Mukura Forest Reserve is spectacularly one of stunning afro montane forests in Rwanda and it is located in the western part of Nile Congo Crest. It is an hour’s drive from Kibuye town and three hours away from Kigali capital.
It became a national reserve in 1951 and covers an area of about 3000 hectares and approximately 1200 square kilometres. Previously, it was part of the Gishwati and Nyungwe Forest prior deforestation effects which has claimed over 50 per cent of its area leaving out only 1600 hectares. This also led to the loss of numerous species in the forest.
Mukura Forest Reserve offers refuge to about 14 (seven) Albertine rift endemic bird species and two species (Grauer’s rush warbler and Kivu ground thrush) are listed among the most threatened species in IUCN. In total, over 134 avian species call this forest their home which makes it one of the birders’ paradises in Rwanda.
It is largely occupied by softwood plantation, especially pinus species, Callitris species and Cupressus species. Besides, there are more than 402 mammal species, reptiles, amphibians and others. Given intense forest destruction, efforts have been put to ensure that the forest regains its usual size where 30 per cent has been set by the government as its target green coverage by 2020 tree planting.
The average temperature range per year in this forest is 15 degrees Celsius and the forest stands at an altitude of about 2600 meters. It receives a rainfall amount of over 1500 mm per year. This forest reserve formed part of Gishwati Mukura National Park which was set up on 1st/2/2016 which makes it also the 4th national park in Rwanda.
Its establishment was mainly to restore its naturalness, plant natural forests by introducing species of trees and conserving buffer zone plantations. This park offers refuge to more than 293 species of reptiles, 5793 species of plants, amphibians, and several avian species that make up a total of about 1000.
Activities in Mukura Forest Reserve
- Primate trekking
While on safari to this forest, don’t miss to embark on a nature walk which rewards you with amazing views of several primate species especially chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, golden monkeys. As well, you can embark on game viewing where you will spot out most of the rodents, black and white colobus monkeys as well as several species of mammals such as black-fronted duiker, tree hyrax, red river hogs and many more. Besides, the forest reserve is also an ideal ground for birding.
You can as well pay a visit to the nearby communities where you have a chance to interact with some of the locals who live in and around the forest and the park. The locals are friendly and warm welcoming. While in one of the communities don’t miss to purchase some of the crafts and souvenirs for your memories. The items made in these communities include hand-woven baskets, mats, woodcarvings and many more. A cultural safari in Mukura Forest is remarkably one of the most memorable experiences that you shouldn’t miss to be part of.
In conclusion, Mukura Forest Reserve forms part of the Gishwati Mukura National Park and it is equally a magnificent site that rewards visitors with a variety of attractions.