Akagera National Park is characterised by sweeping grasslands and rugged acacia woodland, interspersed with a labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the Akagera River, the most remote source of the Nile. This breath-taking landscape is an exhilarating change from the magnificent rainforests that dominate most of Rwanda.
Akagera provides a real eye opener to the wonders of the flora and fauna of the African bushland, with herds of elephant and buffalo emerging from the woodland to drink at the lakes. An observant visitor may also spot a stealthy leopard, hyena or pride of lions resting in the cool shade provided by the feral acacia trees. Akagera National Park is almost bursting with more then a dozen species of antelope, most commonly the handsome, regal impala, but also oribi, bushbuck, tsessebe and the world’s largest antelope, the striking Cape eland are resident within the park.
Activities in The Park
Game Drives in Akagera National Park:
A game drive is like unwrapping a present – each game drive hold new surprises as nature reveals its treasures in the form of scenic wonders, Wildlife such as Elephants, Buffaloes, Antelopes such Topi or Elands, Burchell Zebras, Maasai Giraffes, Savannah Birds, Monkeys, Leopards, Civets, Hyenas, Lions, Serval Cats, Rhinos, and more.
Game drives mean that you are accompanied by a Guide who is knowledgeable about the flora and fauna found in the park. While on game drives one should stay within the vehicle unless the park guide sees it as safe to get out and take a look around. For longer game drives take a snack or lunch from the lodge and in our case, we will an ample supply of drinking water for you.
Nocturnal / Night Game Drives in Akagera National Park:
Night Game Drives are most exciting as you venture out with spotlights to see the creatures of the night found in Akagera National Park. A nocturnal drive through Akagera Park is quite different from the day – at night there is a good opportunity to see the predators on the prowl looking for dinner.
You might see a few leopards, serval cats, civets, lions, hyenas all out during the night. One drives quite slow during the nocturnal drive in order not to miss wildlife. even nocturnal birds and bush babies their large eyes. A nocturnal drive is about 2 hours in length and gives you a different perspective of Akagera National Park at night.
Boat Safaris on Lake Ihema in Akagera National Park:
Boating Safaris are normally the highlight of a visit to a park in East Africa and so it it is with a boating safari on Lake Ihema in Akagera National Park. Lake Ihema has one of the largest concentration of hippos in East Africa and it certainly is a sight to behold and so are the very large crocodiles that you will find along the shores of the lake.
There are also countless of water birds you will find while on a boating safari on Lake Ihema and hopefully, you will spot a Shoebill Stork. Other animals such as Elephants find their way to the lake to water and to bathe and you have the opportunity to get closer to them than you would in a vehicle on a game drive.
Birding in Akagera National Park:
Akagera National Park is one place that is not to be missed by Birders along with Nyungwe Forest National Park. There are over 520 species of bird species that are found in Akagera National Park.
Birders who come to Akagera National Park are impressed by what they find, in particular the variety of birds and abundance of birds found in the park, ranging from water to forest and including Savannah and migratory bird species – many of them endemic to the park – plus extremely rare species are also as for example the threatened papyrus gonolek which you will find in the papyrus swamps s. the localized red-faced barbes, the flycatcher, and one can be pretty sure that one just might spot the elusive shoebill stork while birding in Akagera National Park. The park is simply a birders paradise.
Fishing on Lake Shakani – Akagera National Park:
One thing that might be a bit out of the ordinary is fishing along the shores of Lake Shakani – you will hear the snorts of Hippos and the cry of water birds and hopefully, the only other noise will be the sound of a fish on your line.
Fishing anywhere is enjoyable – at Akagera you have the added pleasure of being in the African Wild – wildlife in the distance – hippos – and water birds all around you. You might visit Akagera National Park while a fishing tournament is on – which would put you into the good company of fellow anglers.
The good news at Akagera National Park is that you get to keep your fish if you have confidence in your angling skill – you might want to start a fire and get ready to roast your catch just in time for lunch.
Rwanda is home to a diversity of species including mountain gorilla, chimpanzee, golden monkey, hippo, giraffe, zebra, leopard, crocodile and more than 600 species of birds. Ten percent of Rwanda is designated as Important Birding Areas. Plains and lakes dominate the eastern borders while Rwanda’s western mountains are draped in forest. This mosaic of montane ecosystems in Volcanoes National Park—bamboo and woodland forest, heath and swamp—is where the mountain gorilla lives, along with 12 other species of primates. Ten habituated gorilla groups are open to tourist visits, with a maximum of 8 visitors to each group for a one-hour period per day.
Wildlife in Akagera
Back in 2015 seven lions were reintroduced to Akagera National Park, Rwanda from South Africa. Over the last three years, 15 cubs were born and the park has actually a population of 22 lions. In 2017 Eighteen endangered Eastern black rhinoceroses were successfully translocated and released into Akagera National Park in Rwanda from South Africa, by the Goverment of Rwanda and Non-profit organization, African Parks.
Nearly 200 of Rwanda’s bird species are also found within the park including 29 endemics, as well as giant forest hog, warthog, bush pig, forest elephant, buffalo, bushbuck, waterbuck, black-fronted duiker, spotted hyena, civet, genet, mongoose and tree hyrax.
Where to Go for a Game Drive?
Akagera National Park Located in northeastern Rwanda along the country’s border with Tanzania, the park was founded in 1934. From Kigali to akagera is 2½ hours drive and a 4WD with high clearance is essential for driving inside the park. A vast network of dirt roads are there to explore on your own or with a guide.
There are no domestic flights to Akagera, but Akagera Aviation offers charter helicopter transfers to anywhere in the country. The flight from Kigali to Akagera NP takes 22 minutes.
Visit the Rwanda Directorate general of Immigration and Emigration : https://www.migration.gov.rw/index.php?id=28 which takes you to a visa application form which picks your personal information.
Depending on your travel plans, choose the best visa choice available;
– Single entry visa – allows entry in Rwanda alone for 30 days – 50 USD
– Transit Visa for 3 days – only you in the country for only 3 days – 50USD
– East African Tourists Visa – Allows you to cross to all East African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda – 100 USD
The supporting document to attach is your tour Itinerary if traveling to visit rwanda, Invitation letter, other document with respect to your travel intentions or your flight details in PDF format. You MUST ATTACH documentation at this stage or the visa request will not be processed.
The Entrance Fees and Costs
In case you are planning to have a safari in Akagera, below is what you need to know about the park fees and prices. The park entrance fees are $50 per day per person. The guides both freelance and park guides for the self-drive game drives charge $25 for a half day safari game drive and $ 40 for the full day game drives. It’s also advisable to get a guide while carrying out a game drive since they are always knowledgeable of where the animals are.