Akagera National Park – Best for Wildlife Safaris
Akagera National Park is covered mainly by savanna grassland with acacia woodland. The Akagera National Park is situated at the border of Rwanda with Tanzania. Part of Akagera safari park is filled up with Mitumba hills, and lakes; Ihema, Kivumba, Hago, Mihindi, Rwanyakizinga, and River Akagera from which the park obtained its name. The relatively low altitude keeps the park windswept all the time like the cultivated hills and mountains that typify Rwanda.
Wildlife in Akagera
On a vacation or holiday to Rwanda, a tour to Akagera national park will give you the opportunity to watch a big game like the elongated Giraffe, Butchel’s Zebra, Topi, Gazelles, herds of antelopes, and elephants out to quench their thirst at the banks of the river and lakeshore, the tiny Oribi, eland and chestnut-coated Impala. The leopards are also inhabitants of this park together with the hyenas, bushbuck, bush baby, lions, baboons, and the awkward Tsessebe.
In the lake, bloats of hippos are seen swimming while protecting their silky bodies from the sun. At dusk, they leave the water and trek inland, to graze on short savannah grass that is their main source of food. Bulky crocodiles are often viewed at the sunbathing shores. You Can Take Wildlife Atrip to Akagera National Park
Birdlife in Akagera
Akagera safari park hosts about 525 bird species mainly constituting water birds such as Sandpipers, Ibis, Jacanas, fish Eagle, and herons. It also supports some of the endangered species like the peculiar shoebill stork and lovely papyrus gonolek.
Activities in Akagera National Park
Akagera has its fair share of attractions that will make you want to keep visiting the park.
Akagera national park boasts of quite a variety of wildlife including some of the big 5 and includes Lions, elephants, buffaloes, and leopards. There are hyenas, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, cape elands, impalas, wide-eyed bush-bays, warthogs, oribi, bushbuck, Tsessebe, sitatungas. While Akagera is a major primate habitat, there are some primate species in the park such as the vervet monkey, the olive baboon, the silver monkey, and some blue monkeys. Game drives in the park are quite exciting with skilled and very knowledgeable guides to lead and give you information about the various animals you might see.
Akagera national park is a birdwatcher’s dream destination with over 750 bird species and there is no way you can see all those birds in a single trip, pretty much a new bird to discover each day. The shoebill stork that many birdwatchers search for can be seen here, and so can several other water birds. Other birds in Akagera national park include raptors, papyrus gonolek, shoebill stocks, migrant birds such as the lesser kestrel and the great sniper, the Zambian arnot chat, suaza shrike and the long-tailed cistola, and many other colorful birds.
Akagera Park has so many beautiful sights that can be best admired up close. Nature walks give you the opportunity to see things up close. The exotic plants, colorful butterfly species, the still water in some if the lakes, the water birds, the smaller animals that you couldn’t see quite well on the game drive. Nature walks are peaceful and a very good opportunity to appreciate nature at a much slower and easier pace
Nocturnal game drives
Game drives in the park are fun; game drives in the park at night are even more exciting. There is always a sense of mystery about the night and nocturnal game drives capture that quite effusively. There are animals in the park that you might fail to see in the day, but they will be quite up and active in the night and so much easier to see. Animals such as leopards, civets, hyenas, and bushbabies might be much easier to see during the night. Some birds are nocturnal too.
With so many natural water sources swamps, Lakes, and a river it is only right that you go on a boat ride on your visit to Akagera national park. Be sure to go on a boat ride on Lake Ihema and see one of the biggest concentrations of Hippos in East Africa, and so many water birds. Elephants too are quite common along the shores of the lake. And of course, you get to take the view of the park from the water, and it is quite breathtaking.
Go fishing as a sport or for food, you can do some fishing in Lake Shakani, one of the many lakes in the area. Most common fish in the lake are tilapia and cat fish. As you do your fishing, you might catch sight of or hear hippos further nearby. There is also some fishing tournaments that take place in the park every now then, you could participate if there is one going on at the time of your visit.
Where to stay in Akagera National Park
Good accommodation is part of what makes a safari enjoyable and memorable, so for a visit to Akagera national park you need to stay at a place that is both comfortable and well within your budget Here are some of the places you can stay at in the Akagera area.
Ruzizi tented lodge
Designed and built by the Akagera management company, Ruzizi tented lodge offers good accommodation for tourists and has a 20-bed tented Eco-camp linked together using boardwalks, and is the first of its kind in Rwanda. It is located on the shores of Lake Ihema and has some very impressive African style decor.
It was creatively designed to blend in with the surrounding environment giving it a very natural habitat feel. It is quite small, accommodating a maximum of 20 guests, but it so worth the trouble to book accommodation here. The peace and quiet creates the perfect atmosphere to commune with nature.
The lodge offers you the opportunity to explore less-visited parts of Akagera national park in addition to the game drives and nature walks. The lodge has nine tents, each fully furnished with a private bathroom as well, and the Normal board basis is full board inclusive of breakfast lunch and dinner.
Akagera game lodge
Akagera game lodge has improved its facilities over the years and the only accommodation option s within the park. From the lodge you can enjoy some pretty amazing views of Lake Ihema. The lodge offers comfortable accommodation with simple but tastefully furnished rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool, curio bar, tennis court and a few other life comforts. The usual board basis is full board, with breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is constant power supply, access to Wi-Fi and television for those who cannot live without communication channels.
Safari activities you can enjoy while staying at the lodge include: game drives in Akagera national park and see animals such as the sitatunga, lion, buffalo, masai giraffe, tsessebe, You can also go birding and enjoy the wide variety of bird life in the park.
These two lodges are the only accommodation options in akagera national park except for the camping grounds. If you are an outdoorsy person, or more adventurous looking to enjoy the African wilderness fully in its entire splendor, then you can opt for the camping sites. Camping can actually be fun with groups of friends, and is much cheaper than staying in the lodge, although of course less comfortable as well.
There are a few hotels outside the park but nearby such as Seeds of Hope Guesthouse, Cari hotel, LeMigo hotek, Discover Rwanda youth hostel, top tower hotel, Umubano hotel, Grand legacy hotel and the manor hotel.
This means sleeping in the park with completely nothing between you and the animals but just a thin sheet of super nylon and this is an exciting adventure and it’s so fair to Akagera Park. However, be aware of the roaming gangs of the baboons. These are so cheeky and will also do their best of stealing the food as well as terrorizing you since they are jerks and have got weird bums. Spend the night around the campfire with friends, beers as well as the open sky which also makes a good break from the city life and is also one of the best overnight or weekend tours that can be done in Rwanda. There are also three campsites with the one in the north at Mutumba and it’s known as the most fantastic camp. Camping also costs $20 per person per night and the park can always rent you a 6 person tent for an extra $ 20 per person and this is for the two southern campsites. The campsites don’t have any other gear and make sure to always bring yours. Both campsites are well equipped with the BBQ and the firewood are provided and there is also a pit latrine and small shelter. The views at the campsites are so great and you can camp in the park with the wild animals that roam in the bush and this is so pretty cool.