Sport Fishing in Akagera National Park
Sport Fishing in Akagera National Park is quite a rewarding activity for the avid angler. Sport fishing in the park is among one of the interesting activities that visitors can engage in while on vacation in Rwanda.
Akagera national park is the largest and only savannah national park in Rwanda. The park spans over a radius of 1,122 square kilometers and is located in the north eastern region of Rwanda. In 1934, Akagera was declared a national park.
Currently the national park has undergone a lot of transformation including the reintroduction of 18 black eastern rhinoceros in 2017 and five others in 2019. In order to boost its wildlife base, the park officials reintroduced seven lions to the park in 2015. The national park is currently being managed by the Akagera Management Company, following a joint collaboration by Rwanda Development Board and African Parks, a non-government organization.
Sport Fishing in Akagera National Park.
Sport fishing, also known as recreational fishing, is basically fishing for pleasure or competition. Sport fishing tours in Rwanda are majorly conducted in Akagera national park and this is done annually. In addition to this, the national park also hosts annual sport fishing competitions but visitors interested in participating will have to contact the reservation offices at the park or Akagera game lodge for more information regarding the dates when the competitions will be held.
Visitors can choose to combine fishing with a boat trip on any of the popular lakes in the park. The national park has about 10 lakes that are located within the national park itself, and visitors can explore any of these lakes while on a visit to the national park. Among some of the most visited lakes in the park include; Lake Ihema that is famous for boat trips, Lake Gishanju, Lake Mahindi, and Lake Shakani among others.
Majority of the fishing activities in the national park are conducted on Lake Shakani. Visitors interested in carrying out fishing in the lake have an opportunity to catch fish species such as; tilapia and cat fish among others.
Tourists interested in taking part in these fishing competitions need to prepare at least 6 months in advance. However, it is important for interested parties to know that the catch-and-release fishing tournaments are not directly organized by the national park but rather by Akagera Game Lodge, which is situated with the national park.
Also, since the lodge has limited fishing equipment, visitors are advised to come with their own fishing equipment in order to avoid any inconveniences. Visitors who are interested in fishing activities in the park have to pay a fee of USD 25 dollars per person, per day and children aged between 6 to 12 years of age are charged USD 15 dollars.
Fishing activities on Lake Shakani, involve visitors also learning about the various methods of fishing that are used in the country and these include; the cast net method, the gill net method, the Lampara, Spearing and shoot arrow method, the Scoop net method and lastly the Hooking method.
While fishing, visitors can enjoy a cold drink while listening to folk songs and folk tales or stories that are told by the local fishermen. This is also a great opportunity for visitors to interact with the local people of Rwanda, and learn more about the Rwandan cultures.
Activities Offered in Akagera National Park.
The national park offers visitors a wide range of activities to engage in and these include;
Game drives: Visitors interested in doing game drives in Akagera national park can choose to explore the southern and northern sectors of the national park. Visitors can choose to do a private game drive or guided game drive where you are accompanied by a park ranger/ guide. You can decide to combine fishing trips with a guided game drive in the national park. The park offers visitors morning, afternoon and night game drives. While on a game drive in the national park, visitors a blessed with a chance to see wonderful wildlife species such as; lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes, hyenas, oribis, zebras, giraffes, and antelopes among others.
Boat Cruise: Boat cruises in Akagera national park are mainly conducted on Lake Ihema which is the biggest lake in the national park. The park offers visitors scheduled boat trips at 7:30am, 9am, 3pm, and 4:30pm. However, there are also non-scheduled boat trips available in the national park for visitors who wish to have private tours.
Cultural encounters in Akagera national park are also referred to as community cultural tours and are conducted outside the national park. Cultural encounters are the best way to experience the unique cultures in Rwanda and also get an opportunity to interact with the local people of Rwanda. Visitors can visit a some of the local communities living near the national park, tour tea plantations, farms and even take short cooking classes that will give you the chance to taste some of the local delicacies.
Other activities that are available in Akagera national park include; camping, behind-the-scenes tour, and walk the line among others.
How to get to Akagera National Park.
The national park can be accessed by both road and air transport means. Visitors accessing the park by road can travel from Kigali city which is approximately a 1-2 hour’s drive. Alternatively, visitors can always charter domestic flights from Kigali international airport and get to the park within 30 minutes.