Things to do in Akagera National Park, Rwanda
Things to do in Akagera national park involve all the safari activities that the visitors are involved in whenever they go to the park for a safari holiday. Akagera National Park is located in eastern Rwanda, near the Tanzanian border. The park was established in 1934 and today has an area of 1,200 square kilometers. It was named after the River Kagera, which feeds numerous lakes within and around the park (Lake Gishanju, Lake Ihema, Lake Mihindi, Lake Rwanyakizinga, and Lake Shakani). These bodies of water, along with the Savannah grasslands, woodlands, plains, and undulating hills, contribute to the park’s visual beauty.
Akagera National Park has a troubled history. The 1994 genocide and civil conflict caused a massive refugee crisis, with many refugees fleeing the nation through the park. Refugees returned to the country through the park after the war. Because they lacked land, food, and a place to live, some of the refugees resorted to poaching and cutting down park trees for timber. This was a difficult moment for park management since wild species were imperiled and some became extinct in the park. Domestic animals, particularly local long-horned cattle, were gradually replacing park animals. The folks could not just be sent away with no place to go. The folks could not just be sent away with no place to go. The government allotted half of the park to those who had nowhere to go after the war. The other half was set aside to safeguard wild animals that had survived the human threat.
While in Akagera national park, expect to do the following things or activities:
Wildlife game drives and safaris in Akagera national park: Akagera National Park is home to a diverse range of animals, including some of the Big 5. Lions, elephants, buffaloes, and leopards are all examples of big cats. Hyenas, zebras, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, cape elands, impalas, wide-eyed bush-bays, warthogs, oribi, bushbuck, Tsessebe, and sitatungas can all be found. Today, there are around 100 elephants in the park. While Akagera is mostly a primate habitat, the park also contains other primate species such as the vervet monkey, olive baboon, silver monkey, and several blue monkeys. Game drives in the park are thrilling. There are professional and knowledgeable guides who will accompany you on the game drive and provide information about the many animals you may observe.
Guided nature walks in Akagera National Park: There are numerous stunning vistas in Akagera Park that are best appreciated up close. Nature walks allow you to observe things up close. Exotic vegetation, colorful butterfly species, calm water in some of the lakes, water birds, and tiny animals that were difficult to observe during the game drive. Nature walks are relaxing and provide an excellent opportunity to observe nature at a much slower and softer pace. A park guide can assist you with planning nature walks throughout the park. A tour around chosen portions of the park allows you to enjoy the park’s rich biodiversity. Nature walks entail following established park pathways to forests, lakes, and wetlands.
Fishing in Akagera National Park: Those interested in fishing, whether for sport or sustenance, can do so in Lake Shakani, one of the several lakes in the vicinity. Tilapia and catfish are the most prevalent fish in the lake. While you’re fishing, you might notice or hear hippos in the distance. There are also fishing tournaments that take place in the park on occasion; you could attend one if one is taking place at the time of your visit. Akagera National Park is undoubtedly Rwanda’s best site for going sports fishing. Lake Shakani’s shoreline is ideal for fishing species such as tilapia and catfish. Many birds and animals can be seen drinking by the shoreline while fishing. Fishing tournaments are held regularly, and the winners are awarded the opportunity to cook and consume their catch. Fishing licenses cost $20. Every activity and attraction in this park is naturally interesting, gorgeous, and unspoiled. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and simply enjoy the calm that nature provides, this is the safari place for you. It is only a two-day trip from Kigali, so you can easily return to the capital.
A Boat Cruise in Akagera National Park: With so many natural water sources, including marshes, lakes, and a river, it’s only natural that you take a boat ride during your visit to Akagera National Park. Make a point of taking a boat trip on Lake Ihema. You will observe one of the highest concentrations of hippos in East Africa, as well as an abundance of waterfowl. Elephants are also frequent along the lake’s beaches. And, of course, you get to see the park from the water, which is breathtaking. Lake Ihema is well-known for its boat trips. On the boat ride, crocodiles, hippos, and elephants may be seen drinking along the shoreline. Several bird species, including the African darter, African jacana, blue-headed coucal, cormorant, fish eagles, kingfishers, marsh flycatchers, and open-bill stork, breed in the lakes and neighboring marshes. The boat tour costs $40 for international guests. Only 11 people are permitted on the boat. Those looking for a more personalized encounter can plan their excursion for $180. Boats go every morning and afternoon.
Birding in Akagera National Park: With over 750 bird species present in the park, Akagera National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise. There’s no way you could view all of those species in a single trip, with a new bird to find every day. The shoe-billed stork, which many birdwatchers seek, can be spotted here, as can a variety of other water species. Raptors, papyrus gonolek, shoe bill stocks, migrating birds like the lesser kestrel and great sniper, Zambian arnot chat, Suaza shrike, and long-tailed cistola, and many other beautiful species may be found in Akagera National Park. While birdwatching in Akagera, over 450 kinds of birds can be seen. Although there are fewer forest birds and Albertine Rift species than in Nyungwe Forest, visitors should be content with the park’s assortment of Savannah and woodland species. The arnot chat, black-headed gonolek, double-toothed barbet, suaza shrike, lilac-breasted roller, Meyer’s parrot, Ross’s turaco, red-faced barbet, and long-tailed cistola are among the species. The magnificent Shoebill stock can be seen in the park, though in tiny numbers.
Night game drives and safaris in Akagera National Park While birdwatching in Akagera, over 450 kinds of birds can be seen. Although there are fewer forest birds and Albertine Rift species than in Nyungwe Forest, visitors should be content with the park’s assortment of Savannah and woodland species. The arnot chat, black-headed gonolek, double-toothed barbet, suaza shrike, lilac-breasted roller, Meyer’s parrot, Ross’s turaco, red-faced barbet, and long-tailed cistola are among the species. The magnificent Shoebill stock can be seen in the park, though in tiny numbers. Akagera is one of the few venues that can arrange night game drives. Night game drives use spotlights and an open-roof vehicle to allow tourists to see nocturnal species such as genets, mongooses, bushbabies, owls, nightjars, leopards, and hyenas. During the day, many animals and birds are difficult to spot. Night game drives run for two to three hours and cost $40 for an international tourist.
When is the best time to do Akagera safari activities?
The best time to visit Akagera National Park is during the dry season. This is true because when it rains, it is difficult to drive around the park for wildlife viewing due to the heavy rains that make the pathways extremely treacherous, and animal viewing is difficult during the rainy season compared to the dry season. The months of December to February, and then June to October, are ideal for a safari to Akagera National Park because they are comparatively dry compared to March to May and November.
How to access Akagera National Park:
Drive 500 meters from Kigali towards Kigali Airport, then turn left, heading east of Rwamagana, and continue through Rwamagana to the Kayonza roundabout. When you reach the Kayonza roundabout, turn right and continue for another 15 kilometers to Kabarondo, then continue to the Akagera National Park main entrance. The drive from Kigali to Akagera National Park takes 2 to 3 hours in a luxury safari vehicle and 2 to 4 hours in a public vehicle.