Gishwati Makula national park

How to book a chimpanzee tracking permit in Gishwati Makula national park
Gishwati Makula national park, chimpanzee tracking tours in Rwanda










Gishwati Makula national park is Rwanda’s fourth national park famous for its diverse plant species which make up Gishwati the big forest and Makula the small forest. The park is in the north of the country near volcanoes national park. It was created by Rwandan government in 2015 when it combined the two forests to form one national park. The main attraction here is chimpanzee groups about 20 chimpanzee groups which live alongside the golden monkeys. Besides the endangered species of eastern chimpanzees, the park is enriched with various primates of birds, tree species, reptiles and monkeys like the blue monkeys, golden monkeys, and the L’Hoest monkeys.

The park is a good birding destination with a number of Albertine rift endemics and others which are about 232 bird species. There are quite a number of activities available in this park.

To do list at Gishwati Makula national park

  • Cycling
    There are trails through Congo Nile trail which passes along the shores of Lake Kivu and through Nyungwe forest. During your cycling, you could sight a few wondrous species of birds, tress and some animals in Nyungwe forest, relax and enjoy the breeze along Lake Kivu as you enjoy the physical exercise with other travelers.
  • Nature walks in the park are a big deal here, there is virgin nature of the forest. Our guides will be tell you about the different tree species, bird species, butterflies and other small reptiles like chameleons. You should note that there are over 60 rare tree species in this natural park like orchids, ferns, etc.
  • Visiting other parks can be arranged since the park can be accessed through Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest national park, visit Nyungwe forest. Your chimpanzee trekking safari can be joined with gorilla trekking in Bwindi or Mgahinga national parks in Uganda.
  • Birding
    The park is an ideal destination for birding with over 232 bird species in Gishwati and 163 bird species in Makula available for all bird lovers to watch like martial eagle, Ruwenzori turaco, wood hopers, weaver birds and many others. These can be sighted in the Albertine rift valley and in the woods.
  •  Primate tracking
    This is the main activity which takes place in this park, there are different primates in the park like blue monkeys, golden monkeys, baboons and L’Hoest monkeys.
  • Visiting Kazeneza waterfall
    This is located in the middle of the park and for hikers, you will be able to see it since the major hiking trail passes along this waterfall. Here, photography can be taken, beautiful magical views seen making your trip to Gishwati Makula worth your money.
  • Chimpanzee trekking
    This is one of the major activities and the most attractive activity about this park.

Booking a permit

The activity requires you to have a chimpanzee trekking permit which can you can get through the following procedure;

  • Send an email to Pamoja tours and travel company and give us the confirmed dates of your planned trip, and the activity you want to engage in so we can check for the validity of chimpanzee trekking permits.
  • Once the permits are available, we will send you an invoice for you to make payments.
  • We will then go ahead and purchase the permit once you deposit the money for your permit
  • We will then send you scanned copies of the permit confirming your safari.

There is no set price for the permits. However, chimpanzee trekking permits of Rwanda in general cost US 100$. Contact Pamoja tours and travel company for more information.
We will take an extra step and check for the dates where the chimpanzee trekking permits are still available in this park. Then we will advise you whether to postpone your trip to another date or get other e.g. chimpanzee trekking in Gishwati Makula national park.

The best time to go trekking

The rainy season is the best time for chimpanzee trekking in the months of May, October, November and December? The chimps tend to move a lot in search for food which makes it hard to track however, in the wet season, food is in abundance hence their movements are limited making it easy to track them. But unfortunately, during this time, the trails are very slippery which makes hiking hard through the forest.

However, chimpanzee trekking is conducted all year around even in the drier season where the vegetation cover isn’t high to destruct your view and the trails are drier but in this case, get prepared for long period treks and sighting of these species may be of luck.

Accessing the park

Access can be by both air and road for the foreign visitors. You may need to get on a plane to Kigali international airport. From Kigali city, it’s just a 2 hours’ drive on road. This can either be public or private drives to the park however, it is advisable to book with us where all necessary services like transport, booking etc. are covered under your complete safari package so you don’t have to lift a figure to do anything. There are daily flights arranged with the chartered flight from Kigali to Gishwati Makula national park.


As a tourist, accommodation is part of your safari experience and therefore, you may be asking yourself about the available accommodation in Gishwati Makula Park since it’s relatively a new park with limited accommodation. The only current accommodation around this park is Gishwati lodge a luxury lodge however, the lodge is small with just six luxury chalets therefore, and we recommend prior booking before visiting the park. But the fact that the park is close to Nyungwe forest, there is plenty of accommodation outside the park in kivu like Emeraude kivu resort Nyungwe top view hotel, peace guest hotel etc. and in volcanoes National Park.

What to park for chimpanzee trekking

Since the best time to go trekking is during the rainy season, you should expect a lot of rain therefore, you should pack;

  • Light, warm and water proof clothes
  • Water proof hiking boots which can help with the slippery slopes
  • Camera
  • Walking stick for support
  • Water bottle
  • Waterproof bag pack
  • Rain gears and a hat
  • Food or energy boosters
  • Insect repellant
  • Torch
  • binoculars

Rules and regulations of chimpanzee trekking

  • Travelers should at least be 7-8 meters away from the chimpanzees
  • You should not trek when you are sick or with flue or cough, the chimps might catch these diseases
  • Trekkers should follow the rules given to them by the ranger during the trek
  • Provoking the chimpanzees is illegal
  • Eating, drinking or smoking in the presence of these animals is illegal
  • Flash photography is against the rules since it scares the chimpanzees
  • You must follow the guide’s way as you trail
  • Do not throw rubbish in the park since animals are curious creatures, they might eat it which will cause infections.
  • Burry all human waste products
  • Keep your voices low in the presence of the chimpanzees
  • Stay in groups when you meet these animals


Finding the best tour operator to prepare and book all your chimpanzee safari requirements like accommodation and permits, up to date information and answers for all your inquiry. Pamoja tours and travel company has a team which works hand in hand with other team members of a particular service required to make your chimpanzee treks and all your safaris magical and memorable. Contact us for all offers, booking and safari packages across East Africa.

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