Exploring Akagera National Park in Rwanda over four days provides an opportunity to discover its rich wildlife, stunning landscapes, and diverse ecosystems. The park is found in eastern Rwanda is 2500 sq km of mainly Savannah land. The park is named after Kagera River that flows along Rwanda’s eastern boundary with Tanzania. The river feeds into Lake Ihema and other smaller lakes in and around the park. The park protects an African Savannah landscape of acacia and bush with patches of open grassland and a dozen swampy lakes. It has exceptional levels of biodiversity and forms a large, protected wetland. Akagera national park is the only Savannah national park in Rwanda and the only place to sight most of the large mammals while on safari Game Drive.
Akagera national park is home to a variety of wildlife which include, elephants, buffalos, giraffe, zebras, leopards, hyenas, lions. It is home to several antelopes like bushbucks, Topis, Oribis, waterbuck, roan antelope and duiker, klipspringer, impala and world largest antelope – the Cape eland. You can watch schools of hippos and crocodiles basking in the sun near lake Ihema. The common primates in Akagera national park are olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, blue monkeys and bush babies who are often seen on night game drive. Akagera National Park has a wide variety of habitats which provide great habitat for 500 bird species. The bird species to look out for include the remarkable 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. More bird species likely to encounter are, fish eagles, Cattle Egret, Hamerkop, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, and Pied Crow. Black-headed and Vielot’s Black Weavers, Grey-backed Fiscals, Fan-tailed Widowbird and so much more. Akagera National Park offers variety of adventure activities which include:
Activities To Do in Akagera National Park
Akagera national park is a popular and Important birding area in Rwanda. Bird watching enthusiasts will find birding Akagera national park rewarding as it offers birders opportunities to sight both the endangered bird species like papyrus gonolek and shoebill and the more easily sighted species like weavers, egrets and several Kingfishers. Birding is done while on a game drive, nature walk with a ranger guide and on a boat safari on Lake Ihema. Birding on lake Ihema will accord one the pleasure of water species which are otherwise not seen while on the game drive in the Savannah grassland. Overall, we highly recommend birding Akagera national park for both variety and the ease with which you see the birds.
Safari Boat Cruise
The best way to spend an afternoon in Akagera national park is to take a boat ride on Lake Ihema. Most animals are hiding under shade because of the heat from the sun as others come to the water for cooling off and drinking. In addition to a variety of water birds, you will watch schools of hippos in the water and crocodiles by the shores of the lake. There are scheduled boat trips which happen during the day, but one can book for a private unscheduled boat trip at their own timing.
Experience the rural Rwandan life around the cattle keeping communities near Akagera national park. You have opportunity to observe and or participate in traditional cattle grazing, milking, traditional milk storage in calabashes for preservation. You then go through the process of converting milk into different products like traditional yogurt, ghee and lastly take part in preparing a meal with some of the ingredients from the milk products. This is an authentic cultural experience shared by the locals living adjacent to the park, they get to earn from this supplementing their agricultural income. This eventually contributes to conservation culture and wild animals in the park. We will offer you the ultimate game drives experience in Akagera national park. The park is the only Savannah Park in Rwanda hosting a number of big mammals with the most sought-after being Lions, Buffaloes, Giraffes, Zebras, and Hippos, and recently Rhinos which will provide for great photographic moments. You will have opportunities of 2 game drives and a boat safari on Lake Ihema.
Akagera is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, zebras, giraffes, and antelope species. Game drives provide an opportunity to spot these animals in their natural habitat. The park offers both day and night game drives. Game drives are typically conducted in open-sided safari vehicles, which provide an unobstructed view of the park’s wildlife and landscapes. These vehicles are driven by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the park and its inhabitants. Akagera National Park is home to a variety of wildlife species, including the Big Five (elephants, lions, leopards, buffalos, and rhinoceros), giraffes, zebras, antelopes, hippos, crocodiles, and numerous bird species. Game drives offer opportunities to spot these animals and observe their behaviours. Game drives in Akagera National Park typically last for a few hours, with morning and afternoon drives being the most common. Full-day game drives with picnic lunches can also be arranged.
Guided Nature Walks
Explore the park on foot with guided nature walks. Trained guides will lead you through the park, offering insights into the flora and fauna. It’s an opportunity to observe smaller creatures, tracks, and signs of wildlife. While nature walks focus on the smaller aspects of the ecosystem, you may still encounter wildlife such as antelopes, zebras, giraffes, and other mammals. Guides will help you spot tracks and signs of animals along the way. Nature walks are led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the park’s flora, fauna, and ecosystems. They can provide insights into the park’s ecology and help you identify various plant and animal species. Akagera National Park is renowned for its birdlife, making it an excellent destination for birdwatchers. During nature walks, you’ll have the chance to spot a variety of bird species, including waterbirds, raptors, and forest-dwelling birds.
Akagera National Park is home to all the big five mammals like lions, buffaloes, elephants, leopards and Rhinos. It also has Zebras, Hippos, giraffes, warthogs and several antelope species. Sadly, the park lost much of the wildlife during the Rwanda genocide in 1994. Thousands of displaced people encroached on the park land after the war and hunted down the animals for food or to get rid of the predators. The park had about 300 lions which were all killed by farmers who saw them as a danger to their domestic animals. Akagera once had one of the largest populations of wild dogs in Africa. The Belgian government saw them as pests and got rid of most of them. By 1984, wild dogs were extinct in Rwanda.
There were similar sad endings for many other species but the new government in Rwanda has been very determined to restore the park back to its former glory and turn it into a world class safari destination. A 20-year agreement was signed between the African Park Networks and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to manage the park jointly. Security in the park was also reinforced, lodges built, and tourism has been highly promoted both locally and internationally Most of the animals have been reintroduced back in the park and their numbers have grown steadily over the years to an extent that tourists are now looking to Rwanda as a convenient safari destination to spot Africa’s famous mammals.
These 4-days exploration of Akagera National Park allows you to experience its abundant wildlife, diverse landscapes, and picturesque lakes. Game drives and a boat safari provide ample opportunities to observe the park’s wildlife and scenic beauty. Be sure to book your activities in advance, and consult for the most up-to-date information on wildlife sightings and park regulations. Please Note that this itinerary can be customised, and the actual activities and destinations can be experienced based on your preferences and the availability of permits. Additionally, the order of activities may vary depending on specific arrangements and the time of year you visit.