Lake Ihema is among the lakes of Rwanda and the it is much recognized because of its size. Lake Ihema is Rwanda’s second largest fresh water lake following the larger Lake Kivu. Rwanda is a very biologically diverse country with many rivers, lakes, hills, mountains, lowlands and savannah plains with plenty of flora and fauna making this country even more beautiful.

Rwanda has claimed its position on the world map because of the unique wildlife which can only be found in this region. Rwanda has endemic animal species and endemic bird species that guests can spot on their Rwanda safari and examples are the mountain gorillas which are found in the Volcanoes national park Rwanda. On your Rwanda safari, you can take part in some birding to spot the endemic bird species of the region.

The Lake Ihema is located in the only savannah national park of Rwanda and this is the Akagera national park. The Akagera national park is a much visited destination when in Rwanda as this is the only national park where you can take on a wildlife game drive in the vast savannah plains. The Akagera national park is a home to the big 5 animals and these are the Africana Loxodonta- The African elephant, the white rhinos, the buffaloes, the lions and the leopards.

The Akagera national park of Rwanda not only hosts the big 5 but also the smaller game like the antelopes, bush bucks, giraffes, a common sighting in this park. The Lake Ihema is however not the only lake or waterbody in this park and there are smaller lakes such as lake Shakani, lake Rwanyakazinga, lake Gishanju and lake Mihindi. The Akagera national park is a home to the famous Kagera river where the name of the national park depicts.

The Kagera River is a part of the River Nile and connects to the Nile River at a point. The Kagera river starts from Burundi in the south of Rwanda and flows upwards to the east connecting to the Lake Ihema in the Akagera national park and ends up in Tanzania. The River Kagera along with the Lake Ihema make up the border boundary between Tanzania and Rwanda at this point.

Lake Ihema
Boat Cruise on Lake Ihema

The Lake Ihema, Rwanda’s second largest lake, covers an area of 90 square kilometers and is at an altitude of 1,292 meters with a depth of 5 to 7 meters. The Lake Ihema is located in the southern part of the Akagera national park. The Lake Ihema is where the guests to this park can enjoy an ideal boat cruise.

The Lake Ihema is a home to a number of aquatic life and these include the hippos, the Nile crocodiles, and is also a great point for those guests interested in birds to spot a number of these such as the papyrus gonolek, the famous shoebill stork, herons, malachite kingfisher, sandpipers, jacanas, plovers, to mention but a few.

The bird life is supported by the papyrus swampy vegetation that is surrounding the lake and these are both perennial and the seasonal swamps thus the animal species thriving in this region.

These swamps act as great wetlands providing the ideal home to the wildlife of the lake and also the fish are food for the birds such as the African Fish Eagle, another one of the bird species in the area.

What to do on Lake Ihema

Boat cruise

A boat cruise to spot the aquatic life in the Akagera national park guests can part with 35 USD for a scheduled 1 hour and a half hour boat cruise. This boat cruise is available for booking by a maximum number of 11 guests. Children will pay 20 USD to enjoy this lake Ihema boat cruise in Akagera national park.

Incase you are interested in the sunset boat trip, the guests will pay 10 dollars extra making it a 45 USD pay with the children paying 30 USD. There is an option of hiring out the entire boat at an unscheduled time for private use at 180 USD per person for the adults and children as well.

The time schedule for the boat moves from 7:30 to 8:30 am, 9:00 to 10:00 am and then later from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. 4:30 to 6:00 pm which is the sunset trip.


The Lake Ihema is in a protected area but the lake has permitted fishing on its waters however at a restricted rate following a decree that was set in 1934. There are some fish thriving in the waters of the lake Ihema.

We look forward to hearing from you to book your visit to the Lake Ihema.

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