10 Top Reasons Why You Should Visit Akagera National Park In Rwanda
Akagera National Park is the country’s only safari destination. With marshes, savannahs, and lakes, it’s a diverse landscape, home to a wealth of wildlife, a new luxury camp, and a solid conservation team.
Akagera national park offers travelers with a variety of tourist attractions and activities, which together make a complete Rwanda safari package.
1. Wildlife(Game Drives)
Akagera is now home to the iconic Big Five: buffalos, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and lions.
The landscape is stunning and you can see a lot of different animals in a short amount of time. Akagera’s wildlife has increased significantly over recent years and the latest count estimated that the Park is now home to some 8,000 large animals. The new perimeter fence completed in late 2013 should also impact positively on numbers.
You will be able to see Burchall’s zebras, giraffes, impalas, and topi (known as tsessebe in Southern Africa), bushbucks, eland, African swallows, vervet monkeys, baboons, warthogs, mongoose, hippos, crocodiles, and even an elephant. There are actually more than 120 elephants in the park. Other mammals include oribi, Defassa waterbuck, reedbucks, sable and roan antelopes, buffalos, and many more.
The most stunning drive from south to north in a day. More than enough animals to keep give you a great experience and the most glorious views from the top of the mountain across Lake Ihema to Tanzania.
2. Birding (Birding Watching)
Akagera national park is one of the few places you might be able to see a shoebill in the wild. Generally, the park is a fantastic place and a paradise for birders.
You will be amazed by the immense variety and abundance of species with over 500 species recorded in Akagera. The park has rare bird species such as the near-threatened papyrus gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri) restricted to papyrus swamps.
Other species include; the gorgeous lilac-breasted roller, black-headed gonalek, heuglin’s robin-chat, grey hornbill, ross’s turaco, crested barbet, red-faced barbet, swamp flycatcher (Muscicapa boehmi) and many more.
3. Boat Cruise:
The best way to spend an afternoon in Akagera national park is to take a boat ride on Lake Ihema. Most animals are hiding under the shade because of the heat from the sun as others come to the water for cooling off and drinking. In addition to a variety of water birds, you will watch schools of hippos in the water and crocodiles by the shores of the lake. There are scheduled boat trips that happen during the day but one can book for a private unscheduled boat trip at their own timing.
The park offers an opportunity for sport fishing on Lake Shakani. You are required to make a booking with the park for sport fishing on this lake. Even though the expectation is catch and release, you are given an opportunity to take one catch for a meal if interested.
5. Nature walks:
Akagera national park has so many beautiful sights that can be best admired up close. Nature walks give you the opportunity to see things up close. The exotic plants, colorful butterfly species, the still water in some of the lakes, the water birds, the smaller animals that you couldn’t see quite well on the game drive. Nature walks are peaceful and a very good opportunity to appreciate nature at a much slower and easier pace.
6. Cultural And Traditional Interactions:
Experience the rural Rwandan life around the cattle keeping communities near Akagera national park. During these cultural visits, you have the opportunity to observe and or participate in;
- Traditional cattle grazing (long-horned cows)
- Traditional milk storage in calabashes for preservation
- Prepare the local food
- Making local beer
You then go through the process of converting milk into different products like traditional yogurt, ghee, and lastly take part in preparing a meal with some of the ingredients from the milk products.
This is an authentic cultural experience shared by the locals living adjacent to the park, they get to earn from this supplementing their agricultural income. This eventually contributes to conservation culture and wild animals in the park.
The park is secure enough with security personnel that safeguard the park from poachers and also encroachers who can be a threat to the tourists and wild animals in the park. At the entrance of the park, the security team first checks the tourists for any security threats and after they are then allowed to proceed to the reception area where they are briefed about how the activities in the park should be carried out i.e. the Dos and Donts before they participate in any activity.
During activities in the park, you are accompanied by the tour guide and armed ranger to avoid any accidents like animal attacks.
Akagera national park is just 2 and a half hours drive and has good roads. It is a beautiful and convenient savannah landscape to visit, and an easy site to add on to before or after visiting the gorillas.
