In the north east of Rwanda drawing closer to the Tanzanian Plains, there lies an outstanding savannah gazette that has positioned itself as the largest protected area in Rwanda – the Akagera National Park. Described in the Africa Environment and Wildlife Magazine by Jean Pierre Vande as a unique place on earth suitable for preservation at any cost for the interest of posterity, Akagera National Park is an amazing savannah convergence of various game that dwell in the open landscapes dotted with magnificent lakes. It can be regarded as a perfect blend of flora, landscape and fauna that can always generate ultimate memories for Rwanda safari undertakers.
River Akagera – one of the sources of River Nile drains this protected area. Besides that, Akagera National Park has a multitude of water bodies including Lake Ihema- the second largest in Rwanda, Lake Mihindi, Lake Shakani and Lake Gishanju. Akagera National Park is roughly on lower altitude with mild climate which sets ground for low lying acacia savannah woodland and grassland making it a perfect habitat for African game.
Akagera National Park – Rwanda is a wildlife haven with a range of species including; Zebra, Giraffe, elephant, antelope family species and buffalo. In its multitude of Lakes, there lies a greatest number of Hippopotamus and the Nile crocodile which is the second large reptile on earth. The hyenas and the leopard are rare sights though present while the King of the Jungle – the Lion got extinct from the park though the arrangements to restock them are ongoing. The Akagera National Park is also a home to various predator animals including; Mongoose, side stripped jackal, genets and serval cats. Besides that, primate species also exist in this savannah park including; olive baboons, vervet monkeys, bush babies and rarely silver monkeys.
The Akagera Park is by no means an ordinary Rwanda safari destination when it comes to birds. It shelters over 525 bird species including savannah birds and raptors. Water and swamp dwellers are common along the Akagera riverine including; papyrus canary, shoebill stork, papyrus canary, Caruthers’s cisticola and white-winged warbler. Other savannah birds include; red faced barbet, Sousa’s shrike, Bennett’s woodpecker, miombo wren warblers, long tailed cisticola, white collared olive back and white winged and broad tailed warblers.

Attractions:
Wildlife:

akagera wildlife
Akagera National Park is the largest Savannah Park in Rwanda which makes it a perfect haven for countless wild game. Wildlife found in Akagera National Park which can be spotted while on Rwanda safari visit include; Zebra, Giraffe, elephant, antelope family species and buffalo. In its water environments, there lies a greatest number of Hippopotamus and the Nile crocodile which is the second large reptile on earth. The hyenas and the leopard are rare sights though present while the King of the Jungle – the Lion got extinct from the park though the arrangements to restock them are ongoing. The Akagera National Park is also a home to various predator animals including; Mongoose, side stripped jackal, genets and serval cats. Besides that, primate species also exist in this savannah park including; olive baboons, vervet monkeys, bush babies and rarely silver monkeys.

Water bodies:
Akagera National Park is by no means ordinary when it comes to water bodies. It has a range of Lakes and rivers that support both land and aquatic species. These include; Lake Rwanyakizinga, Lake Shakani, Lake Ihema- the second largest in Rwanda, Lake Mihindi, Lake Gishanju, Lake Hago, Lake Kivumba, Lake Murambya and Lake Birengero. The AKagera river traverse the park as it makes its way to Lake Victoria. This chain of lakes and rivers poses great scenic landscapes that will always leave those undertaking safaris in Rwanda mesmerized.

Birds:
Akagera National Park also has a range of birds that dwell in its varied ecosystem. The savannah environment is ideal for savannah birds while the water areas are perfect habitats for water birds. The bird species count to 525 bird species including savannah birds and raptors. Water and swamp dwellers are common along the Akagera riverine including; papyrus canary, shoebill stork, papyrus canary, Caruthers’s cisticola and white-winged warbler. Other savannah birds include; red faced barbet, Sousa’s shrike, Bennett’s woodpecker, miombo wren warblers, long tailed cisticola, white collared olive back and white winged and broad tailed warblers.

Tourist activities:
Boat cruise:

boat-cruise-akagera
Due to its range of water bodies among which is the second largest lake in Rwanda – Lake Ihema, the travellers on Rwanda safari have the opportunity to enjoy the boat trips on Lake Ihema amidst the great sights of Hippopotamus and the elusive Nile crocodiles – the second largest reptile to exist on this planet. The calm waters provide a conducive environment for relaxation and forgetting about the troubles of your daily routine. The boat trip on Lake Ihema is indeed rewarding to undertake while on Rwanda safari.

Game drives:

Being the largest Savannah protected area in Rwanda, Akagera National Park is ideal ground for game drive while on safari in Rwanda. The game drive will expose you to a range of wild animals including; buffaloes, elephants, zebras, impala, waterbucks, the rare leopard (if lucky), giraffe among other wildlife. The tracks are designed to give you an opportunity to explore the whole park from the south to the north up to the famous Mutumba hills. Self-drives are possible though the option of taking along the guide is advisable as they have experience in spotting a lot of game.

Sport fishing:
On Lake Shakani, the Rwanda safari visitors are availed with an opportunity to participate in the sport fishing adventure. The activity is full of fun as you hook your own fish.
Helicopter Adventures.
Being an open and relative leveled land, the Akagera National Park can be explored on aerial tours. The helicopter adventures open the doors for Rwanda safari undertakers to maximize their short time in the park by reaching in every corner of the park within a reasonable time. The Ariel views are quite interesting as you see the patches of lakes, flowing streams and rich game flourishing in their natural wonder.

Getting there:
Getting to Akagera National Park is over 130km about 2 – 3 hours’ drive from Kigali city. You pass via Rwamagana or Ngoma which is over 1 hour drive to the park. The park has two entrances which are always open from 7am to 5pm. They include; the main gate located in the south of the park which is over 27km from Kabarondo on a dirt road and 15km north of Ngoma. Another gate is the North gate.
Accommodation:
Ruzizi Tented Lodge
This is a luxury facility positioned on Lake Ihema shores with an up class setting to arrest the worries of the upmarket clientele. It began operating in Oct, 2012 and has seven tents with 14 people occupancy capacity. The tents contain inbuilt facilities, area for dressing, lounge bar, cozy dining, fire place and solar power.
Akagera Game Lodge
This is another upmarket facility in the south west of the park close to the gate and Lake Ihema. It contains 58 rooms that are well contained plus two executive suites all featuring twin beds and Satellite TV. Akagera Game Lodge has a swimming pool, Bar, Restaurant, tennis court, business center and conference room.
Camping options:
Shakani Campsite. This is positioned close to Shakani Lake where sport fishing is carried out. The camp offers you sights of birds, scenery and Hippos.
Mutumba Campsite: The Mutumba campsite is positioned on the Akagera Park’s vantage point where animals tend to gather including the eland and the roan antelope.

Mayumba Campsite:
This is positioned in the southern sector close to Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani with the views of the Tanzanian plains. The camp is closer to Kiyonza gate thus making it the closest camp to the Akagera Park entrance.
The camp sites have washrooms and pit latrines with no running water. The Rwanda safari traveller interested in camping has to carry the water along to the camp depending on the days of stay. Tents can be hired at the reception and the firewood is provided.