Akagera National Park

Sprawling within the northeastern Rwanda, Akagera National Park is remarkably one of kind safari destinations to explore while you are on safari in East Africa. It lies just at the border with Tanzania thus offering the best views over Tanzania’s endless plains. Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s only wildlife or Big Game Park and while on African safari in this magical park, you have a chance to sight at varied savanna wildlife dwellers including among others the elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, leopards, lions and antelope families. It spans for over 1122 square kilometers making it a few most expansive protected areas. It comprises of swamps, savanna grassland, acacia woodland and small Lakes. This park derived its name from the Akagera River that flows through it. Akagera National Park was established in 1934 making it one of Africa’s oldest parks.

What to see while on Rwanda safari in Akagera

Due to its varied habitats, several wildlife species are confined within this park. They include among others the African elephants, lions, buffaloes, rhinos, elands, roan antelopes, giraffes, topis, leopards, hyenas, side striped jackal, mongoose, Defassa waterbuck, bushbucks as well as some primates like olive baboons, blue monkeys and bush babies.

Over 520 bird species also call this park their home making it one of the ideal birding sites in Rwanda. The birds to spot out in this park include more than 44 raptors species, Palearctic migrants such as gallinago media, the Zambezian biome species such as lanius souzae, cisticola angusticauda, myrmecocichla arnotti as well as water birds. While on Rwanda birding tour, you have opportunity to spot out variety of avifaunal species including marabou stork, open billed stork, herons, cormorants, egrets, African fish eagles, papyrus gonoleks, black headed ganolex, lilac breasted roller, heuglin’s rain chat, created barbet, swamp flycatcher, red faced barbet, Ross’s turaco and others.

Water bodies
There are also many water bodies and they include swamps, lakes and they include Lake Ihema which is the second largest lake in Rwanda. Others include Lake Shakani which inhabits a number of fish, Lake Rwanyakizinga, Lake Gishanju. These water bodies inhabit huge number of hippos, crocodiles and other aquatic life.

Things to do in Akagera National Park
Game viewing

Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s only big five game park and host to varied savanna wildlife dwellers thus making it a perfect site for game/wildlife viewing. On a game drive you have opportunity to spot out wildlife species such as elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, leopards if you are lucky enough, the Masai giraffes, elands, topis a mention but a few. A side from day game drives; you can as well take part in night game drives which rewards intrepid travelers with amazing views of nocturnal species like leopards, hyenas, civets and others. This safari activity equally takes you about 2 hours.

Boat tours
For an exciting water sport, a boat trip should be a must to do while on Rwanda safari in this park. Boat rides in this park take you the scenic Lake Ihema which features huge concentration of hippos in East Africa and crocodiles as well as several bird species. Other savanna grassland wildlife species can be spotted along the lake shores especially elephants, buffaloes among others.

Bird watching
Akagera National Park is home to 520 bird species making it one unique and incredible birder’s paradise. A birding tour in this park rewards you with amazing sights at birds like the papyrus gonolek, shoebill stork, swamp flycatcher, sandpipers, hawk and malachite kingfishers, ibis, plovers, herons, red faced barbet and others. For bird lovers, to have the best of your birding experience in this park, do not forget to come with your camera and binoculars.

Sport fishing

This is one of a few most thrilling water sports you can undertake while on safari in Akagera National Park and offers you opportunity to challenge yourself with sizeable fish in Lake Shakani.

Where to stay in Akagera National Park
To make your safari in Akagera National Park a complete one, there are must be accommodation options for you to spend a night. The notable safari lodges for visitor overnight stay in this park include;
Ruzizi Tented Lodge-a luxury lodging facility in Akagera National Park. This luxury facility comprises of 20 beds and it is set strategically offering clear views of Lake Ihema. Its design blends that of the environment and its materials are eco-friendly. For those who may wish to travel as a family, there is a family tent which accommodates about 4 people plus a tree top tent.
Akagera game lodge-this is set in southern part of Akagera National Park. This is a midrange lodge and comes with stunning views of Lake Ihema. Dereva hotel-this is situated outside Akagera National Park about 40 minutes’ drive to Akagera National Park. Campsites-there are 3 campsites for you to choose for your camping tours. They include Shakani campsite-which is situated along the shores of Lake Shakani thus offering visitors with amazing views of the lake. Besides, it is an area where sport fishing is conducted. Mutamba campsite-this is set on Mutumba hill and comes with breathtaking views of wildlife. The other is Muyumba campsite which is found around the ride over viewing Lake Shakani, Lake Ihema and
Tanzania plains.

Getting to Akagera National Park
This park is about two and half hours’ drive off Kigali capital city. You drive via Kibungo or Rwamagana trading center. The park entry gate is about 500 meters off Akagera game lodge. For any plans to pay a visit to this park, you need a 4 wheel drive safari car to help you transverse through the remote routes.