1 Day Akagera National park Safari : 1 Day Akagera Safari from Kigali takes you to Rwanda’s only savannah national park for a true wildlife safari and an opportunity to spot the big five mammals. Akagera National Park is found in the Eastern province of Rwanda in a District called Kayonza, which is located at the border with Tanzania. The park was named after River Akagera and covers an area, which is 1,075 square kilometres in size.
The park is close to the capital Kigali and provides an opportunity to spot Africa’s big five mammals in a short time while visiting Rwanda’s capital for a conference or business. Akagera national park consists of lakes, rivers, forested zones, woodlands and vast savannah plains. The park was once rich with wildlife. In fact, it had one of the largest concentration of wild dogs in Africa but the canines were seen as pests and wiped out through poisoning by the Belgium colonialists. Later on, massive encroachment by humans led to conflicts with wildlife. The situation was made worse during the civil war of 1994. Large numbers of citizens used the park as an escape route. When they returned after the genocide, many settled in the park.
Park animals were hunted down at will while lions were also poisoned and wiped out. However, the new government of Rwanda was determined to rebuild the park as part of wider changes in the country. African Parks was chosen to manage the park, revamp infrastructure and take the lead in conservation efforts. Most of the park has now been fenced off and some of the park land was reclaimed. The government has gone as far as to reintroduce lions, Rhinos and other wildlife that had become extinct in the park. It is now possible to spot Elephants, Hippos, Giraffes, Zebras, Kobs, Waterbucks and Bushbucks among many other mammals. The government has also encouraged community tourism to allow people living near the park benefit from tourism money.
One of the great things about a safari in Akagera is the unique scenery. If you love nature and birds, you will definitely enjoy your safari even if we do not factor in the mammals. The beautiful hills, water bodies, forests, woodlands, swamps and plains can look break taking especially a few weeks after the rainy season.
Pickup from Kigali and transfer to Akagera National Park – Game Drive – Afternoon boat ride – Transfer back to Kigali.
1 Day Akagera National Park safari will start from Kigali at 5 am with a pick up from your hotel or residence in Kigali by your safari driver on about 2-3 hours’ drive to the park. There will be a briefing before you start the journey through amazing Rwanda countryside.
Upon arrival in the park at around is 8 am, register at the park entry then drive straight for the morning game drive in the company of a park Guide. The game drive takes about 2-3 hours depending on the availability of the animals. This game drive will also take you through vast Savannah plains, woodlands and lakeshores. During the game drive, expect to encounter Lions, Zebras, Elephants, Buffaloes, Giraffes, Leopards (if you are lucky), Rhinos, black-tailed Mongoose, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys and bush babies (evening). Expect to spend about 4 hours on the game. You will have picnic lunch or en-route lunch at Akagera game lodge.
After lunch, go for afternoon boat cruise at Lake Ihema, which takes you to see hippos, crocodiles and countless water birds. Lake Ihema is the largest lake in the park found in the southern sector. The lake feeds several other water bodies within and outside the park. Lake Ihema covers an area equivalent to 90 square kilometres. The Eastern shores help define the border between Rwanda and Tanzania. As already noted, Lake Ihema is home to crocodiles, hippopotamus and several bird species – including lbis, herons, plovers, sandpipers, Hawks and others already mentioned. The boat ride takes about two hours. After the boat cruise, start the journey back to Kigali. You will reach the capital late in the evening and the driver will drop you off at a location you advise.