AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Akagera national park is the one of the best Rwanda national parks and the only savannah national park in the country thus being the best destination for Rwanda wildlife safaris, Akagera national park is found in Eastern region of Rwanda along the border of Rwanda and Tanzania. The park covers an area of 2500 square kilometers consisting of open savannah grassland, woodlands, lakes and swamps. Akagera national park’s landscape is crossed by Akagera River from which the park gets its name, this river feeds into Lake Ihema and a chain of smaller lakes dotted around the park.
According to Jean Pierre Vande in the conservation magazine of Africa Environment and Wildlife, Akagera national park is explained as a unique place on the planet which is worth preserving no matter the cost for future generations and this is because of the complex blend of landscapes, vegetation and a variety of wildlife found in the park.
Akagera national park protects spectacular African Savannah landscapes of acacia and bush with patches of open grass and dozens of swamp lakes including Lake Ihema, the park forms a large protected area and is famously known for hosting exceptional levels of biodiversity forms. Being the only savannah national park in Rwanda, Akagera national park is the only place to spot large mammals in Rwanda.
Akagera national park is a home to a variety of wildlife species and is recognized as a big game haven as herds of giant elephants and buffaloes are easily spotted coming from the woodlands of the park to the shores of the lakes to drink water. Other animal species in Akagera national park include lions, leopards, hyenas, giraffes, gazelles, antelopes such as chestnut-coated impalas, oribi, bushbuck, cape elands and tssessebe, schools of hippos, giant crocodiles around Lake Ihema and primates such as olive baboons, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys and bush babies who are spotted during night game drives.
Akagera national park is a habitat a wide variety of bird species recorded to be over 500 species including 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, and Pied Crow, Black-headed and Viellot’s Black Weavers, Grey-backed Fiscals, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Caruther’s Cisticola and many more,
RWANDA SAFARI ACTIVITIES TO DO IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Akagera national park is a remarkable destination for Rwanda game viewing safaris offering an opportunity for travelers to watch a number of game species, viewing of animals in this park are done of game drives in safari vehicles with open windows and pop up roofs. Game drives in the park are categorized as early morning game drive perfect for watching early risers especially predators like leopards, hyenas and lions as they return from hunting, afternoon game drive and evening/night game drive perfect for watching hunting action as predator hunt for preys to feast on.
Animals to look out for during game drives in the park include lions, leopards, antelopes, zebras, giraffes, hyenas and many more. Game drives also offer scenic views of the park and perfect for taking wildlife and nature photographers.
Akagera national park is a popular and rewarding destination for Rwanda bird watching safaris, the park is also a recognized Important Birding Area in Rwanda perfect for bird enthusiasts. The park is a home to over 500 bird species living in the savannah grasslands, swamps and along the shores of the lakes. Birds in the park can be watched during game drives and boat ride on Lake Ihema, birds to lookout for 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, and Pied Crow, Black-headed and Viellot’s Black Weavers, Grey-backed Fiscals, Fan-tailed Widowbird and Caruther’s Cisticola and many more.
Boat safaris in the park are a very relaxing safari experience done on Lake Ihema, this Rwanda safari experience offers a chance to explore the lake, enjoy its calm, enjoy the cool breeze from the comfort of your boat. You will also enjoy sights of school of hippos and giant crocodiles along the shores of the Lake.
Sport fishing is a family bonding activity to enjoy during your Rwanda safari in the park, this activity is done on Lake Shakani and to engage in this activity you need to make prior booking and get a fishing permit along you to catch fish in the lake.
Cultural tours in Akagera national park are done in communities neighboring the park and this experience offers an opportunity for travelers to experience the rural Rwandan life and participate in some local activities such as cattle keeping, milking, traditional way of milk storage, traditional process of converting milk into various products such as ghee and prepare local meals and many more.
This experience gives you a better understanding of the local Rwanda people and their lifestyle.
HOW TO GET TO AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Rwanda safaris to Akagera national park usually start from Kigali city the capital of the country, from Kigali it is a drive of approximately 2 hours through the Rwamagana town to the southern gate – the only entrance to the park.
Flying option is also available from Kigali International airport to the airstrip serving the park and they are offered by the Akagera Aviation.
WHERE TO STAY IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
For travelers on a Rwanda safari to the park, accommodation / a place where to stay shouldn’t be one of your worries as there are a number of safari lodges and camps offering comfortable accommodation, delicious meals and other necessary facilities and amenities during your Rwanda safari. These include Akagera game lodge, Karenge Bush camp, Ruziz Tented camp, Magashi Lodge and many more.