Akagera national park
Akagera national park is located in eastern Rwanda. The park land is 2500 sq. km of mainly Savannah grassland. The national park was named after river Kagera that flows along Rwanda’s eastern boundary. The river feeds to Lake Ihema and other smaller lakes in and around the park. This park forms the best Africa Savannah landscape of acacia and bush, with patches of open grassland and a dozen swampy lakes.
Akagera national park is the only Savannah national park in Rwanda and the only protected area to see most of the large mammals while on safari, but there are forest elephants in the other parks, it is very difficult to sight them.
How to get to Akagera national park
Drive from Kigali through Rwamagana town to Akagera national park (entrance is only through southern gate and Northern gate is only used for exit. The journey to the park takes a total of about 2 hours to arrive at the park entrance. You can also fly to the park using the services of Akagera Aviation for those not keen on the 2 hour drive.
Park tourism activities
The park can be explored both on foot and in a comfortable of safari vehicle while on a game drive. Akagera national park hosts a variety of wildlife which include; elephants, buffalos, giraffe, zebras, leopards, hyenas, lions. It is home to several antelopes like bushbucks, Topis, Oribis, water-buck, roan antelope and duiker, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, impala and world largest antelope – the Cape eland.
While on your boat cruise, you will be to 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 drives.
Birds in Akagera National Park
Akagera national park harbors over 500 bird species making it a birder haven. Common bird species spotted in the park 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, 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.
Game drives in Akagera national park are done in safari vehicles starting early morning in search of the leopards, hyenas, and the recently re-introduced lions. This is because the predators prefer to hunt at night or early morning and usually go into hiding as the heat from the sun increases. Along the carnivores, enjoy the scenery of this beautiful park and several other big mammals like Elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, Zebra and Giraffes. The landscape and beautiful wild flowers will make for good pictures for the interested photographer.
Boat trips- Lake Ihema
Take a boat ride on Lake Ihema that will leave you with the best travel experience. 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.