You can use public means, however, we highly recommend you at least hire a car and driver or contact us so that we can organize for you a safari to Akagera national park such that you can better enjoy the safari. This will make your trip worry-free, but relaxed, compared to when you use public means.
Akagera national park has various lodges. The lodges range from permanent brick structures to luxury tents.
Here are some of the places you can stay at in the Akagera area.
Karenge Bush Camp
This Luxurious Camp is opened only during the peak seasons of June – August, and December – February. The staffs are very professional and take great care of visitors. Services are full board and visitors should expect good rooms and meals/water three times a day.
This is a new Luxury hotel that has just been opened recently in an exclusive area within the park but far away from the main park offices. The intention is to offer more privacy for those who desire more intimate moments.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge
This Luxury lodge was built by the park management in 2013 and profits go directly to conservation programs.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge is only Luxury / Up market accommodation in Akagera National Park. Accommodation is offered in nine (9) tents that are widely spaced providing a tranquil stay for the affluent travelers on Safari in Rwanda. The maximum occupancy at Ruzizi is 20 guests.
Room Facilities at Ruzizi Tented Lodge
- En-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water
- A dressing area
- Either comfortable queen or ¾ twin beds
- Small patio at the front
- Wooden boardwalks.
General Facilities at Ruzizi Tented Lodge
- Fireplace sits under a shady fig tree overlooking Lake Ihema.
- solar energy
Because of its location near the lake Ihema, it is possible to see the animals feeding and drinking nearby. The international and local dishes are served.
Akagera Game Lodge
Akagera Game Lodge is perched atop a ridge that offers panoramic views of Akagera Park. Comprising a series of two-story motel-like structures with stone detailing, the lodge includes a lounge with an upper-level bar and two swimming pools, one of which is suited for guests with children.
In addition to its 62 rooms and suites, the lodge also offers two distinct rondavel cottages, one with three bedrooms and the other with two. These cottages include a kitchenette and dining area.
Dereva is a budget hotel built outside the game park in Rwamagana District. It takes only 40 minutes of driving from the hotel to the park. There are both single and twin self-contained rooms with WiFi, phones, and Flat TV Screens. There are a lounge area and meeting rooms of different sizes.
Hotels outside the park:
There are a few hotels outside of the park nearby such as Seeds of Hope Guesthouse, Cari hotel. LeMigo hotel, Discover Rwanda youth hostel, top tower hotel, Umubano hotel, Grand legacy hotel. The manor hotel, and so many more.
If you are not sure about where to stay or how to make bookings, kindly ask us to make the bookings on your behalf, we will be sure to find something that fits within your budget, and that suits your needs.
This means sleeping in the park with completely nothing between you and the animals but just a thin sheet of super nylon and this is an exciting adventure and it’s so fair to Akagera Park. However, be aware of the roaming gangs of the baboons. These are so cheeky and will also do their best of stealing the food as well as terrorizing you since they are jerks and have got weird bums.
Also spending the night around the campfire with friends, beers as well as the open sky which also makes a good break from city life and is also one of the best overnight or weekend tours that can be done in Rwanda. There are also three campsites with the one in the north at Mutumba and it’s known as the most fantastic camp.
Camping also costs $25 per person per night and the park can always rent you a 6 person tent for an extra $ 25 per person and this is for the two southern campsites. The campsites don’t have any other gear and make sure to always bring yours. Both campsites are well equipped with the BBQ and the firewood are provided and there is also a pit latrine and small shelter. The views at the campsites are so great and you can camp in the park with the wild animals that roam in the bush and this is so pretty cool.
10. Giving Back To The Community
Proceeds collected from activities, and park entrances go back to the communities. And the largest number of people employed in the park are local people who stay close to the park. This in return ensures the sustainability of the different conservation efforts and also your visit to the park employees someone.
In general, Akagera national park offers it all to meet, satisfy, and exceed your travel expectation to the land of a thousand hills.
To book breathtaking tours in Rwanda, feel free to contact us,