The 3 day Akagera tour will take you to Akagera National park for a wonderful game viewing experience.
Akagera National Park was named after River Akagera that flows through the park. The park has various savannah vegetation, woodlands, swamps and water bodies such as Lake Ihema where you will have the very great boat cruise.
During the genocide era,1994, thousands of refugees settled in the park and started hunting down big cats such that they could save the game meat and as a result of lions and rhinos became instinct in the park.
However the government of Rwanda took a decisive action in which it partnered with the African parks to manage and re-establish every animal and today, Akagera has been restored to its former glory. It is possible to witness the African big 5 in Akagera.
During this tour, expect to see lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, leopard, warthogs, hippopotamus, crocodiles, antelopes, impala, klipspringer, waterbuck, impala, bushbuck, Vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, and other mammals.
We shall pick you up from the airport in case you are not already in Kigali.
Day 1: Boat cruise along Lake Ihema
Early in the morning, you will be picked up by our experienced and professional tour guide from your hotel or airport and you will take a simple Kigali tour where you will visit the Kigali genocide memorial, former presidential palace, art shop and several attraction .
Later, you will star the drive to Akagera National Park. Akagera is located in the eastern side of Rwanda near the Tanzanian border. You will be driven for about 2 to 3 hours. Along the way, you will stop over at Nyakarambi village where you will learn and be impressed by the cow dung paintings which are carried out by the Kakira women cooperate.
These women decorate their houses using cowdung, this style was started by prince Kakira. The cow dung is usually dried and mixed with natural colours from differential natural materials and the end product is very stunning.
Upon arrival at the park, you will check in your lodge where you will be served with lunch and afterwards, you will go for a boat cruise along lake Ihema.
The boat cruise is very relaxing and it will enable you to witness various aquatic species such as hippopotamus, crocodiles, species of birds and various land animals along the shores. After relaxing experience, you will return to the lodge where you will be served with dinner
Day 2: Full day Akagera game drive.
Early in the morning, you will be driven to the park for a wonderful game viewing experience. you will look out for the African big 5 as well as other species that are resident within the park. It will be a great time to explore the park in detail. Our tour guide will offer his much needed service.
The game drive will start in the morning until evening hours. You will have a breakfast and lunch stop to have some meals. By evening hours, you would have witness many wildlife species. Later, you will return to the lodge with many wildlife photos and various memories.
Day 3: Morning game drive and later drive to Kigali.
Early in the morning, you will be driven to the park for a morning game drive and afterwards, you will be driven to Kigali. As you drive back to Kigali, depending on whether you have a flight or not. Our driver might take an optional stop at Imigongo traditional handcraft makers and the Rusumo waterfall.
Contact us today for the best tours in Rwanda and Uganda.
Tel: +250 787 290611.
Whatsapp/Call: +256 782 29222.
The history of Akagera National Park in Rwanda is a tale of conservation, ecological restoration, and efforts to protect and restore a vital ecosystem. From its early days as a hunting ground to its transformation into a diverse wildlife sanctuary, Akagera’s history reflects Rwanda’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage. Here’s an overview of the history of Akagera National Park:
Pre-Colonial and Royal Hunting Grounds: Long before Akagera became a national park, the area was used as a royal hunting ground by the Rwandan monarchs. The lush savannahs, wetlands, and forests provided a rich habitat for wildlife that attracted royal hunters.
Colonial Era and Hunting Reserves: During the colonial period, the hunting grounds were preserved, and some parts were designated as hunting reserves. These reserves served as areas where European colonialists could engage in recreational hunting. This period saw changes in land use and wildlife populations.
Becoming a National Park: In 1934, Akagera National Park was officially established as Rwanda’s first national park. The park was named after the Akagera River, which flows along its eastern boundary. The establishment of the park aimed to protect the diverse ecosystems of the region and its rich wildlife.
Wildlife Abundance and Challenges: In its early years as a national park, Akagera was home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalos, antelopes, lions, and more. However, over the decades, the park faced challenges such as poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflicts.
Civil Unrest and Decline: During times of political unrest and conflict in Rwanda, Akagera National Park was not spared from the effects. Poaching escalated, leading to significant declines in wildlife populations. The park’s once-thriving ecosystems suffered.
Conservation and Ecological Restoration: In the 2000s, Rwanda’s commitment to conservation led to a revival of Akagera National Park. The Rwanda Development Board partnered with African Parks, a conservation organization, to manage the park and implement extensive conservation and restoration efforts.
Reintroductions and Recovery: One of the major milestones in Akagera’s recent history was the reintroduction of several species that had disappeared from the park, including lions in 2015 and eastern black rhinos in 2017. These efforts aimed to restore the park’s ecological balance and enhance its appeal to visitors.
Tourism Development: Rwanda’s efforts to restore Akagera’s biodiversity also led to increased tourism development in the park. Lodges and camps were established to provide accommodations for visitors who want to experience the park’s wildlife and natural beauty.
Community Engagement: Akagera National Park has worked closely with local communities to foster their involvement in conservation efforts. Community projects and sustainable tourism initiatives have helped improve livelihoods and foster a sense of ownership of the park’s resources.
