Gishwati Forest

Gishwati Forest Reserve, RwandaGishwati forest reserve was once a forest akin to and contiguous with the Nyungwe forest. Where as Nyungwe was saved, over the past century and especially twenty years ago, the Gishwati forest was devastated. Although the area is still protected, what is left is a weird grassland and pine forest hybrid; setting a scene completely alien to Rwanda…

The four of us set off from Kigali with an unproven google earth map picked off the satellite imagery. Through Musanze, towards Gysenyi, left towards Muhanga and then right off the tarmac… Off road, we climbed and climbed meeting some tea lorries, a Dian Fossy car (are there chimps in Giswati Forest?) and two Congo registered cars (smugglers?). Once we made it through the tea plantation were in the forest itself! Still on the up we found a beatufil camping spot at the highest point. We went for a walk through the forest and some grassland; parts looked like the lush lake district in the north-west of England. We organised the camp, prepared food, and drank some beer and port.

The next morning we had a further look around and departed leaving a full exploration of the Gishwati forest for another time. 😦

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