The Mukura Forest reserve is found in the north western part of Rwanda in a place known as Rutsiro district, the great forest was part of Nyungwe and Gishwati before being affected by human activities such as deforestation, mining and over grazing animals. The reserve was formerly covered about by 30,000 hectares but these activities made dramatically dropped to 16,000 hectares.
The Mukura forest reserve was then gazetted as a reserve in 1951 and transformed into a national park later on the 1st of February 2016 making it Rwanda’s forth national park, the forest reserve was combined with Gishwati forest to form a national park called Gishwati Mukura National Park.
The Gishwati Mukura national park main reason of establishment was to restore natural forests, plant natural forests by introducing tree species and protect buffer zoneplantations. The Gishwati Mukura national park boasts with variety of primate species, 293 reptile species, 5,793 plantspecies, amphibians and lots of bird species estimated to be over 1000.
The mountainous forest used to be one of the highest continous area of montane forests in Rwanda, the park provides breath taking views of lush vegetation covers Characterized with soft wood like Callistris spp, Capressus spp and pinus spp there are also other tree species including bamboo and indigenous hard woods.
Gishwati Mukura national park forests were earn marked as forest conservation zones in 1933, the afro mountain our national park lies in the west of the Nile Congo crest there are a lot of tourists activities to be done here some of which can be seen below.
Bird watching is one of the activities of Gishwati Mukura national park the mountainous forests are a home to many species of birds, 7 of which are Albertinerift endemicspecies and 2 have been listed on IUCN list,chimpananzee plus other primates such as the mountain monkey, Golden monkey, black and white colobus monkeys and blue monkey among the rest.
Wildlife viewing is also possible as the biodiversity support various wildlife some of the animals you can see are; southern tree hyrax, black frontedduikers and red River hogs.
The national park now covers a total area of 12 kilometers squared with an average height of 2,600 meters above sea level and temperature of 15C and receives rainfall of 1,500 mm annually the national park is under going restoration though plantation of trees, provision of forest guards to avoid human activities, creating awareness to the local communities about the importance of forests and increasing income generating activities outside the forest.
The World Bank and the government of Rwanda signed a 7. Billion Rwanda franc deal for the development of the national park and maintenance.
The Gishwati Mukura national park can be accessed by road from Kibuye or Kigali city, the drive from Kibuye is an hour ‘whilethe drive from Kigali takes about three hours time. There’s a path that heads north Nange which connects Karonhi to Mukaga that can be used to access the park.