Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park

Akagera national park is Rwanda’s only savannah park.

This is the only savannah park in Rwanda with about 500bird species including the incredible shoebill and several mammals including elephants, buffalos, giraffes, crocodiles, hippos, and various antelopes.

Akagera national park is located in the eastern part of Rwanda along the Tanzanian border. The park is mostly a savannah land established in the year 1934 and it’s the largest protected wetland in the whole of central and east Africa.

The park covers an area of 1,122km2 and it was named after the kagera river which flows along the border of Rwanda and Tanzania feeding lake ihema and many other small lakes around the park.

The park history

Akagera national park was firstly established by the Belgian government in the year 1934 covering an area of 2,500km2 the park was famous for its huge number of wild dogs but due to the different disease outbreaks the dog perished and the last wild dogs were reported to have been seen in the year 1984.

By the year 1957 rhinos were introduced to akagera national park from Tanzania and in the 1970s many black rhinos lived in this park and they were over 5o rhinos. 1986 Masai giraffes were brought from Kenya and introduced to the park and the population grew to over 80 members in recent years.

Akagera National Park was known for the highest population of lions in the year 1990 and they were about 250 – 300 individuals. In the years that came by, there were civil wars and farmers’ settlements, which led to the destruction of the wildlife and the park at large.

During the year 2009, the African parks network and the Rwanda development board agreed to manage akagera national park and by the year 2010, they formed the akagera management company. In the coming 5 years, about 10 million USD were spent on the park with the help of the Howard Buffett foundation to increase the security in the park and to also reintroduce the different extinct species.

Under the security strategy, there was the construction of the western boundary fence 120km and training experts in rhino tracking, the protecting team, a canine anti-poaching unit and also deploying an air surveillance helicopter.

In July year2015, seven lions were introduced from South Africa and these marked the first lions in Rwanda for 15 years. from this act, the population of lions grew to almost 40 individuals, and its also still increasing date.

In May 2017 there was the reintroduction of black rhinos and 18 members were brought from South Africa making the park the best destination of the big five mammals. In 2019 June, more than 5 eastern black rhinos from Europe were brought to the park and this made the population of mammal species in akagera national park increase since the year 2010 from 4000 individuals to over 13,500 during the year 2018.

Animals found at akagera national park

The akagera national park is mostly a wetland with dozens of swampy lakes and open grasslands. The park is the only savannah park of Rwanda that has got quite an interesting list of animals starting with the big mammal to the predators and down to the antelopes.

Akagera national park has also got some primates and these include the olive baboons, the bush babies, the blue monkeys, the vervet monkeys, and many more.

Antelopes of akagera national park include the topis, the klipspringer, the cape eland, the impalas, duikers, the roan antelopes, and the waterbucks.

Akagera national park has got the big five mammals and these are the rhinos, elephants, lions, buffalos, and the hippos plus several predators which include the leopards, lions, and hyenas making it your right choice of game viewing safaris with full enterta from the nocturnal species during your night game drives.

Birding at akagera national park

Akagera national park is strategically located with good climatic conditions having savannah grasslands, wetlands, and swampy lakes, it has got a fascinating number of bird species including the precious shoebill. The park has got about 500 bird species and these include the following; the African wattled plover, the shoebill, the papyrus gonolek, the Senegal lapwings, the squacco herons, African openbillinment stocks, grey crowned crane, African darters, long-toed and water thick-knee fish eagles, cattle egret, hamerkop, sacred and hadada ibis, augur buzzard and viellot’s black weavers, grey-backed fiscals, fan-tailed widow bird and the Caruthers cisticola.

Activities while at akagera national park

Akagera national park has got several animals and bird species plus a variety of plant species so there are many activities to engage in while at akagera national park as explained below;

  • Game drives

Game drives at akagera national park are very interesting as you get a chance to see the big 5 mammals in the wild. Here you are to enjoy the wild with its vast animals and birds in the comfort of your vehicle as provided by ADVENTURE IN THE WILD SAFARIS to enjoy a game drive in Rwanda’s only savannah park. Our guide will pick from either the hotel or the airport taking you to the land of the big five mammals where you will stand a chance to see many wild animals in the wild.

  • Bird watching

Akagera national park is a home of 500 bird species having many open grassland birds and water birds plus the different migratory bird species that are usually present starting with November towards April.

  • Boat safaris on Lake Ihema

This boat cruise at the ihema lake will get you close to the herons, sandpipers, papyrus gonoleks, malachite kingfishers, shoebills, and many more. Lake ihema is home of very many water birds and aquatic mammals. The boat trip Is conducted four times a day mainly starting at 7:30 am paying only 45USD for the evening boat cruise and only 35 for the morning one.

  • Sportfishing

This activity is conducted on lake shakani which is located in the park getting a chance to grub yourself some tilapia or catfish or any of your luck. A chance to get to know the different methods used by the local people while fishing enjoying the cold drinks accompanied by the sweet folk songs. The sportfishing permit goes only for 25USD having the activity ranging from 6 years and above.

  • Cultural tours

Enjoying the different cultures of the local communities which only takes you 40minutes to drive to the local societies and at only 20USD you spend 3 hours with the local cooperatives enjoying the cooking, the songs, the dances and many more.

Accessibility. How to get to akagera national park.

Akagera national park has got two gates which are the southern and the northern gate. Currently, the northern gate is mainly for exiting from the park and the southern gate is for entrance.

The park is only a two-hour drive from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda and by air, you can get to akagera national park with the akagera aviation.

Accommodations and lodges at akagera national park.

While at the akagera national park you have got a variety of accommodation options depending on your wallet and expenditure planning’s ranging from the back parkers, budget, mid-range, and luxury lodges. These lodges include the following

  • Magashi camp

The place has got 6 luxury tents on lake rwanyakazinga’s shores and it’s approached by boat.

  • Akagera game lodge

This luxury lodge is found on a hill at the southern edge of akagera national park with 59 roms a bar, restaurant, conference venue, spectacular pool deck at only 200USD PER ROOM PER NIGHT.

  • Ruzizi tented lodge

This is a luxury lodge located on lake ihema’s banks with 20  guests maximum.

  • Karenge Bushcamp {seasonal}

It’s a budget lodge located in the eastern part of akagera national park with its name karenge mean footprint in the Kinyarwanda with only 12 maximum guests.

Some of the akagera safaris

  • Sportfishing at akagera national park
  • Lions of akagera national park
  • 3 days akagera national park safari
  • Birding at akegera national park
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