Akagera National park is a reserved are in the eastern part of Rwanda. It was established in 1934 and comprises of savanna, swamps, acacia woodlands, and montane habitats. It covers 1122sqkms. The major highlight of the park is Kagera River where the name of the park is derived. Akagera River is the leading water supply, if also flows in Ihema Lake and other small lakes. A combination of lakes, linking papyrus swamps that are a third of the park’s protected area, has made the park as the largest protected wetland in East-Central Africa. The park is a home for birds and wildlife.
How to access the park
The major point of access will be from Kigali International Airport. From The airport, its 10km to Kigali and fro Kigali to the park, its 110km. Using road transport, with a 4×4 wheel drive, you will though Rwamagana, to Kayonza, then take the right turn to Kabarondo town, take left turn, till you reach Rwinkwavu, the park is on the left. It will be ideal if you use us for your safari.
What to carry
During your visit to this park, please carry a hat, drinking water, sun screen, a pair of binoculars, a guide book, warm clothing, a light rain coat, light clothing, a nice camera, a water resistant backpack, a note book, insect repellent, gloves, among other personal items you might need.
Things to do in the park
The park is a home for wildlife. These will be seen in the park along these game drives. You guide will be letting you know of the schedules of these drives. You may have different dives to few more wildlife. Along these you will also have pleasant views of birds too. They normally happen during day but the uniqueness of this park is that night game drives are also offered. The likes of lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros, buffalo, elephants, wild dogs, monkeys, Olive baboons, hippos, crocodiles, eland antelopes, Oribi, Reedbuck, Masai giraffe, duiker, Burchell Zebras, Water bucks, black tailed Mongoose, wide-eyed bush babies, black masked civet, bush pigs, warthogs, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, Catlike Genet, Serval cats, among others will be seen and most especially in the dry season, along the shores of the lake.
The park is a home for over 480 species of birds that you will get too enjoy throughout your safari. The peak of this activity is in the wet season when migratory birds visit the park. Endeavor to have binoculars with you to have amazing views of these creatures. Guides will lead you to bird’s favorite places and you will enjoy what you will see especially on the shores of the lake. Await to see the likes of Papyrus Gonolek, red faced barbets, Lesser Kesterel, Great snipe, shoebill Storks, Sauza Shrike, long tailed Cistola, Armot chat, woolly necked stork, and fish eagles, among others.
A safari without a boat safari in Akagera National Park may seem incomplete. You will have an amazing time on this ride. The boat ride will be on Lake Ihema, which is the second largest lake in the country. It’s known for have huge numbers of hippos and crocodiles on its shores. You will see more animals, some of which you might have missed during your game drives. These will give you an opportunity of exploring the whole area, in the comfort of a boat as you sip your drink.
The park is a wonderful camping ground. A safari is so enjoyable and complete with camping. You get the feeling of being in the wilderness. The park has several campsites that will accommodate you. You may also carry your camping equipment if you wish. They have clean bathrooms, and provide delicious meals to guests. You will enjoy the sounds of birds and animals in the park at night.
You will have to enjoy the culture and hospitality of the locals. You may spare some time and visit the nearby communities for a cultural experience. You will see their commercial activities, their way of life and if you please, you may learn how they prepare their meals and also have a taste during lunch.
Await to enjoy this activity on Lake Shakani. You will have a wonderful experience even if it’s your first time. The lake is endowed with fish that will amaze you during the catch. You will need to inform your guide of the need to enjoy this activity, then he will work on your permits to enjoy it and also securing the right fishing gears. You will own your catch, may be you may have it for dinner. One this activity you won’t be alone, birds will accompany you too.
Guided Nature walks
These are amazing journeys in the park that will reward you with the unique vegetation that the park possesses. You will be able to unique plants trees in the forest, where still on this activity, you will have wonderful views of wildlife, sights of primates in the area, which is the different monkey and mongoose species, among other primates, butterflies and other insects, birds too won’t be missed. Along these walks you will need a guide for safety.
When to visit the park
The park can be visited all the time in the year but best time to visit the park is the dry season, which is from, June to September. Wildlife will be seen in the park during this time. The period from April to May should be avoided for it’s the peak of the rainy season. However, difference seasons come with positives and negatives.
Dry Season (June to September)
During this season, rains are rare and the sun dominates most of the days. The grasslands in the park are short and trees aren’t so thick. The period from June to August registers a lot of animals that can be seen along the game drives, for the grass in the park is relatively short for wildlife to be spotted and primates can also easily be traced.
The trails in the park are passable during this season, also water activities are enjoyed too since the sun is out almost throughout the year.
Mosquitoes are rare since there’s hardly any rain, and thus visitors are at a low risk of getting malaria.
It should be noted however that, during this period, the park is very dry and dusty sometimes and in the morning the sky is hazy. Although weather can change any time. So visitors are advised to be equipped with rain coats.
Wet Season (October to May)
The season is composed of short, long and sometimes heavy rains. The best scenery in the park is during this time. The park is all green, with flowers.
Wildlife can still be see although not with ease as it’s the case in the dry season.
The season registers the peak season of bird watching when migratory birds visit the park.
This is the low season of the park, prices for tickets and accommodation are normally discounted.
From March, it’s very wet and some roads and trails can be hard to penetrate. Rains most times disorganize tourist activities.
There’s wildlife to see in the par. The likes of lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros, buffalo, elephants, wild dogs, monkeys, Olive baboons, hippos, crocodiles, eland antelopes, Oribi, Reedbuck, Masai giraffe, duiker, Burchell Zebras, Water bucks, black tailed Mongoose, wide-eyed bush babies, black masked civet, bush pigs, warthogs, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, Catlike Genet, Serval cats, will be seen on the shores of the lake or roaming the park.
Over 480 bird species have a home in the park. The likes of Papyrus Gonolek, Lesser Kesterel, shoebill Storks, Sauza Shrike, long tailed Cistola, Arnot Chat and more will be seen.
The park has places of accommodation in and outside. They have lodges and campsites. It will be you to choose where you will spend your nights from the options below. Whichever option you take, you will be comfortable and with good customer service.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge
They provide accommodation in form of tents. They have 7 luxurious tents. It’s located along Ihema and guests enjoy clear views of the lake. Their service if absolute luxury. They have facilities like: spacious luxury tents, each having private bathrooms and with private veranda, a swimming pool, sports ground, a bar, a restaurant, Wi-Fi, a constant power supply, and they provide safari activities with in the park. They accommodate over 20 guests, and the African style décor is true beauty. The lodge is one of a kind.
Midrange and Budget
Akagera Game Lodge
It’s located inside the park, 500m from the southern entrance of the park. Visitors enjoy a panoramic position overlooking Lake Ihema and it provides accommodation for midrange and budget category. The lodge has 60 beds, in standard, deluxe, family rooms and junior suites. They also have camping grounds. They have facilities like, swimming pool, conference hall, snack bar, tennis court, a restaurant and bar, and constant power supply, among others. They also offer safari activities.
Muyumba Campsite– Located a few kilometers away from the reception at Kiyonza, it lies closest to the camp gate.
Mutamba Campsite– It’s the highest point in Akagera and its commonly known for being with high density of the game that concentrate in its region.
Shakani Campsite– is located on the banks of Lake Shakani, where fishing takes place.