Gishwati Mukura National Park In Rwanda.

Giswati mukura national park is made up of two forest reserves namely Giswati forest and Mukura forest.

Gishwati Mukura National Park In Rwanda.

Gishwati Mukura national park is located in Rwanda and is the fourth national park that Rwanda currently boasts of along with volcanoes national park, Nyungwe forest national park and Akagera national park. Rwanda sometimes referred to as the land of a thousand hills is one of the top tourism destinations in east Africa. The country is known for the fastest growing economy and clean streets.

Giswati mukura national park is made up of two forest reserves namely Giswati forest and Mukura forest. Gishwati forest reserve is found near Lake Kivu in the north west of Rwanda connecting to Mukura forest reserve. The park is the newest park in Rwanda and was opened up later in 2019 by the government of Rwanda.

Giswati Mukura was gazatted in 2015 with an aim of increasing the number of trees in both Mukura and Gishwati forest reserves in order to stabilize and improve soil fertility on the slopes of hills with in the reserves and also regulate the flow of water.

The history of Giswati Mukura national park starts from way back as far as 1970s. Between 1978 and 1986, a big portion about 80% of Giswati Mukura forest reserve was covered by the forest not until 11994 when the Rwanda genocide happened and forced people to flee out of their homes and settle with in the forest reserve. As a result of this, a big number of refugees carried out deforestation by burning down of trees to create a space for construction of their homes and farmlands. A big part of the forest reserve was destroyed with wild animals living in the forests.

Giswati forest reserve used to extend west wards as far as Lake Kivu and stretching into the tropical rain forests of DR Congo and the southern part of Gishwati forest also stretched into Nyungwe forest. By 2001 a small part of Gishwati forest was left covering about 15000 acres compared to its original forest cover of 250,000 acres. In addition to this the area was affected by soil erosion, degradation and landslides.

In 2007, the Giswati area conservation program was introduced after an agreement with government of Rwanda and great ape trust. The main reason for coming up with this program was to create a national conservation park to protect the rich bio diversity of Giswati forest area. In 2011 the forest area was taken over by the forest of hope association a Rwanda non-governmental organization which is currently managing the area conservation program and this organization has been able to restore back 67% of Giswati forest.

The new Giswati Mukura national park has an area of 34 sq. km making it the smallest national park in Rwanda. The park is located on the edge of Congo Nile basin and is comprised of 60 tree species, 20 chimpanzees as well as other primates such as golden monkeys, l’hoest’s monkeys and blue monkeys. The park has about 395 bird species of which 232 are found in Gishwati forest and 163 in Mukura forest reserve

Activities carried out in Giswati Mukura national park

Activities carried out at Gishwati Mukura national park include golden monkey trekking, bird watching, chimpanzee trekking, community visits, and hike to the water falls and guided nature walk.

How to access Gishwati Mukura national park

The park is located 157 km away from Kigali city which takes you about 3 to 4 hours to reach the park. Visitors intending to visit Giswati Mukura national park can as well add on gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park, chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest national park or Akagera national park all in Rwanda

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