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Best Wildlife Safaris in Akagera National Park 2024

There are a avriety of wildlife safaris in Akagera National park that make it rank as the best and most desirable park of Rwanda by wildlife enthusiasts. Akagera National park is one of the oldest in Africa and the largest in Rwanda, found in the eastern regions of the country along the border with Tanzania covering an area of 2500km2 comprising of mainly Savanna vegetation.

The park derives it name fro Kagera River flowing along Rwanda’s Eastern border with Tanzania pouring into Lake Ihema and in other small lakes around the park forming a larger protected wetland, attracting and giving life to a diverse of wildlife species.

The park protects a savanna landscape comprised of open grass lands,acacias, bushes and swampy lakes. Being the only Savannah park of Rwanda makes it the only destination to sight large large mammal of the country like African elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos, zebras,leopards while on Rwanda wildlife safaris.

The park offers uninterrupted views of its savanna landscapes, lakes, rivers and wetlands from its mutumba hills which are high as 2000m spicing up your Rwanda safaris while at the destination.

Before being gazetted as a national park in 1934 by the Belgian government, Akagera was a forest reserve which was very rich in flora and fauna species originally covering 2500 square kilometers which led to its gaining status as a national park to protect the wildlife species and vegetation.

The park was a habit to the largest population of wildlife of Rwanda however as a result of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the park was occupied by the locals who were returning home from their hideouts after the tragic event which led to uncontrolled poaching and people’s encroachment on land for deforestation and cultivation  of the land  destroying over 25% of the park.

Some wildlife species like lions which were adding up to about 300 and Rhinoceros about 50 became extincted from the park with the last rhino reported to have been seen  in 2007and the lions as well.

In 2009, Rwanda development board signed a joint management agreement with African Parks which led to establishment of Akagera management company to manage and restore the park.

In 2015,7 lions from South Africa were introduced to the Akagera National park after 15years with no lions sighted in the park.

In 2007,20 eastern black rhinoceros were also introduced in the park from South Africa after a period of 10 years with these animals absent in the park.

In 2019, more 5 black rhinoceros from a zoo in Czech Republic were trans-located to Akagera national park of Rwanda marking the longest trans-location of animals from Europe to the African continent covering a distance of 2,485 miles hence increasing the number of black rhinoceros in the park making them to be easily sighted while on game drives.

Akagera national park is now a home to the Big Five of Rwanda which include African elephants, lions, buffaloes, leopards and rhinos.

The park is characterized with moderate to warm temperatures through out the year, with two wet seasons of heavy rains from march to may, dry months being June and September and short rains from October to December.

Wildlife Safaris in Akagera National Park; Attractions and activities

Wildlife – Game drives;

Akagera national park is a home to over 8,000 animal some of which include the Big five,hyenas, zebras, giraffe and several antelopes species like the roan antelope,bush-bucks,  klipspringer, Topis, Or-ibis, water-buck, duikers and impalas.

It is also habitat  of primates species which include the olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, black and white Columbus, silver monkeys,blue monkeys and the nocturnal bush babies.The deep waters of Lake Ihema are home to a number of large crocodiles and hippos best sighted while on boat cruise. Making it a perfect destination for Rwanda game drive safaris.

Bird species – Bird watching;

Akagera national park is document to have about 500 different bird species ranging from forest birds,water wading birds to migratory birds. There are also bird species endemic to the park, very rare in other park.

Birds at Akagera park include papyrus gonolex,red faced barbets, swamp fly catcher, shoebill stork all f fish eagles, Grey-backed Fiscals, Cattle Egret, Hamerkop, Black-headed & Viellot’s Black Weavers, Pied Crow, Sacred & Hadada Ibis,  the Augur Buzzard,Long-crested Eagle and so much more making it a perfect destination for bird enthusiasts.

Lakes – Boat rides:

There are 10 lakes found in park both big and small and the most visited are Lake Shakani and lake Ihema offering great views of semi- aquatic species inclusive of the large hippos,Crocodiles, water wading birds among others and also enjoying water adventurous activities such as spot fishing , kayaking and swimming.

Nature walks;

The park is a good destination for guided nature walks offering close sights of different plant species, birds, primates giving you a unforgettable Rwanda safari tour.

Accommodations at Akagera National Park.

Rusizi Tented lodge: This is a luxurious lodge featured with 9 big tents  accommodating up to 20 guests, well spaced and equipped with solar energy, fireplace, stocked bar and a restaurant, en-suite bathrooms, among others.

Akagera Game Lodge: This lodge is found on a hill south of the park offering uninterrupted views of lake Ihema, lake shikani and the savanna landscapes. It is a big lodge featured with 60 rooms, a conference centre, a bar and a restaurant.

Akagera Rhino lodge: The lodge is located just a few kilometers from the park, about 6km featured with  a bar and a restaurant, spacious rooms, enough space, Wi-Fi, Hot showers and serving a continental breakfast.

How to get to Akagera National Park.

The park can be accessed both by road and air transport.

Using road transport from Kigali, the park is accessed via Rwamagana town through the south gate  as it is the only entrance to the park, with the northern gate used mainly for exit.

By air, the park offers flying services using Akagera Aviation taking a tourist a very short time to get to the park

 

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