Ongoing Conservation and Growth: Today, Akagera National Park stands as a testament to Rwanda’s dedication to conservation. The park’s history showcases its transformation from a royal hunting ground and colonial hunting reserve to a protected area that showcases Rwanda’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife. The ongoing commitment to conservation, ecological restoration, and sustainable tourism ensures that Akagera’s legacy will continue to thrive for generations to come.
Akagera National Park in Rwanda offers a range of exciting and diverse tourism activities that allow visitors to explore its diverse landscapes, abundant wildlife, and unique ecosystems. Whether you’re interested in game drives, boat safaris, or birdwatching, Akagera has something for every type of traveler. Here are some of the top tourism activities you can enjoy in Akagera National Park:
- Game Drives: Game drives are a highlight of visiting Akagera National Park. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalos, lions, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, and more. Game drives give you the opportunity to see these animals up close in their natural habitats.
- Boat Safaris on Lake Ihema: Lake Ihema is the second-largest lake in Rwanda and a prominent feature of Akagera National Park. Taking a boat safari on the lake offers a unique perspective to view wildlife, including hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of waterbirds. The boat safari also provides a serene and picturesque experience on the water.
- Birdwatching: Akagera National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 500 bird species recorded. The diverse habitats, including savannah, wetlands, and forests, attract a wide range of avian species. Look out for African fish eagles, open-billed storks, crowned cranes, and more.
- Guided Nature Walks: Guided nature walks are an opportunity to explore the park on foot, accompanied by knowledgeable guides. These walks offer insights into the park’s flora, fauna, and smaller wildlife that might be missed during game drives.
- Night Game Drives: Night game drives provide a unique chance to spot nocturnal animals that are not as active during the day. Creatures such as hyenas, leopards, and servals may be observed during these guided night drives.
- Picnics and Bush Breakfasts: Enjoy a picnic lunch or breakfast in the park’s scenic spots while surrounded by nature. Some lodges offer the option of arranging bush breakfasts or lunches during your game drives.
- Cultural Experiences: Akagera National Park also offers cultural experiences that allow visitors to interact with nearby communities and learn about local traditions, crafts, and daily life.
- Fishing: For those interested in fishing, Lake Shakani in Akagera National Park offers opportunities to fish for a variety of species, including catfish and tilapia. Permits and regulations apply for fishing activities.
It’s important to note that some activities, such as boat safaris and night game drives, may require advance booking and arrangements through lodges or park authorities. When planning your visit to Akagera National Park, consider your interests, the duration of your stay, and the activities that align with your preferences. Each activity provides a unique way to experience the park’s natural beauty and wildlife.
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Akagera National Park in Rwanda is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including a variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and other species. The park’s diverse ecosystems, including savannah, wetlands, lakes, and woodlands, support a rich biodiversity. Here’s a list of some of the notable animals that can be found in Akagera National Park:
- African Elephants
- African Buffalos
- Nile Crocodiles
- African Antelopes (Various species including impalas, oribis, topis, and waterbucks)
- Defassa Waterbucks
- Bohor Reedbucks
- Olive Baboons
- Vervet Monkeys
- Black-and-white Colobus Monkeys
- Spotted Hyenas
- Side-striped Jackals
- African Civets
- Serval Cats
- African Wildcats
- African Clawless Otters
Birds: Akagera National Park is also a haven for birdwatchers, with over 500 bird species recorded. Some of the notable bird species include:
- African Fish Eagles
- African Grey Hornbills
- Open-billed Storks
- Marabou Storks
- African Jacanas
- Yellow-billed Storks
- Grey Crowned Cranes
- Lilac-breasted Rollers
- Secretary Birds
- Malachite Kingfishers
Reptiles and Amphibians: 37. African Rock Pythons
- Nile Monitor Lizards
- African Snakes (Various species)
- African Clawed Frogs
- African Bullfrogs
Aquatic Life: 42. Various Fish Species (in the lakes and channels)
- Freshwater Crabs
Insects and Invertebrates: 44. Various Butterfly Species
- Praying Mantises
This list represents only a portion of the incredible biodiversity found in Akagera National Park. The park’s distinct landscapes, including grasslands, wetlands, and woodlands, support a wide variety of species that contribute to its unique and vibrant ecosystem. Guided game drives, boat safaris, and other activities offer excellent opportunities to encounter these remarkable creatures during your visit.
The best time to visit Akagera National Park in Rwanda depends on your preferences and the experiences you’re seeking. The park offers distinct advantages and unique attractions throughout the year. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit Akagera National Park:
- Dry Season (June to September): The dry season is generally considered the best time to visit Akagera National Park. During these months, the weather is dry, and the park’s landscapes are less lush, making wildlife more visible. Animals tend to congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot during game drives and boat safaris.
- Game Viewing and Photography: The dry season, particularly from June to September, is ideal for game viewing and photography. The reduced vegetation and the presence of animals around water bodies provide excellent opportunities to observe and capture wildlife in their natural habitats.
- Birdwatching: Birdwatching is rewarding year-round in Akagera National Park. However, the wet season (October to April) is especially appealing for bird enthusiasts, as migratory bird species join the resident birds, enhancing the diversity of avian species in the park.
