Gazetted in 2015, Gishwati-Mukura is Rwanda’s newest national park. It consists of the Gishwati and Mukura forests, which are about 25km apart in western Rwanda. The main attraction is a troop of habituated chimpanzees. Other primates include the golden monkey, blue monkey, and Holst’s monkey. As of late 2018, there was no accommodation or other tourist development in the park, but it’s likely the development of a new luxury/upmarket lodge on the fringes of the Gishwati sector of the park will occur soon.
The forest is home to chimpanzees, l’Hoest’s monkeys, and the charismatic golden monkeys, which are endemic to the Albertine Rift. Other small mammals include tree hyrax and black-fronted duiker. Although there hasn’t been any recent research, the new park looks like a promising bird-watching destination as well. Specials include 14 Albertine Rift endemics, including Rwenzori turaco and red-throated alethe. Note that walking trails are limited, and no official activities were being offered as of early 2019. It is, however, possible to enter parts of the forest and see how the conservation efforts are progressing.
The weather and climate of Gishwati-Mukura are comparable to that of Rwanda in general.
Gishwati-Mukura can be visited throughout the year, but the wet months from October to May are the best for chimp trekking and forest birding. General hiking might be easier in the drier months from June to September.
Gishwati-Mukura NP is easily accessible. Gishwati Forest is located on a newly surfaced road 85km from Kigali, 40km from Rubavu, and 55km from Musanze. The park can easily be visited on a drive-around tour of the country. The undeveloped Mukura sector of the park is some 35km east of Karongi, reached along dirt roads.