Akagera National Park Rwanda

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 River Kagera that flows along its eastern border. Akagera National Park was established in 1934 and its one of the largest conserved wetland areas in Africa. Swamps and lakes make almost a third of the park.

Akagera national park is mainly composed of swamps, marshes, papyrus swamps, lakes woodlands grasslands and savannah plains making it rich in biodiversity and a very good habitat for wildlife.

Akagera National Park

History / Background

Before the outbreak of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Akagera covered an area of 2500 kilometers squared but some parts of the park were later allocated to refugees returning in the country after the genocide. The park now covers 1,122 kilometers squared. Akagera national park used to have the largest population of wild dogs which the Belgian government that ruled Rwanda by then considered as a pest. Wild dogs were last seen in 1984 before an epidemic outbreak occurred at the park.

Location / Getting There / Address

Akagera National Park is located in Kayonza District, in the eastern province of Rwanda. The park is right at the Tanzania / Rwanda border and only a few kilometers away from the Ugandan border. Akagera can easily be accessed from Kigali. If you are traveling from Uganda, you can easily access it through the Ntungamo – Mirama Hills Border post.

Entrance Fees

  • Foreign non-residents – $35 per person
  • Rwandan / East African residents – $25 per person
  • Rwandan / East African nationals – $7 per person
  • Kids under 5 years – (free)
  • kids above 6 years (normal adult rates)

Please note that the prices above are quoted on per person basis. 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 Rwanda safaris. Being the only Savannah park in Rwanda, there is so much to enjoy here that you cannot enjoy elsewhere in the country. Akagera is the only Rwandan park with all the big five game animals. See some of our recommended tours to Akagera below:

See Here: 7 Days Rwanda Gorillas & Wildlife Safari

See Here: 3 Days Akagera Wildlife Safari

Animals in Akagera Park

Akagera national park is home to various wildlife species like buffalos, zebras, bushbucks, Massai giraffes, elands, topis, hyenas,  warthogs, oribis, zebras, sitatungas,  Deffassa waterbuck, roan antelopes, sable antelopes, reedbucks, civets, and different primates species. Night game drives are also conducted in the park. They offer visitors great opportunities for watching nocturnal animals like leopards and hyenas. Other primates 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 off. This left Rwanda without any lions for over 15 years. The lions were later introduced and so were the Eastern Black Rhinos, which made Rwanda have all the big five game animals. When you visit Akagera today, you can spot all these animals if you carry out extensive game drives.

How Big is Akagera National Park

Akagera currently spans 1,122 kilometers squared. It covered an estimate of 2500 kilometers squared before the spark of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide. After this period of terror, part of the park’s land was given to locals who had sought refuge in neighboring countries. Akagera is the second largest national park in Rwanda after Nyungwe Forest National Park.

Tourism Activities

A couple of tourism activities can be done at this Savannah park. Some of these include game drives, boat cruise, 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 endowed with so many species of mammals. The northern section apparently offers the best game viewing moments. You should consider carrying out your game drives there when you visit.

The boat cruise on Lake Ihema is a perfect opportunity for you to see so many animals right from the ones in water to the rest hydration from the water banks. So many birds get along your way too, offering stunning bird watching moments. If you need a blend of the game animals in Rwanda, consider booking safaris in Akagera NP. You will be amazed.

Fishing in Akagera National Park is done from Lake Shakani. Tourists can enjoy fishing in this lake on condition that they come with their fishing gears. The most beautiful thing is that you can keep your catch to be cooked at your hotel for dinner or you can just set a fire and roast at the river shores while enjoying 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 birders paradise. Bird enthusiasts can spot different species of birds ranging from swamp and forest birds. Some of the examples are; swamp flycatcher, shoebill stork, red-faced barbet, marabou stork, African fish eagle, lilac breasted roller,  Suaza shrike, long-tailed cisticola, Ross turaco, papyrus gonolek, huglens robin chat and many others. The best time to go birding in the park is early in the morning or around evening time.

Attractions

Akagera is endowed with so many attractions and some of these include; lake Ihema, Lake Rwanyakizinga, Lake Mihindi, Lake Hago, Lake Kivumba, Lake Shakani, Lake Cyambwe, Lake Nasho, Lake Mpanga, the wildlife in the park, bird life and a whole lot more. Your primary reason for visiting this park should be game viewing. Its best known for this and offers a stunning experience.

Map of Akagera

Akagera Map
Source: safarilodges.com

Weather, Climate, and Altitude

Being a landlocked country, Rwanda is bordered to the North by Uganda, west by Tanzania, down south by Burundi and to the west by DRC Congo. The country has a large plateau that stretches from far west to east from approximately 4400 meters at its peak and about 1000 meters at the lowest. Rwanda has types of tropical climate and these are wet-dry and moist. The longest rainy season starts around the last week of March all the way to the last week of May. Because of elevation, the forests in the northern province of Rwanda are moist all year round. They can best be visited from June to October or December to late February. Rwanda’s climate is influenced by the swinging repercussions of the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone). This is why the country has both wet and dry seasons.

TripAdvisor Reviews

TripAdvisor is a great platform for reviews. You can easily read other people’s past experiences, flaws and recommendations hence, plan your trip better when you visit. For current review updates and recommendations about this Rwanda national park, 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 other national parks, there are no good accommodation facilities outside Akagera National Park. All the good lodges are inside the park and some of these include Ruzizi Tented Lodge and Akagera Game Lodge. Ruzizi Tented Lodge is a pick for luxury clients whereas Akagera Game Lodge caters for budget and mid-range travelers. Clients are advised to book their safaris to Akagera several months prior because of limited accommodation in the entire national park.

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