GISHWATI FOREST RESERVE
Gishwati is the reason why Rwanda is referred to as a Land of a Thousand Hills
Gishwati Forest Reserve should really be called the vanishing forest reserve, having lost approximately 99% of its original expanse. Now only a small patch of about 2,500 acres remains of the formerly vast 250,000 acre area. Although human intervention is the main cause of this, natural disasters in the form of landslides and soil erosion have played their part in decimating the biodiversity of the reserve. However, since 2001, efforts have gone into reforesting the area, an activity which has increased the area of the park by 1,000 acres in only a few years.
As devastating as the reduction in size is, Gishwati is still one of the most stunning areas in the country, illustrating why Rwanda is rightly called the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills.’ Here you’ll find these undulating, charming hills, and you’ll also be able to visit a number of idyllic tea plantations which dot the edges of the reserve. Eco-tourism, as well as the work of the Gishwati Forest Conservation Program, are two important factors integral in bringing this reserve back to life. The Rwandan Ministry of Lands and Environment has plans to build a 10,000 acre corridor to connect Gishwati to the Ngyunwe Forest National Park, an idea which just might be able to make the Gishwati Forest Reserve Africa’s most amazing comeback kid.