chimpanzee population and other wildlife isolated. Over 60% of the forest's wildlife species were lost by the time the national park was formed.

 The story of Gishwati-Mukura is another example of how serious the government is about wildlife conservation. The government has partnered with international organizations like the World Bank to plant trees in previously degraded areas. The forest corridors have been rebuilt to connect the two forests to each other and to the Nyungwe forest. If you want to visit somewhere different, then you should visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park. You will be able to track chimps, go birding, visit the local population and take part in a groundbreaking eco-tourism project.

Gishwati Mukura
Gishwati Mukura

Wildlife at Gishwati-Mukura national park

Exploring Gishwati-Mukura National Park's Hidden Treasures: Wildlife

Gishwati-Mukura National Park, located in the heart of Rwanda, is a hidden jewel that provides an unforgettable wildlife experience. The park's wooded vistas and exceptional biodiversity demonstrate Rwanda's dedication to conservation and restoration initiatives. As you go through this beautiful sanctuary, you'll come across a variety of fascinating species that have found a safe refuge inside its limits.

Primates of the Forest

Gishwati-Mukura National Park is home to a variety of primates that thrive in its rejuvenated forests. Keep an eye out for the engaging golden monkeys, known for their vibrant coats and playful antics. These monkeys are endemic to the region and are a delight to observe.


Fascinating Birdlife

The park is a haven for birdwatchers, with a diverse array of avian species inhabiting its forests and wetlands. From colorful turacos to the melodious songs of various warblers, the park offers a rewarding experience for bird enthusiasts.


Restored Habitats for Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees, once severely threatened in this area, are making a comeback thanks to the park's restoration efforts. While they remain elusive, guided treks offer the chance to catch glimpses of these intelligent and social primates in their natural habitat.


Duikers and Other Mammals

Various mammal species inhabit the park's landscapes, including the shy forest duikers, which are small antelopes adapted to dense vegetation. Keep your eyes peeled for their subtle movements among the trees.


Reforestation and Conservation Success

Gishwati-Mukura National Park's restoration journey is itself a testament to the resilience of nature. The park has made significant strides in reforestation and habitat restoration, creating safe spaces for its inhabitants to flourish.

Safari Activities at Gishwati-Mukura national park

Discover Nature's Beauty: Gishwati-Mukura National Park Safari Activities

Gishwati-Mukura National Park, a tribute to Rwanda's commitment to conservation and restoration, invites you to embark on an exhilarating safari adventure that celebrates the incredible biodiversity's rebirth. As you explore this revitalized hideaway, you'll get the chance to participate in a variety of safari activities that provide insights into the park's restoration efforts and personal interactions with its distinctive animals.

Guided Forest Walks

Embark on guided forest walks that lead you through the park's lush landscapes. Accompanied by knowledgeable guides, you'll uncover the secrets of the reforested areas, learn about the park's conservation initiatives, and have the chance to encounter various wildlife species.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Experience the captivating world of golden monkeys as you embark on guided treks to spot these playful and engaging primates. Witness their vibrant coats shimmering among the trees and observe their social interactions in their natural habitat.

Birdwatching Extravaganza

Gishwati-Mukura National Park is a haven for bird enthusiasts. With a diverse range of avian species, including forest dwellers and wetland birds, the park's landscapes provide ample opportunities for birdwatching and photography.

Chimpanzee Encounters

Engage in guided chimpanzee treks to catch glimpses of these intelligent primates as they navigate their revitalized habitats. While sightings might require patience and a keen eye, the experience is incredibly rewarding.

Conservation and Reforestation Insights

Immerse yourself in the conservation story of Gishwati-Mukura. Participate in educational talks and workshops that shed light on the park's restoration journey, the importance of biodiversity, and the role of conservation in preserving Rwanda's natural heritage.

Nature Photography Expeditions

Capture the beauty of Gishwati-Mukura through the lens as you embark on photography expeditions. From the intricate details of flora to the elusive wildlife, every corner of the park offers opportunities for stunning shots.

Cultural Encounters

Engage with the local communities surrounding the park and gain insights into their traditional practices and harmonious relationship with nature. Learn about the cultural significance of the park's restoration efforts and its impact on the lives of the people.

Picnics in Nature

Enjoy the serenity of Gishwati-Mukura by indulging in a picnic amidst the rejuvenated landscapes. Savor your meals surrounded by the sounds of nature and the beauty of the forest.

Guided Night Walks

Experience the magic of the forest after dark on guided night walks. With spotlights in hand, you might encounter nocturnal creatures, witness their behaviors, and gain a new perspective on the park's ecosystem.

Eco-friendly Initiatives

Participate in eco-friendly initiatives within the park, such as tree planting or habitat restoration activities, contributing to the ongoing conservation efforts and leaving a positive impact on the environment.

Best Time to Visit Gishwati-Mukura national park

Choosing the Best Season: When to Visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park

Gishwati-Mukura National Park, a tribute to Rwanda's commitment to conservation and restoration, invites visitors to experience the renewal of its landscapes and the comeback of its extraordinary species. To make the most of your safari experience, consider the different seasons and their distinct characteristics. Let's look at the finest times to visit Gishwati-Mukura and enjoy its natural beauty.

Dry Season

(June to September): The dry season, extending from June to September, is generally considered the best time to visit Gishwati-Mukura National Park. During this period, the weather is relatively drier, and the chances of encountering wildlife are higher. The park's trails are also more accessible, making it easier to engage in guided treks and other activities.

Rainy Season

(October to May): While the rainy season, from October to May, brings lush greenery and a vibrant atmosphere to the park, it's also characterized by occasional heavy rains. While wildlife sightings might be less predictable due to denser vegetation, the park's scenery is at its most lush and picturesque during this time.

Birdwatching Delight

(November to April): Birdwatchers will find the rainy season particularly rewarding, as migratory bird species visit the park during this period. The wetlands and reforested areas become havens for avian enthusiasts, offering opportunities to spot both resident and visiting bird species.

The Retreat (Luxury)

Heaven Boutique Hotel (Luxury)

Hotel des Milles Collines (Luxury)

Radisson Blu (Luxury)

Marriott Hotel (Luxury)

Retreat by Heaven (Luxury)

Heaven (Classic)

Kigali Serena Hotel (Classic)