Safari activities in Akagera National Park includes the various entertaining and memorable safari activities done during Rwanda safaris.
Akagera National Park is among the best safari destinations to visit on a Rwanda safari, the park is the only place in Rwanda where savannah wildlife species can be spotted including the Big Five (Lions, leopards, cape buffaloes, rhinos and elephants) and many others.
About Akagera national park
Akagera national park is relatively warm and lies on low plains, the park comprises of savannah woodland, wetland and a chain of lakes. The park is found in Eastern Rwanda along the Rwanda – Tanzania border, Akagera national park is named after Akagera River which flows along the eastern border of the park feeding into Lake Ihema and other smaller lakes in and around the park.
At a size of 2,500 square kilometers, the park protects African savannah landscape and bush with patches of open grassland and a dozen of swampy lakes. Akagera National Park encompasses the largest protected wetland in Eastern – Central Africa made up of roughly a third of a complex network of interconnected lakes and papyrus swamps.
Akagera National Park is a great destination to visit for an African safari while on a Rwanda tour, the park offers a various entertaining and memorable safari activities including
Viewing animals normally referred to as Game viewing or game drives is an incredible safari activity to do in Akagera national park, game drives are available throughout the day, however the best time to see animals early in the morning and late in the afternoon on morning and afternoon game drives respectively.
There are also night game drives which are done in the dark hours of the night, with a help of a spotlight you get to see nocturnal animals in the park.
Game drives are done on a drive along marked trails across the savannah plains and marshes in search for wildlife and bird species, some of the animals you should lookout for include buffaloes, lions, elephants, rhinos, defassa waterbucks, semi-aquatic sitatunga antelopes, topis, giraffes, bohor reedbucks, oribis, elands and many bird species such as herons, shoebills along the swamps.
The night game drives in Akagera national park gives visitors a chance to see the nocturnal animals including civet cats, leopards, bush babies and also predators such as leopards, hyenas and lions as they hunt for their prey.
Akagera national park is among the best birding sites in Rwanda, the park has many diverse habitats hosting over 500 different species that have been recorded within the park include restricted and sought-after species. With a help if a birder you will be able to spot a variety of birds in various habitats such as forest, savannah, woodlands and swamps.
Some of the birds you will see in Akagera National Park include arnot chat, black-headed gonolek, double-toothed barbet, suaza shrike, lilac-breasted roller, Meyer’s parrot, Ross’s turaco, red-faced barbet and the long tailed cistola among others.
Boat tours are one of the most exhilarating and memorable experience in Akagera national park, the boat tours are done on Lake Ihema the second largest lake in Rwanda. As you sail on the calm waters, you will enjoy sightings of crocodiles, huge herds of hippos and various aquatic bird species such as papyrus gonolek, herons, shoebills among others.
Other animals such as elephants, buffaloes and hippos can be seen in the water bathing and quenching their thirst most especially during the dry season.
Sport fishing is a great activity for adventurous visitors, this exciting activity is done on both Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani, on this amazing experience visitors have a chance to chance and release various species of fish such as Nile perch, Nile Tilapia among others.
You have an opportunity to take one of the catches for a meal if you are interested. What makes sport fishing more fun are the chipping sounds of the birds and grunts from the hippos.
Guided Nature walks
Guided Nature walks in Akagera National Park are the most eco-friendly way to explore Akagera national park and is done on foot, this nature related activity is done in selected area of the forest on the park. Visitors are accompanied a guide and armed ranger guide for protection purposes.
On guided nature walks you got to visit areas of the park that cannot be visited by a vehicle, as you stroll through the park you will be able to see many animals including giraffes, buffaloes, gazelles, zebras and spot many birds among others.
Cultural tours in Akagera National Park are done in the neighboring communities, these tours are organized by the park’s management which works together with the communities to permit visitors to enjoy cultural visitors.
During the community visit, visitors get to learn how the villages live their life, take care of their long – horned cows, cook and maintain their homesteads among others. You can also participate in milking of the cows, taste some of the local cuisines and be entertained by local dances and songs.
Cultural tours in Akagera national park take approximately 3 hours.
When to go to Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park can be visited all year-round, however the best time to visit the park is during the dry season months from June to September and December to February, the dry season has warmer temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.
Rwanda experiences two climate seasons that is dry and wet season, the dry season is the best time to visit the park as animals are easily seen as they congregate around the remaining waterholes. Also, the savannah grasslands are short which makes it easier to see them.
The wet season is not greatly recommended as trails become impassable, however it is a great season to spot birds as migratory birds are present in the park.
How to get to Akagera national park
Akagera National Park can be accessed by both road and air.
By road – from Kigali City it is a drive approximately 2 hours to the park’s entrance through southern gate via Rwamagana Town. The Southern gate is only for entrance and Northern gate is for only exit.
By air – domestic flights to Akagera National park are offered by Akagera Aviation.
Where to stay in Akagera National Park
There are limited accommodation options in Akagera National Park and the available options are
- Magashi Camp
- Ruzizi Tented Lodge
- Karenge Bush Camp (Seasonal camp)
- Akagera Game Lodge