Gishwati National Conservation Park – The Newest National Park in Rwanda

Rwanda is actively working to grow its tourism sector in as sustainable a  way as possible and the efforts are succeeding. Gishwati Forest is  known as the Forest of Hope, a forest that epitomizes Rwanda’s  commitment to conservation, reforestation and community development  through ecotourism.



  • Over  several decades, Gishwati Forest became nearly completely depleted due  to large scale cattle ranching and refugee resettlement. By 2001, only  1500 acres of the original 250,000 remained.
  • In 2007,  President Paul Kagame and the Great Ape Trust chose Gishwati as the site  of a new national park and launched the Gishwati Area Conservation  Program (GACP). In 2010, the Rwandan Ministry of Lands and Environment  endorsed the establishment of a 30 mile forest corridor linking Gishwati  to Nyungwe National Park.
  • In October 2011, the GACP  presented a pilot tourism program. Today, the Trust reports that 20  chimpanzees have been identified and the Forest now comprises 3,665  acres.  The program will offer guided hikes and visits with handicrafts  producers, traditional healers and beekeeping.
  • Gishwati  is being reforested as part of Rwanda’s policy of active reforestation,  which aims to have 30% of the country covered by 2020. To achieve this,  the Ministry for Forests and Natural Resources has embarked on a  massive tree planting effort – over 67 million tree seedlings will be  planted.

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