Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is the only savannah national park in Rwanda and an amazing Rwanda safari destination for game viewing experiences. Akagera national park is the largest national park in Rwanda covering an area of 1,085 square kilometers and it is situated in north east of Rwanda bordering Tanzania. Akagera national park was established as Rwanda protected area in 1934 as a way of protected the ecosystem found in the area that consists of mountain, swamp, a series of lakes such as Lake Shakani Lake Ihema, Lake Mihindi, Lake Gishanju and Lake Rwanyakizinga. The landscape of Akagera national park is traversed by Akagera on the eastern borders, the park gets its name from this park.
Akagera is dominated by rolling savannah combretum dotted with acacia woodland and a series of hills inhabiting a variety of wildlife and birdlife, Akagera park is a rich habitat for animals living in the savannah grasslands of the park. These animals include herds of elephants, impalas, waterbucks, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, impalas, elusive leopards, spotted hyenas, genets, mongoose, side stripped jackal, serval cats and primates such as vervet monkeys, olive baboons, bush babies, and spotted silver monkey which is occasionally sighted in the park. Lakes and rivers in the park inhabit water animals like hippos and Nile crocodiles. Bird life in Akagera national park has been recorded to be over 525 bird species ranging from savannah and water birds, these birds include shoebill, papyrus Gonolek, African Wattled Plover, Giant Kingfisher, Senegal Lapwings, Squacco Herons, African Open bill stock, Grey Crowned Crane, African Darter, Long-toed and Water Thick-knee., fish eagles, Cattle Egret, Hamerkop, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, Pied Crow, Black-headed and Viellot’s Black Weavers, Grey-backed Fiscals, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Caruther’s Cisticola.
Safari activities to do in Akagera
Game viewing is the major safari activity offered in Akagera which is done on game drives, game drive in this park are offered as morning game drive, afternoon and evening/ night game drive and they are facilitated by a wide range of animals found in the park. Game drives in Akagera give tourists a rewarding experience of sighting animals like buffalos, elephants, Maasai giraffes, antelopes such as eland and topi, leopards, hyenas, lions alongside primate species like Olive baboon, vervet, blue monkeys and bush babies. Game drive in Akagera are conducted with a help of a safari guides who know the park and where to find the animals very well.
The park is one of the excellent Rwanda birding destinations and a must visit destination for bird lovers, this amazing park habits over 525 bird species including water birds, savannah birds and migratory bird species. While on bird watching safari in Akagera national park, look out for sights of many birds such as shoebill, papyrus Gonolek, African Wattled Plover, Giant Kingfisher, Senegal Lapwings, Squacco Herons, African Open bill stock, Grey Crowned Crane, African Darter, Long-toed and Water Thick-knee., fish eagles, Cattle Egret, Hamerkop, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, Pied Crow, Black-headed and Viellot’s Black Weavers, Grey-backed Fiscals, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Caruthers Cisticola and many more.
Boat trips in Akagera are mainly done on Lake Ihema which is the largest lake in the park, boat trips on this lake offers amazing a great opportunity for spotting many animals living in the waters of Lake Ihema such as hippos and crocodiles, various water birds such as shoe bills, herons and cultivated hills. Boat trips in Akagera is one of the most thrilling recreational Rwanda safari activities which is organized by Akagera game lodge in Conjunction with the Rwanda Tourism office.
The park is an excellent site for Rwanda fishing safaris, the park comprises of a series of lakes which include Lake Shakani Lake Ihema, Lake Mihindi, Lake Gishanju and Lake Rwanyakizinga and fishing safaris are mainly done on Lake Shakani. This extraordinary Rwanda safari activity gives tourists an opportunity to bond as they try to fish and hear sounds made by animals such as hippos and birds living on the shores of the lake.
How to get to Akagera national park
Akagera national park lies in about 130 kilometers distance and about 2 and a half hours drive from Kigali city where most of the safaris to this amazing park begin from, Akagera national park is generally accessed by road and air means of transport.
By road both public and private means are used to get to the park, on a drive from Kigali city centre the most used route is Kigali airport road of about 500 meters then continue through Rwamagana to the roundabout at Kayonza. When you reach Kayonza roundabout, take a right turn and continue for about 15 kilometers to Kabarondo the turn left onto dirt road after a fuel station. The drive continue for 28 kilometers leading you to Kayonza gate.
Akagera national park is also accessed from Kibungo/Rwamagana on 1 hours’ drive
Caution: when using road transport to get to Akagera for a safari, 4X4 wheel vehicle is the most recommended vehicle to use.
By air, domestic chartered flights to Akagera are offered by Akagera Aviation, flight to Akagera national park takes about 22 minutes.
Where to stay in Akagera
Akagera national park is dotted with amazing and perfectly established lodges and camps to offer tourists comfortable stay while on their safari in Akagera national park, accommodation in Akagera national park is got from Shekani campsites, Mutamba campsites, Ruzizi tented camp, Akagera game lodge, Muyumba campsite and many more.