Akagera National Park is situated in the north east of Rwanda covering an area of 1,085km2 which makes it the largest protected area in Rwanda. The Akagera National Park boarders Tanzania and is traversed by Akagera river one of the sources of River Nile of which the park derives its name. Akagera National Park was established in 1934 to provide protection in three varied eco-systems i.e. mountain, swamp and savannah. The park is rich in water environments with series of lakes that characterize its floor including Lake Ihema which is the second largest in Rwanda, Lake Rwanyakizinga, Lake Shakani, Lake Mihindi and Lake Gishanju not forgetting the famous Akagera River that traverse the eastern boarder of the park. The terrain of Akagera National Park is marked by low lying plains that are covered by rolling savannah combretum dotted with acacia woodland which appears in contrast to the other parts of Rwanda that are marked by series of hills that have made Rwanda to be nick named the land of a thousand hills. The park is a rich habitat for wildlife with counts of elephants, buffaloes, zebra, giraffe and antelopes while lions were poached to extinction though the park management is in preparations of re-stocking them. This makes Akagera National Park the haven of wildlife safaris in Rwanda.
Akagera National Park contains counts of wildlife in its varied ecosystems. The savannah environments support populations of elephants, zebra, giraffe, Impala, water buck and buffaloes. The water environments support populations of Hippotamus and Nile crocodile which is the second largest reptile on a world scale. The Akagera National Park also contains counts of elusive leopard, and spotted hyenas while series of small predator species like genets, mongoose, and side stripped jackal and serval cats. Primate species like vervet monkeys, olive baboons, bush babies and occasionally spotted silver monkey also thrive in Akagera National Park.
Akagera National Park contains 525 bird species making it one of the bird watching havens of Rwanda. The park’s varied ecosystems ranging from savannah to water environments. It is the best place to spot savannah bird species and raptors not forgetting papyrus swamp dwelling birds including; shoe bill stork, papyrus canary, papyrus gonolek, Caruthers’s cisticola and white-winged warbler. The low-lying savannah environs are a home to bird species such as Sousa’s shrike, red faced barbet, Bennett’s woodpecker, long tailed cisticola, miombo wren warblers, white winged and broad tailed warblers and white collared olive back.
Akagera National Park contains a range of water bodies including lakes and rivers that support a range of aquatic life including Hippopotamus and Nile crocodiles, water birds and act as drinking points for wild game in Akagera National Park. The Lakes in Akagera National Park include; Lake Gishanju, Lake Mihindi, Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani. The splendid Kagera river marks the entire eastern boundary of the park from the south to the north as it makes its way to the largest fresh water lake in Africa and the second in the world Lake Victoria which is also the source of the longest river in the world River Nile.
Akagera National Park offers boat cruise opportunities on one of its gigantic lakes – Lake Ihema that also stands as the second largest Lake in Rwanda. The thrilling boat encounter is organized by Akagera Game Lodge in conjunction with Rwanda Tourism Office. The boat cruise which is best done in the afternoon offers impressive sights of Hippos and Nile crocodiles not forgetting varios wild game dinking on the lake shore. This is one of the amazing recreational encounters to have on your Rwanda safari.
Lake Shakani positioned in the south of Akagera National Park with in a close range to Lake Ihema offers rewarding sport fishing activity to travellers undertaking safaris in Rwanda.
Akagera National Park contain enormous counts of wildlife ranging from elephants to buffaloes, zebra, giraffe, Impala, water buck, genets, mongoose, side stripped jackal, serval cats, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, bush babies and occasionally spotted silver monkey. These offer an ideal ground for wild game viewing while on Rwanda wildlife safari. The Akagera National Park also offers opportunities for night game drives that exposes to a range of nocturnal.
The game drive stretches from the southern sector traversing the park’s wilderness up to the northern side including the Mutumba hills exploring the wildlife, savannah landscapes and series of water bodies which combine to derive ultimate safari experience.
Akagera National Park provides Helicopter adventure tours which involve Ariel wildlife viewing. There are series of helicopter companies that provide this service. The aerial tours offers impressive scenic views of the Akagera plains that stretch to adjoin the Tanzanian plains dotted with acacia woodland supporting counts of wild game and marked by patches of Lakes and flowing streams and Rivers that makes your encounter memorable while on safari in Rwanda.
How to get there.
• Connecting to Akagera National Park from Kigali takes 2 ½ hours to cover 130km distance.
• Connecting to Akagera National Park from Kibungo / Rwamagana takes 1 hour drive.
• The entrance-gate is 500 meters from Akagera Game Lodge, linked by dirt road connection ranging for over 27 kilometers from the major surface road at kabarondo approximately 15 km north side of Kibungo.
• 4×4 vehicles are necessary in rainy seasons.
• You can also connect to Akagera National Park using public means. Minibus taxis connect to kayonza and Kibungo on daily basis. You will disembark at the junction and get a private taxi or a motor bike to connect to the park.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge is located on the Lake Ihema shore which is the second largest lake in Rwanda. Ruzizi Tented lodge is anew establishment and was opened up to Rwanda safari undertakers in October 2012 following nine months of construction. Accommodation is provided in 7 tents with the capacity to accommodate 14 people. All tents are self-contained with hot and cold running water. The rooms feature a dressing area and comfortable queen beds or ¾ twin beds. The Ruzizi Tented Lodge has a lounge, bar and dining, fire place under the fig tree and electricity is solar powered.
Akagera Game Lodge
Akagera Game Lodge is located with in the boarders of Akagera National Park overseeing L. Ihema. Accommodation is provided in 58 self-contained rooms including 2 executive suites. Every room feature twin beds and satellite Television. The Akagera Game Lodge has a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, tennis court, and conference room and business center.
Shakani Campsite is positioned on the shores of Lake Shakani and offers sights of the lake and animals like Hippos and birds.
Mutamba Campsite is the most raised vantage in the park thus known for animal gathering including roan antelope and herds of eland.
Muyumba Campsite is situated on a ridge overseeing Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani with the views of Tanzania. The Camp is a few Kilometers from the park entrance at Kiyonza thus making the closest camp the entrance.
The Campsites have washrooms and pit latrines with no running water. Campers are required to carry their water but fire wood is provided. Tents for hire are available at the reception.
- Scientific Name: Rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), yellow-spotted hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei), tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax dorsalis)
- Size: 12 inches at the shoulder
- Weight: 5 to 9 pounds
- Lifespan: 12 years
- Habitat: Dry savanna to dense rain forest
- Diet: Herbivorous
- Gestation: 7 months
- Predators: Leopard, pythons, large birds, servals, civets