Activities in Gishwati Forest
The chimpanzees of Gishwati forests are without a doubt the main draw of the national park, but there are many other interesting activities in the park. Gishwati and Mukura Forests are a very unique places and it’s wonderful to just go for a hike and experience the rainforest, catch your breath and regain energy from the nature. There are great hikes in the park some of which pass by one of the many beautiful waterfalls in the park. There are also several other interesting animal species in the forests apart from the chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee Trekking in Gishwati Forest
A population of around 35 chimpanzees remain in Gishwati Forest. Since Gishwati Forest was only recently made into a national park and has been closed to visitors for many years, this group of chimpanzees have not been habituated. This means that they are not used to humans and will be scared if approached. Chimpanzee trekking is still possible in Gishwati Forest, but not in the same way as to one of the habituated groups in Nyungwe Forest. There is no guarantee to see chimpanzees during a chimpanzee trek in Gishwati and if chimpanzees are spotted getting close is very difficult.
Hiking in Gishwati Forest
Gishwati Forest have several hiking trails of varied difficulty and with the chance of seeing different animals, insects and plants. As of now, there are no hiking trails in Mukura Forest and it remains relatively inaccessible to visitors. As Gishwati Forest is a national park, all park activities are done together with a qualified guide. The guide is included in the price of entrance fee to the park.
Birding in Gishwati Forest
Gishwati Forest is a truly unique birding habitat with several endemic birds and more than 200 recorded species. For bird watching in Gishwati you need to go with a professional guide. The park office can supply you with a birding list and a map with recommended trails through the park. If you want a bird walk with a professional bird guide this needs to be prearranged with the park office. Contact the park office to arrange this.
Golden Monkey Trekking
There are several species of primates found in Gishwati Forest apart from the eastern chimpanzee. Golden monkey is the most famous of these species and can be found in large groups throughout the forest. Trekking these primates can be an interesting experience and you are sure to see many interesting animals during your trek. Golden monkey trekking starts early in the morning with a professional guide from the park. You will spend several hours trekking through the forest in search of one or several groups of primates. The park rangers will locate or know the approximate whereabouts of the primates prior to your arrival and needs to be pre-booked through the park office.
Contact Information and Booking
Gishwati Forest National Park is managed through a collaboration of Rwanda Development Board, the organization Forest of Hope and Wilderness Safaris. No visit to the park is allowed unless you are staying at the Forest of Hope Guest House
Booking of Forest of Hope Guest House and community-based experiences:
Park office and RDB (permits and entrance fees):
- Park warden Gishwati, Jean Bosco Rugira: firstname.lastname@example.org
- +250 788652971 RDB Rubavu
- +250783726088 RDB Park Office
Good to know:
- Raincoats, boots and walking sticks are available from the reception
- No visit to the park is allowed unless you are staying at the Forest of Hope Guest House
- All Gishwati hikes are classified as hiking in protected area/National Park.
- Animals live in their natural habitat
- Guide and permit are needed
Most of the websites and contacts about Gishwati Forest online are not official park websites and the information is sometimes wrong and not reliable.