- Wet Season (October to April): The wet season is characterized by rain and lush vegetation. While this period might make wildlife a bit harder to spot due to the dense vegetation, it’s a great time to enjoy the park’s vibrant landscapes, abundant flowers, and the overall lushness of the surroundings.
- Boat Safaris: Boat safaris on Lake Ihema are a unique attraction of Akagera National Park. These can be enjoyed year-round, offering a serene way to observe hippos, crocodiles, and waterbirds.
- Night Game Drives: Night game drives are also possible in Akagera National Park. They provide a chance to see nocturnal animals that are less active during the day. These drives offer a different perspective on the park’s wildlife.
- Accessibility: The park is accessible throughout the year, but road conditions might be more challenging during the wet season. Some areas may become muddy and difficult to navigate during heavy rains.
- Avoiding Crowds: Akagera National Park is relatively less crowded compared to some other popular safari destinations in Africa. However, visiting during the shoulder seasons (April, May, October) might offer more tranquility and fewer tourists.
The best time to visit Akagera National Park depends on your interests and priorities. Whether you want optimal wildlife viewing, birdwatching, or lush landscapes, the park has something to offer year-round. Consider the experiences you want to have and plan your visit accordingly.
Akagera National Park in Rwanda offers a variety of accommodation options that cater to different preferences and budgets. Whether you’re looking for luxury lodges, comfortable camps, or budget-friendly stays, you’ll find accommodations that provide a chance to immerse yourself in the park’s wilderness and wildlife. Here are some accommodation choices available within or near Akagera National Park:
- Ruzizi Tented Lodge: Ruzizi Tented Lodge is a luxury accommodation option located on the shores of Lake Ihema. The lodge offers comfortable tented chalets with en-suite facilities. It features a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool, allowing guests to relax and enjoy stunning lake views.
- Akagera Game Lodge: Situated near the park’s main entrance, Akagera Game Lodge offers mid-range accommodations. The lodge features rooms with views of Lake Ihema, a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool.
- Karenge Bush Camp: Karenge Bush Camp offers a more intimate and rustic camping experience. It’s located in a remote area of the park and provides basic tented accommodations. The camp offers guided walks and immersive experiences in the bush.
- Camping Facilities: Akagera National Park provides camping facilities for those who want to experience the wilderness up close. Basic campsites are available in designated areas within the park. These campsites are suitable for self-sufficient travelers who bring their own camping gear and supplies.
- Nearby Accommodations: For those who prefer staying outside the park, there are accommodations available in the nearby towns of Rwamagana and Kayonza. These options offer additional choices for lodging while allowing you to access the park for day trips.
When planning your stay in Akagera National Park, consider your preferences, budget, and the experiences you want to have. Whether you opt for luxury lodges, comfortable camps, or camping under the stars, Akagera’s accommodations provide a range of choices to enhance your wildlife and nature adventure. It’s advisable to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Akagera National Park in Rwanda:
- Where is Akagera National Park located? Akagera National Park is situated in the eastern part of Rwanda, along the border with Tanzania. It covers an area of about 1,200 square kilometers and encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems.
- What makes Akagera National Park unique? Akagera is the only savannah national park in Rwanda, offering a different landscape compared to the country’s other parks. It is home to a variety of wildlife species, both large and small, and provides a contrast to the lush forests found in other parts of Rwanda.
- What animals can I see in Akagera National Park? Akagera is home to a wide range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles, hippos, and various antelope species. It’s also a haven for bird enthusiasts with over 500 bird species recorded.
- Can I self-drive in Akagera National Park? Yes, self-driving is allowed in Akagera National Park. Visitors can rent a 4×4 vehicle and explore the park on their own. However, it’s recommended to have a good understanding of the park’s rules and regulations, as well as a map or GPS navigation.
- Are guided game drives available in Akagera National Park? Yes, guided game drives led by experienced rangers and guides are available in Akagera. These guides are knowledgeable about the park’s wildlife and ecosystems, enhancing the safari experience.
- Can I do boat safaris in Akagera National Park? Yes, visitors can enjoy boat safaris on Lake Ihema within the park. Boat safaris offer a unique perspective to observe hippos, crocodiles, water birds, and other aquatic life.
- Are accommodations available in Akagera National Park? Yes, Akagera offers a range of accommodations including lodges and tented camps. These accommodations provide different levels of comfort and allow you to stay within or near the park, enhancing the overall safari experience.
- Is it safe to visit Akagera National Park? Yes, Akagera National Park is considered safe for visitors. The park is well-managed and has appropriate safety measures in place. However, it’s important to follow the instructions of park rangers and guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Can I see the Big Five in Akagera National Park? Yes, Akagera National Park is home to the Big Five: lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos. Lions and rhinos have been successfully reintroduced to the park, making it a unique destination for wildlife enthusiasts.
- How do I get to Akagera National Park? Akagera National Park is accessible by road from Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. The drive takes approximately 2-3 hours, depending on road conditions. You can also arrange transfers with tour operators for a convenient journey.
These FAQs provide valuable information for those planning to visit Akagera National Park in Rwanda.