Things to do in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours: Akagera National Park is situated 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 inside and surrounding 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.
A Brief History of Akagera National Park.
Akagera National Park has a troubled history. The 1994 genocide and civil conflict caused a massive refugee crisis, with many refugees leaving the nation through the park. Refugees returned to the nation through the park after the war. Because they lacked land, food, and a place to live, some of the refugees resorted to poaching and chopping down park trees for timber. This was a difficult moment for park management since wild species got imperiled and some became extinct in the park.
The Rwandan government signed a cooperative management agreement with the Africa Parks Network in 2010, with funding from the Howard Buffet Foundation and other organizations. This was a watershed moment in the park’s history. The park management, in collaboration with various donors and international wildlife conservation, embarked on an ambitious program to reintroduce species that had become extinct in the park, while also improving security by fencing the park and increasing air surveillance to combat poaching.
The initiative has been a huge success because the park now boasts all five of the big five (buffaloes, leopards, elephants, lions, and rhinoceros), making Akagera a one-stop-shop for anyone looking for an African safari. Apart from the big 5, the park features various Savannah creatures such the topi, hippos, crocodiles, warthogs, hyena, waterbuck, mongoose, eland, zebra, serval cats, duiker, impala, black masked civet, reedbuck, bush pigs, giraffe, side-stripped jackal, Klipspringer, Sitatunga Antelopes and roan antelope. Olive baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, and bush-babies are among the primate species.
Since the park’s modifications began, the bird population has expanded to around 500 species. The birds may be found in a wide variety of habitats, including Savannah plains, woodlands, and papyrus swamps. Activities in Akagera National Park include a boat cruise on the park’s lakes like Lake Ihema where you could see a Shoebill stork or a Papyrus Gonolek. African fish eagles, cormorants, crowned cranes, egrets, Herons, marabou storks, and open-billed storks are among the other species.
Things to do in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
Game Drives in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
Game drives in the hills, plains, and lakes may be done in the morning, afternoon, and at night. Since the Rwanda Development Board and African Parks formed a partnership, the park’s roads have improved significantly. Visitors must hire a tour vehicle capable of traversing the park’s difficult terrain. Park guides are vital during game drives since they are educated about the region and will take you to the proper areas while offering important information about the various animals. There are tours available for hiring at the park’s communications office for around $25.
Night Game Drives in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
Akagera is the only national park in Rwanda that can conduct night game drives. Night game drives use spotlights and an open-roof vehicle to allow tourists to see nocturnal species such as genets, mongooses, bush babies, owls, nightjars, leopards, and hyenas. During the day, many animals and birds are difficult to spot. Night game drives in Akagera national park with Explore Rwanda Tours run two to three hours and cost $40 for an international tourist.
Boat Cruise Tours in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
Lake Ihema is well-known for its boat cruise tours in Akagera National Park. Crocodiles, hippos, and elephants may be seen drinking along the shoreline while on the boat ride. Several bird species, including the African darter, African jacana, blue-headed coucal, cormorant, fish eagles, kingfishers, marsh flycatcher, and open-bill stork, nest in the Lakes and neighboring marshes. The boat tour costs $45 for international guests. Only 11 persons are permitted on the boat. Those looking for a more personalized encounter can plan their own excursion for $180. Boats go every morning and afternoon.
Bird Watching in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
Over 450 kinds of birds may be seen when birdwatching at Akagera. Although there are less 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, Sauza shrike, lilac-breasted roller, Meyer’s parrot, Ross’s turaco, red-faced barbet, and long-tailed cisticola are among the species. The magnificent Shoebill stock can be seen in the park but in tiny numbers.
Walk the Line Tour in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
Visitors can accompany one of the fence attendants or park rangers for a walk along the security fence, which is related to the nature trails. The security barrier has reduced poaching and other confrontations with individuals who live near the park. The 7-kilometer hike takes two hours, costs nothing, and offers spectacular views of the wildlife park.
Sport Fishing in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
Akagera National Park is undoubtedly Rwanda’s greatest site to go sport fishing. Lake Shakani’s shoreline is ideal for fishing species such as Tilapia and catfish. Many birds and animals may be seen drinking by the shoreline while fishing. Fishing contests are held on a regular basis, and the victors are awarded with the opportunity to cook and consume their catch. Fishing licenses cost $25.
Guided Nature walks in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
The park guide can assist you plan nature hikes throughout the park. A tour around chosen portions of the park allows you to enjoy the park’s rich biodiversity. Nature walks in Akagera national park with Explore Rwanda Tours entail following designated park pathways to woods, lakes, and wetlands.
Community Cultural Tours in Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours.
Akagera National Park’s management interacts with surrounding villages to allow visitors to go on cultural trips. Community guides lead these tours. Tourists learn how to care for their long-horned cows, manufacture beer, prepare cuisine, and celebrate crucial seasons during these cultural trips. Visitors can assist in the milking of the cows, sample some of the local cuisines, and dance to local/folk music. The visits are limited to 3 hours.
When is the best time to visit Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours?
Safaris in Akagera National Park are available all year. There are no official holidays, and tourism activities take place every day, including weekends. The dry season is when most people like to visit the park.
The rainy season occurs in specific months of March and April, making travel difficult. The park is best visited between December and February. The rains had ended by that point, but the park remained green from the previous wet season. Much of the waterholes dry up during this time of year, and the animals congregate in the few surviving puddles. In contrast to the wet season, this allows them to be easily identified in a single location. The high heat and sandy roads may be too much for some people.
How to get to Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours?
The Akagera National Park is accessible by air and vehicle. The trip from Kigali may provide guests with a stunning aerial view of the park. Flights from the park to Kigali and return are organized by Akagera Aviation. It takes no more than three hours to drive from Kigali to the park on a well-paved asphalt route.
Those who begin their trek at Rwamagana or Kibungo must travel for one hour before arriving at the park. The 27km route leading from the main road to the park entrance is dusty but accessible by automobiles even during the wet season. The roads within the park are not as excellent as those coming to the gate and will necessitate the use of a competent 4WD vehicle, especially during the wet season.
When you book your Rwanda safari to Akagera National Park with Explore Rwanda Tours, we will arrange the car and driver/guide for you while also ensuring that your accommodation and activities are booked in advance.