As guest numbers keep adding up after reopening entry points to Rwanda in August 2020, we are delighted to announce the newest add-on to Rwanda’s tourist menu! Gishwati-Mukura National Park, which was recently upgraded to a UNESCO biosphere reserve is now open to visitors. The move has added impetus to Rwanda’s ambitions of doubling its annual tourism receipts to $800 million by 2024.
The country is keen on accelerating the recovery of the tourism industry, which was severely hit by the Covid-19 outbreak. “Now that Gishwati-Mukura National park is open for tourism, it will complement other parks to increase revenues from tourism,” said Ariella Kageruka, the Head of Tourism and Conservation Department – Rwanda Development Board (RDB). “A study for park management and tourism promotion was carried out for Gishwati-Mukura Park. It also shows biodiversity species that could attract tourists. This will boost the national economy as other parks have been doing.”
Adventure Consults’ team is excited about the new development as clients will have more activities to do in Rwanda in addition to visiting the other three National parks. There’s now more reason to stay in the country longer, so in addition to our standard Ultimate Rwanda Experience, Gorillas in Rwanda and all other standard safaris, Gishwati-Mukura will offer more Birding experiences, primate walks and nature walks.
Rwanda’s newest national park is located in the North-western part of the country, covering 35.4 square kilometres. The park is a global biodiversity hotspot, including a variety of endemic and endangered Bird species.
After decades of poorly managed land use, the country has been carrying out a major restoration effort, moving towards a socio-economic development based mostly in eco-tourism. The biosphere reserve has interesting ‘residents’ of which among others include golden monkeys, blue monkeys, chimpanzees and over 130 bird species. Of these bird species, 15 species uniquely appear in Gishwati-Mukura forest. Other species such as the Side-striped Jackal (canis adustus), a variety of bats, and small mammals call this forest their home.
A recent biodiversity survey showed that there are 492 plant species which are indigenous species and 22 mammal species. The park is a birders’ paradise with both endemic and endangered species. The vegetation on the reserve includes three species of bryophytes (Porella abyssinica, Leptoscyphus expansus and Cololejeunea parva) that occur exclusively in the Gishwati Forest.
The reserve has a population of approximately 337,782 people in local communities whose main economic activities include agriculture through sustainable land management activities, silvopastoralism, agroforestry and tourism.
Rwanda development Board (RDB) has promised to keep collaborating with communities around Gishwati-Mukura to ensure its sustainability as it will soon start generating revenues. RDB has allocated more than Rwf300 million to the revenue sharing program in communities around Gishwati-Mukura forest.
Rwanda Environmental Management Authority’s (REMA) master plan indicates that there’s more work to do and in the next few years, the site will be a one stop point for all visitor categories. Plans are in place to ensure there’s standard wildlife and game viewing, trekking and hiking, landscape and nature viewing, adventure and sports activities, community-based tourism, culture and heritage. Visitors will enjoy walks along the rivers and waterfall trail, tea plantation trail, canopy viewpoint, hiking and bike trails inside the forest which links the park to the Lake Kivu trails.
Adventure Consults’ itinerary updates are ongoing, and in the next few weeks, we will be sharing excursions and trips with Gishwati-Mukura forest as part of the complete packages. In the meantime, feel free to get in contact (email@example.com) or visit www.adventureconsults.com for safari ideas. Our popular Rwanda trips right now include:
- Gorilla PNV – Rwanda – 4 days/3 nights with an opportunity to track Gorillas and hike to Dian Fossey grave or go Golden Monkeys.
- Rwanda Primate Ramble – Track Gorillas, Chimpanzees & Golden Monkeys.
- Ultimate Uganda and Rwanda – Uganda-Rwanda combo with Big game, Chimpanzees, Gorillas and Pygmies (Batwa).
- The Mystical Wildlife and Gorillas Rwanda – Get to see the Big5 and Gorillas of Rwanda.