Akagera National Park Review: Akagera National Park (Parc National de l’Akagera) is found in the northeastern part of Rwanda, bordering Tanzania to the east.
The park derives its name from the River Kagera that flows along its eastern border.
Akagera National Park was established in 1934 and is one of the largest conserved wetland areas in Africa.
Swamps and lakes make up almost a third of the park.
Akagera National Park is mainly composed of swamps, marshes, papyrus swamps, woodlands, lakes, grasslands, and savannah plains, making it rich in biodiversity and a very suitable habitat for wildlife.
History & Background
Before the outbreak of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Akagera covered an area of 2,500 square kilometers, but some parts of the park were later allocated to refugees returning to the country after the genocide.
The park now covers 1,122 square kilometers.
Akagera National Park used to have the largest population of wild dogs, which the Belgian government, which ruled Rwanda at that time, considered a pest.
The last sighting of wild dogs was in 1984 before an epidemic outbreak occurred in the park.
Akagera National Park is located in the Kayonza District in the eastern province of Rwanda.
The park is situated right at the Tanzania/Rwanda border and is only a few kilometers away from the Ugandan border. Akagera can be easily accessed from Kigali.
If you are traveling from Uganda, you can easily reach it through the Ntungamo-Mirama Hills Border post.
- Foreign non-residents – $100 per person (1 night), $150 per person (2 nights) & $200 (3 nights)
- Rwandan / East African residents – $50 per person (1 night), $75 per person (2 nights) & $100 (3 nights)
- Rwandan / East African nationals – $16 (15000 RWF) per person (1 night), $24 (22,500 RWF) per person (2 nights) & $32 (30000 RWF) (3 nights)
- Foreign non-resident kids above 6 years – $50 per person (1 night), $75 per person (2 nights) & $100 (3 nights)
- Rwandan / East African resident kids above 6 years – $30 per person (1 night), $45 per person (2 nights) & $60 (3 nights)
- Rwandan / East African resident kids above 6 years – $11 (10000 RWF) per person (1 night), $16 (15000 RWF) per person (2 nights) & $21 (20000 RWF) (3 nights)
- Kids under 5 years – (free)
Please note that the prices above are quoted on per person basis.
Also, you will not be allowed to enter the park beyond 6:00 PM Rwandan time.
Akagera Safari Tours
Booking safaris to Akagera National Park is a great way to enjoy your Rwandan safaris.
As the only Savannah park in Rwanda, there is so much to enjoy here that you cannot experience elsewhere in the country.
Akagera is the only Rwandan park that boasts all the big five game animals.
See some of our recommended tours to Akagera below:
Animals in Akagera Park
Akagera National Park is home to various wildlife species, including buffalos, zebras, bushbucks, Maasai giraffes, elands, topis, hyenas, warthogs, oribis, sitatungas, Defassa waterbuck, roan antelopes, sable antelopes, reedbucks, civets, and different primate species.
Night game drives are also conducted in the park, offering visitors great opportunities to watch nocturnal animals like leopards and hyenas.
Other primate species like vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons, and silver monkeys, among others, also inhabit the park.
The Big Five Animals in Akagera
In the 1992 Rwanda civil war, the entire lion population in the park was wiped out.
This left Rwanda without any lions for over 15 years.
Lions were later reintroduced, and Eastern Black Rhinos were also introduced, making Rwanda home to all the big five game animals.
When you visit Akagera today, you can spot all these animals by embarking on extensive game drives.
How Big is Akagera National Park
Akagera currently spans 1,122 square kilometers.
It covered an estimated 2,500 square kilometers before the outbreak of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
After this period of terror, part of the park’s land was allocated to locals who had sought refuge in neighboring countries.
Akagera is the second-largest national park in Rwanda, following Nyungwe Forest National Park.
Tourism Activities/What to do
A variety of tourism activities can be enjoyed at this Savannah park.
Some of these activities include game drives, boat cruises, fishing, nature walks, camping, birding, and more.
Being Rwanda’s only savannah park, the primary activity in Akagera National Park is game viewing.
The park is home to many species of mammals, with the northern section offering the best game viewing opportunities.
Consider conducting your game drives in this area when you visit.
The boat cruise on Lake Ihema provides a perfect opportunity to see a wide range of animals, both in the water and along the water’s edge.
You’ll also encounter numerous bird species, offering stunning bird-watching moments.
If you’re looking for a blend of Rwanda’s game animals, consider booking safaris in Akagera NP. You will be amazed.
Fishing in Akagera National Park is done on Lake Shakani.
Tourists can enjoy fishing in this lake provided they bring their fishing gear.
The most beautiful thing is that you can keep your catch to be cooked at your hotel for dinner or even set a fire and roast it on the river shores while enjoying the sounds of hippos.
Catfish and tilapia fish are the most common types of fish in the lake.
Birding: Akagera National Park is home to over 500 species of birds, making it a birder’s paradise.
Bird enthusiasts can spot different species of birds, including swamp and forest birds.
Some examples include the swamp flycatcher, shoebill stork, red-faced barbet, marabou stork, African fish eagle, lilac-breasted roller, Suaza shrike, long-tailed cisticola, Ross turaco, papyrus gonolek, Huglen’s robin-chat, and many others.
The best time for birding in the park is early in the morning or around evening time.
Attractions/What to see
Akagera is endowed with many attractions, including Lake Ihema, Lake Rwanyakizinga, Lake Mihindi, Lake Hago, Lake Kivumba, Lake Shakani, Lake Cyambwe, Lake Nasho, Lake Mpanga, the wildlife in the park, birdlife, and much more.
The primary reason for visiting this park should be game viewing, as it is best known for offering a stunning wildlife viewing experience.
Map of Akagera
Weather, Climate, and Altitude
Being a landlocked country, Rwanda is bordered to the north by Uganda, to the west by Tanzania, to the south by Burundi, and to the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The country has a large plateau that stretches from the far west to the east, with elevations ranging from approximately 4,400 meters at its peak to about 1,000 meters at the lowest point.
Rwanda experiences two main types of tropical climate, namely the wet-dry and moist climates.
The longest rainy season typically starts around the last week of March and continues until the last week of May.
Due to its elevation, the forests in the northern province of Rwanda remain moist throughout the year.
The best time to visit them is from June to October or from December to late February.
Rwanda’s climate is influenced by the shifting effects of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), which is why the country experiences both wet and dry seasons.
Akagera Video by African Parks
TripAdvisor is a valuable platform for reading reviews and accessing information about various destinations.
You can easily learn from other people’s past experiences, including their observations, criticisms, and recommendations.
This can help you plan your trip more effectively when you visit a place.
For the most current reviews, updates, and recommendations about Akagera National Park in Rwanda, you can visit Akagera’s TripAdvisor page here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3685402-d778657-Reviews-Akagera_National_Park-Eastern_Province.html
Where to stay: Accommodation, Lodges & Hotels
Unlike some other national parks, there are no good accommodation facilities located outside Akagera National Park.
All the reputable lodges are situated within the park, and a few examples include Ruzizi Tented Lodge and Akagera Game Lodge.
Magashi Camp is a preferred choice for super luxury clients, Ruzizi Tented Lodge & Karenge Bush Camp are a preferred choice for luxury clients, while Akagera Game Lodge caters to budget and mid-range travelers.
Visitors are advised to book their safaris to Akagera several months in advance due to the limited accommodation options available within the entire national park.
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