Akagera National park

Akagera National park

Akagera National park

The park is named after the Kagera River, which flows along the eastern border of Rwanda and Tanzania. In and around the park, the river feeds into Lake Ihema and other smaller lakes.

The park preserves the acacia and bush landscape of the African Savannah with open grassland patches and a dozen swampy lakes. It has remarkable biodiversity levels and forms a large protected wetland. Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s only Savannah National Park and the only location where most of the major mammals can be seen when on a safari. Though forest elephants are present in other parks, it is very difficult to see them. Explore the park while on a game drive in the comfort of your safari car.

While it was built in 1934, most of the park was re-allocated as farmland, and in 1997 the size of the park was reduced from more than 2,500 sq km (nearly 10% of Rwanda’s surface area) to its current 1,122 sq km. A joint venture with African Parks has seen Akagera return to its former glories since 2010.

To give a great safari feature, Akagera combines well with Nyungwe and the Volcanoes NP as it is home to several large plain game species as well as species confined to papyrus swamps such as the Sitatunga and the sought-after Shoebill Stork. Elephant, elephant, topi, zebra, waterbuck, roan antelope and eland are noteworthy plain game.

There are hyena, side-striped jackal and lion from the larger predators like leopard, which was re-introduced last year.

Akagera National Park is the largest protected wetland in Central Africa and is Rwanda’s last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species.

 

Location of Akagera National park

Akagera National Park is situated along the border with Tanzania in the northeast of Rwanda. The town that is closest to the park and the best starting point is Kibungu. The drive takes 2 hours and 30 minutes covering a distance of 12o kilometers from the capital Kigali. The recommended car is 4×4 safari car for game drives since the park is dominated by the swampy vegetation. 

 

Domestic flights to Akagera are not available, but Akagera Aviation offers charter helicopter transfers to any part of the country. The flight to Akagera NP from Kigali takes 22 minutes.

 

Activities done in Akagera National park

 

Game viewing

The game drive here is like opening a gift and every game drive has a whole new surprise as nature shows its jewels in the form of wonders that are so scenic, including wildlife such as buffalos, antelopes; elands, topis, Maasai giraffes, monkeys, savannah birds, civets, leopards, hyenas, and serval cats. The game drives also mean that the guide who is so knowledgeable about the flora and fauna found in the park will accompany you.

One should stay in the car while you do the game drives, unless the park guides see that it is safe for you to get out looking. You are recommended to take a snack for longer game drives. The night game drives are so exciting about the Nocturnal, as you adventure out with a spot light to see the night’s wildlife creatures found in Akagera National Park. This night game drive through the park is different from that during the day because there is a great chance at night to see the animals on the prowl as they hunt for dinner. You’ll also see a couple of leopards, tigers, civets, servant cats, hyenas, birds, as well as big-eyed bush babies. This nocturnal drive is also around 2 hours and will definitely give you a completely different perspective.

 

Birdoing 

 

This park is one of the locations that, along with the great Nyungwe forest national park, no birder can miss. It is home to 520 bird species which are present in this national park. Birders visiting Akagera National Park are often impressed by what most of the many bird species that range from water to forest, as well as savannah and migratory bird species are found, many of which are native to the park and are as rare as the papyrus gonolex found in the papyrus swamps. The localized red faced barbets, the swamp fly catcher and the elusive shoebill stork are also located in Akagera National Park.

 

Boat Safaris on Lake Ihema

Boat safaris are usually the main highlight of any visit to East Africa and you will be able to experience Lake Ihema in Akagera National Park with the boat safari. Lake Ihema has one of the largest concentrations of hippos in East Africa, and it’s also a sight to see, and along the shores of the lake you’ll find several crocodiles as well. On a boating safari on Lake Ihema, there are also several water birds that can be seen and you might also spot a shoe bill stork. The other species, such as elephants, will find their way to bathe in the water and you will get the chance to get closer to them than you will be on any game drive in the car.

Fishing in lake Shekani

This will be one of the extra ordinary things to be done along the shores of Lake Shakani, you’ll hear the hippos’ snorts as well as the water birds’ dryness plus the fish’s sounds in the water. Fishing in Akagera will give you an added chance to be in the wild of Africa with the wildlife in the distance plus the hippos and the birds of the river. You should also visit Akagera National Park as there is a fishing tournament going on that could place you in the company of fellow anglers. The good news about fishing in this national park is that you get to keep what you catch and you can start a fire and get it ready to be roasted in time for lunch if you feel like cooking it.

 

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