Tourism In Gishwati-Mukura National Park
When it comes to tourism in Rwanda, Gishwata Mukura national park is hardly mentioned. However despite the less visits, the national park is a hidden gem which most travelers on Rwanda safaris have always missed out. A visit to Gishwata Mukura national park makes your Rwanda safari a complete package. The park is situated in Rubavu, Rutsiro, Ngororero and Nyabihu districts in north western part of Rwanda and is Rwanda’s fourth national park, which was established in 2016 to complement the popular gorilla safaris in volcanoes national park, Nyungwe forest national park and Akagera national park. Initially, the national park was a forest reserve, which was largely intact comprising of a substantial forest until 1994 when the forest was shuttered by the horrific Rwanda genocide. Thanks to the Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda environment management Authority (REMA) that have jointly restored the once lost forest into a famous national park. The two bodies (RDB and REMA) through the landscape approach to forest restoration and conservation (LAFREC) project are working hard to restore the highly degraded Gishwati-Mukura landscape so as to enjoy both environmental and economic befits from the two forests.
The national park is comprised of Gishwati forest covering a land area of 1,439.72 hectares and Mukura forest covering 1,987.74 hectares of land and list from these two forests that the national park derived its name. Initially, Gishwata Mukura was a forest reserve that was later transformed into a national park to diversify tourism products in the land of a thousand hills.
The national park is a home to a variety of wild animals, which include primates, East African chimpanzees, golden monkeys, black and white colubuses, southern tree hyrax serval cats, black front duiker and mammals plus birds all available for the visitors. Regarding vegetation cover, Gishwata Mukuri national park is largely covered by Macaranga kilimandscharica along other indigenous hardwoods, shrubs, blue lichen, giant tree ferns and bamboo forests. These provide habitat and food for birds and wild animals in the park.
Unfortunately, the national park has lost some of the land to human activities mainly agriculture, illegal mining, animal grazing and settlement in which local people have continuously grabbed forestland to create extended land. The establishment of Gishwata Mukura national park is attributed to tireless efforts of Rwanda Development Board, which restored the once depleted forest reserve into a tourism spot. In the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, most people resorted to the forest reserve for agricultural land, settlement and settlement to begin a new life after losing everything in the massacre.
In order to restore the lost landscape of the park, the responsible bodies are carrying out a variety of activities, which include rehabilitation of natural forest and biodiversity within Gishwati and Mukura reserves, and the enhancement of sustainable land management in the agricultural lands between both forests among other activities. Similarly, Silvo-pastoral approaches have been introduced in the rangelands of the central former Gishwatai reserve.
The establishment of Gishwata Mukura national park bring new hope to local people assuring the, of the off-farm jobs with which they will improve their standards of living. Local people are assured of jobs such ads managers in hotels, lodges, local guides for the travelers as well as ready market for their hand craft products.
The implementation of LAFREC activities in the park boundaries also will create several jobs for local people adding them an opportunity to diversify their income sources hence improving their standards of living. Interestingly, local people warmly embraced the establishment of the national park committing to support its development and building good relations with tourists to the national park.
If you want to explore Rwanda’s hidden treasures, visit the off beaten Gishwata-Mukura national park in the northwestern part of the country. Whereas most travelers to Rwanda choose to do gorilla tours in volcanoes national park, golden monkeys or else chimpanzee trekking and canopy walk in Nyungwe forest national park, a traveler who visit Gishwata Mukura national is enjoys a different experience. The less visits have kept the forest intact, virgin and natural which reward travelers with an exceptional experience.
Activities in Gishwata Mukura national park
Fortunately, the national park provide travelers with a great selection of activities which all reward them with memorable experiences. The popular activities you must o include among others:
Sheltering over 84 20 of which are endemic to the albertine region, Gishwata Mukura national park is undeniably an exceptional birding spot. Expect to see different bird species not missing the wood hoopes, Rwenzori Turaco, weaver bird specie, martial eagle, white headed wood hoopoe, Mountain yellow warbler and Old world warblers among others. Experienced guides help you to spot these birds and explain all the unique features about each spotted bird specie.
Hiking and nature walks
A forest /nature walk is the best way to explore Gishwata Mukura national park and all its beauties. Travelers enjoy the quite calm and peaceful environment while listening to the sweet sounds of birds singing up in the trees. Also, expect to meet different wild animals such as chimpanzees and Colubus monkeys among others.
Conclusively therefore, Gishwata national park is Rwanda’s hidden gem. Book a Rwanda safari to the national park, visit the national park, see all the attractions, do all activities and enjoy what nature offers with no limit.