Akagera National Park is located in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. Although founded in 1934, much of the park was re-allocated as farms and in 1997 the park was reduced in size from more than 2,500 sq. km (nearly 10% of the surface area of Rwanda) to its current extent of 1,122 sq. km. Since 2010, a joint venture with African Parks has seen Akagera return to its former glories. It is named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. The forest fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands combine to make Akagera amongst the most scenic of reserves anywhere in Africa. It has exceptional levels of biodiversity and forms the largest protected wetland in central Africa.
Things to do in Akagera National Park
- Game drive & Night Game drives
Game drives through Akagera National Park are more less like unpacking a gift with each gaming holds different wonders as nature uncovers its secret basket full of marvels, wildlife like; some of the BIG 5, Lions, Buffaloes, Elephants and Leopards, Civets, Hyenas, Serval Cats , Zebras, Savannah Birds and many more. These Game drives are mostly done during day and night depending on the Clients interests. While on any Game drive you are accompanied by a trained Guide who is well vast with the flora and fauna around the park.
You are advised to stay within the vehicle unless the park guide notices it is safe to get out since some if the animals are dangerous and can easily attack you. Game drives are quite interesting, so you can take some snack or lunch from the lodge since some game drives may seem too long.
With over 750 bird species in the park, Akagera National Park is purely a birders paradise and a dream destination. Birders who normally visit the park find it more interesting with its vast birdlife, ranging from the water to forest and also the savannah & migratory bird species-with many of them endemic to the park- plus extremely rare and threatened species like the shoebill stork, Papyrus gonolek, the flycatcher and many more.
- Nature walks
Akagera National Park has various scenic sights that can be well appreciated up close. With guided nature walks, you are a given a chance to view different things closely compared to when having a game drive. While on a guided nature walk, an opportunity is granted to see the exotic plants, colorful butterfly species, the still water in some lakes, the water birds, the smaller animals, Insects and many more.
- Boat rides
Boat safari on Lake Ihema is usually a must-do activity when you visit Akagera National park. With one of the largest concentration of hippos in East Africa, Lake Ihema also has very large crocodiles that you will find along the shores. Be sure, to see countless water birds and hopefully the rare Shoebill Stork. Elephants are commonly seen along the shores of the lake, and it’s quite breath taking.
- Fishing in Lake Shakani
For those who may wish to do fishing for sport or for food, Lake Shakani gives you a pleasure -you will hear the snorts of the Hippos, sounds of the water birds and many more. There are also some fishing tournaments that take place in the park every now and then and you could participate if there is one going at that time of the visit.
Accommodation in Akagera National Park
There is a wide range of accommodations found inside and just around the park for all kind of tourists depending on their one’s budget. You can book your accommodation through our company and early bookings are advised.
Ruzizi Tented Camp: It is one of the national park lodges found in the eastern region of Rwanda near the border of Tanzania. It is 3 hours’ drive from the capital city Kigali and 5 hours from volcanoes national, the only home to the endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
Akagera Game Lodge: Akagera game lodge is situated in the far eastern province about 2 hours’ drive from Kigali along the southern entrance to the Akagera national park. The surrounding area is rich with countless number of big game and other wildlife on the open savannah.
Dereva Hotel: It provides a thrillingly unique experiences with unrivalled comfort in the eastern province of Rwanda conveniently located in Rwamagana district approximately 50-minute drive from Kigali city and 40-minute drive to Akagera national park.
How to get to Akagera National Park
The main entry point into Rwanda is Kigali International Airport. It is located in the North Eastern region of Rwanda and about 110 km from Kigali capital city of Rwanda, which is about two and half hour drive. Cars are most favorably used means of transport to the park and 4X4 safari vehicles are recommended since there might be a few bumpy spots along the way.