Akagera National Park: Encounter the Unforgettable Thrills.
Nestled deep in the heart of Rwanda’s vast awe-inspiring landscapes, Akagera National Park stands as an ancient testament to Rwanda’s incredible commitment to conservation and rejuvenation.
Its story is one of persistence and redemption, where nature and humanity associate to create a tapestry of life that spans across vast savannahs landscapes, peaceful lakes, and dense woodlands.
Akagera National Park in Rwanda, is far different today compared to the past 20 years when it was on the verge of being irreparably degraded. The consequences of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi had a terrible impact on the area making its story of recover even more remarkable.
As the early morning sunrays pierce through the mist that covers the park, a harmony of life begins to unfold. The distant roars of lions echo through the air as a powerful reminder of the park’s ongoing efforts to restore its once-thriving predator population.
Akagera’s journey has been that of transformation, from a minor shadow of its former self to a thriving ecosystem where a diverse array of creatures now roams freely.
Akagera National Park’s boundaries encompass a rich mosaic of habitats, each harboring a unique cast of characters. Elephants moving gracefully against the backdrop of ancient acacias symbolizes the park’s triumphant struggle against poaching.
Here towering giraffes stretch their necks to eat of the leaves from the treetops, while antelope dart through the vast grasslands, careful yet steadfast.
Across this natural enchanting haven is the twisting course of the Akagera River with its life-giving waters sustaining both wildlife and the surrounding communities.
The park’s lakes that glitter like sapphires, habor an abundance of aquatic life like crocodiles and various bird species, a vibrant scenery of interconnected existence.
Wildlife in Akagera national park
Akagera national park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including mammal species, primate species and bird species.
Mammal species in mammal species, including elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, and baboons.
You can get to witness hippos and crocodiles basking in the sun near lake Ihema. The primate species in Akagera national park are olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, blue monkeys and bush babies.
Akagera national park has numerous 500 bird species. The bird species include the shoebill, papyrus Gonolek, African Wattled Plover, Giant Kingfisher, Senegal Lapwings, Squacco Herons, African Open bill stock,
More bird species to sight includes the 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.
Things to do in Akagera National Park
Partake in game drives in Akagera national park witness of the leopards, hyenas, and lions. Along the carnivores, enjoy the awe-inspiring scenic landscapes of the park and other big mammals like Elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, Zebra and Giraffes.
The park also offers night game drives. Night game drive basically take over 2 hours starting from 6pm to 8.30pm in the night. A spotlight is provided to help in watching the different nocturnal animals. You get an opportunity of sighting the leopards or lions as they hunt.
Bird watching in Akagera National Park
Akagera national park is a popular destination for birding activities in Rwanda.
Birding enthusiasts find birding in Akagera national park rewarding as it offers great opportunities to sight numerous bird species such as the papyrus gonolek, shoebill and the more easily sighted species like weavers, egrets and several Kingfishers.
Birding is done during a game drive; nature walks with a ranger guide and also on a boat safari along Lake Ihema.
Birding on lake Ihema offers you the pleasure of witness water bird species which cannot be seen while on the game drive in the Savannah grassland.
Boat safari on Lake Ihema in Akagera national park
One of the best ways to take off the afternoon stress in Akagera national park is by partaking in a boat ride on Lake Ihema.
The boat cruise offers a great opportunity to sight aquatic wildlife such as hippos, crocodiles and numerous bird species that take shelter in the trees along the shores.
The park offers scheduled boat trips which happen during the day but also you can book for a private unscheduled boat trip at your own time.
Sport fishing in Akagera national park
The Akagera National Park offers another unique safari activity called sport fishing on Lake Shakani.
First you make a booking for sport fishing on this lake. Even though the expectation is “catch” and “let go“, you are however given an opportunity to take one catch for a meal if interested.
Cultural tours near Akagera National Park
Experience the incredible rural Rwandan life among the cattle-keeping communities close to Akagera national park.
Here you get the opportunity to observe and also take part in the traditional cattle grazing, milking, local milk storage in calabashes for preservation.
Then through the process of converting milk into different products like local yogurt, ghee and finally participate in preparing a meal using local ingredients from the milk products.
Encounter an authentic cultural experience shared by the local people living near the park.
The locals get to earn from milk preparation as they supplement their agricultural income. This also contributes to the conservation culture and wild animals in the park.
You can also partake in nature walks in the park with the help of a guide. A walk-through the spotted areas of the park gives you an opportunity to appreciate the awe-inspiring biodiversity of the park.
The activity involves following man-made trails that lead to dense forests, shimmering lakes and swamps. Birders get an opportunity to sight numerous bird species as they trek the nature trails.
Best time to visit.
It is better to note that safaris in Akagera national park are offered throughout the whole year. No public holidays so tourism activities carry on every day.
However, there are high and low peak seasons for visiting the park. The dry seasons are the peak season where park flocks with numerous visitors because during this time, the game drive trails are dry and more navigable rewarding you with awe-inspiring experiences.
However, during the wet season (low peak in March, April & May), the park’s trails are slippery and less navigable thus limiting some exciting safari activities like bush breakfast, sundowner among others.
How to get there
Akagera national Park can be accessed by both air and road transport means.
A flight from Kigali offers beautiful aerial views of the park and it take 1-hour to reach the park.
It takes a 3-hours’ drive on well paved tarmac road to reach the park from Kigali. The 27km road which leads to the park entrance from the main road is dusty though navigable by a good 4 Wheel drive car even during the rainy period.
Where to stay
Akagera National Park offers unique accommodation facilities which accelerate your safari stay in Rwanda.
Accommodation facilities range for budget, midrange, and luxury which include Akagera Game Lodge, Dereva Hotel, Ruzizi Tented Lodge, Karenge Bush Camp, and Magashi Lodge among others.
After an in depth, Akagera National Park is one of the best safari destinations to encounter on your safari stay in Rwanda. Visit Rwanda with Friendly Gorillas Safaris.