Lion Cub in Akagera National Park
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Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park is the largest protected wetland area in Central Africa and a home to a few savanna-adapted species left in Rwanda. If your aim is to see the big 5 game in Rwanda, then Akagera National Park safari is worth your time, monies, etc. It is the only savanna park and the only home to see all the big African game in a single habitat.

Akagera National Park is nestled in the far Eastern Rwanda, 2 and half hours’ drive from Kigali capital. Deriving its name from Kagera River, Akagera N/Park is remarkably a great wildlife safari destination worth visiting for game viewing on Rwanda safaris.

Established in 1934, Akagera National Park isn’t only the oldest park but also one of the Africa’s vast protected area with borders stretching up to 1122sq.kms. Its vast size favors survival of diverse wildlife ranging from terrestrial and aquatic life.

Wildlife/animals

Wildlife safaris in Akagera expose nature lovers to park’s unique species of animals. These include the African bush elephants, lions, buffaloes, leopards, giraffes, hyenas, zebras, hippos, side striped jackals, reedbucks, elands, waterbucks, crocodiles, impalas, roan antelopes, etc. The park also hosts some primates including blue monkeys, bush babies, vervet monkeys, olive baboons and more.

Birds of Akagera

There are more than 550 species of birds to be spotted on Rwanda wildlife safari in Akagera National Park. These range in the 3 main habitats of this splendid protected area that is the swamp, savanna and montane area. The birds of Akagera include black headed weaver, white backed vulture, osprey, little bee-eaters, shoebill stork, African jacana, lilac breasted roller, red winged francolin, fork tailed drongo, African fish eagle, white faced whistling ducks, white browed coucals, saddle billed stork;

Long crested eagle, African grey hornbill, woodland kingfishers, short tailed pipit, yellow belied eremomela, sooty falcon, papyrus gonoleks, crowned lapwing, shelley’s francolin, bare faced go-away bird, spur winged goose, eastern grey plantain eaters, African wattle lapwing, goliath heron to mention but a few.

Akagera National Park Safari Activities

Game drives

Game drives a great deal when it comes to all Rwanda safaris in Akagera Park. The entire driver guided game viewing lasts for about 2-3 hours and comes with excellent sightings of wildlife such as hyenas, leopards, lions, buffaloes, elephants, giraffes, birds and many more.

On a game drive in Akagera, there are game tracks or trails to visit including Kitabili loop, giraffe area loop, Rwisirabo loop, Rurama and Nyamabuye trail/track. Game viewing in savanna parks such as Akagera National Park is best conducted in a 4×4 rental vehicle. You can go day game drive or night guided game drive.

Boat or launch cruise

A boat cruise in Akagera leaves nature lovers on Rwanda safari amazed by mesmerizing views of aquatic life. This excursion is done on Lake Ihema and you will be spotting hippos, crocodiles, water birds and more. The overall water excursion takes 2-3 hours but it is worth every penny.

Birding

Birding in Akagera National Park allows birders to enjoy sight of the park’s unique birds and these include white faced whistling duck, shoebill, fork tailed drongo, lilac breasted rollers, eastern grey plantain eaters, red winged francolins, woodland kingfishers, papyrus gonoleks and others. For remarkable birding safaris in Akagera, find the best camera, pair of binoculars and you won’t regret visiting this birder’s paradise.

Sport fishing

Sport fishing is an exciting excursion awaiting you to experience on Rwanda safari in Akagera National Park. This is conducted on Lake Shakani and it is best for all anglers visiting Rwanda for fishing safaris.

Nature walks

If you love nature, then not better way to experience Akagera NP than guided nature walks. A nature walk in Akagera is all about foot-walk experience introducing you to various habitats to see wildlife, birds, etc.

Best time to visit

The beauty about Akagera National Park safaris is that it is possible to visit it at any time of the year. However, wildlife viewing in Akagera is best enjoyed during the dry season that is from June to September or December to February. The park’s vegetation cover isn’t dense during these months guaranteeing excellent view of wide range of wildlife.

Accommodation

Akagera has budget, midrange and luxury accommodation facilities for visitor overnight stay. They include Magashi Tented Lodge, Rusizi Tented Camp (Luxury facilities), Akagera Game Lodge (Mid-range) and Budget lodges include Dereva Hotel, Campsites (Shakani/Muyumba/Mutamba campsites), Karenge Bush Camp.

Getting there

By road: Akagera is approximately 108kms from Kigali a short distance of 2 and half hours’ drive. Or take 22 minutes to fly up to Akagera NP. Southern gate offers access to Akagera and exit gate is located in the North.