Located in the North east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania is the only savannah park in the country – Akagera National Park. Founded in 1934, much of the park was re-allocated as farms and in 1997 the park was reduced in size from more than 2,500 sq km (nearly 10% of the surface area of Rwanda) to its current extent of 1,122 sq km. Since 2010, a joint venture with African Parks has seen Akagera return to its former glories.
The park is named after the Akagera River which flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. Other small lakes within Akagera National Park are; Lake Shakani, Lake Birengiro, Lake Hago, Lakes Gashanju and Mihindi.
The forest fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands combine to make Akagera amongst the most scenic of reserves anywhere in Africa. It has exceptional levels of biodiversity and forms the largest protected wetland in central Africa.
Akagera is one of the best birding sites on earth with approximately 500 bird species. While on a standard Birding trip in Akagera , you stand very high opportunities to encounter with the Red-faced barbet, the Northern Brown-throated Weaver, Papyrus Gonolek, White-Winged Swamp Warbler, Carruthers’s Cisticola, White-collared Olive back, and Grey-crowned Cranes and the Shoebill stork that ranks so high on every birder’s checklist.
Akagera National Park is one of the few savannah parks in Africa where you can see the Big five without switching park gates. Since African parks took control of the park in 2010, there has been tremendous and steady increase in the animal population and as of February 2022, the park is home to both black and white rhinos, Lion population has increased since the introduction of lions back in 2015, the elephant, buffalo and shy leopard can be seen while on game drives.
Other interesting residents of Akagera National park are the hyenas, side-striped jackals, Zebras, Giraffes, and so many others.
The presence of various antelope species (about 11 species) provides for a complete ecosystem, and these include the topi, waterbuck, roan antelope, eland, the duikers,oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck, impala among others.
While at the lodge or on a game drive, you are assured of seeing savannah primates, among others: Olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, Bush-baby and silver monkey.
While at Akagera National park, we also offer night game drives and quite often Adventure Consults’ clients have been rewarded with views of shy and interesting nocturnal animals like the bushbabies, Genet cats and Civet cats.
What to do in Akagera National Park (activities).
Adventure Consults offers a number of trips that cover Akagera as a single destination or a combination with other National parks that makes Rwanda a one-stop tourist destination.
- Akagera’s Wildlife and Water Safari
- Ultimate Rwanda
- The Mystical Wildlife and Gorillas Rwanda
- Rwanda Birding Adventure
- Birding in Rwanda – Akagera and Kigali
Most or all of these activities will be part of our all-inclusive packages which in most cases are prepaid. Info here is simply to give you an insight. Please can check out our Safari section for detailed packages.
Game drives: While on any of Adventure Consults’ trip, you are assured of world class Game drives. The park management under African Parks has significantly improved the road network and general infrastructure.
Our private game drive excursions explore the park’s plains, hills and go towards the lake side. Game drives are usually in the mornings and afternoons, though sometimes take a full day if venturing towards the Northern sector.
The night game drives are uniquely interesting and a MUST do for opportunities to spot Akagera’s nocturnal wildlife, from lions to leopards which are among the most sought-after sightings. Guided night drives that commence at sunset are a fantastic way to cap off your day in the park.
Boat trips along the shores of Lake Ihema; Rwanda’s second largest lake offers boat trips where you get to see wildlife at very close range. The motorized luxury small boats are able to get very close to the lake shores for the best Birding experiences.
While on a boat trip in Akagera National park, both small and big animals come close to you as they bask by shores, drink and cool off. The best way to get close to the Nile crocodiles and large pods of hippos is by taking a boat ride on Lake Ihema.
Adventure Consults team will book on you on any of these scheduled departures; 7:30am, 9am, 3pm, and 4:30pm. Places fill so fast, so more reason to book in advance – email@example.com
Birding in akagera national park: Rwanda is well known as a land of a thousand Hills, but also qualifies for a land of close to a thousand Birds! With more than half of Rwanda’s Bird species, Akagera National park offers great aquatic bird sightings.
The boat cruise on Lake Ihema rewards you with water associated bird life among other Birds include African Finfoot, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, fish eagle, jewel-like malachite king fishers, pied king-fishers, blue-headed coucal, marsh flycatcher and others.
Are you looking for the one of the most unique and rare Birds? The shoebill (Balaeniceps rex) is an iconic species, both in terms of its status as a lifer for birders, and more importantly, as a bellwether species for the health of the wetland habitats it survives on.
- The only suitable protected habitat in Rwanda is within Akagera National Park where the numbers are unknown. Adventure Consults’ excursion in search for the shoebill in Akagera can either be by boat or take a game drive towards the marshy corners of the park. It’s on record that the only place in Rwanda where you can have the best views, photograph and film the shoebill is Akagera National Park. Check out – Rwanda Birding Adventure
Fishing in Akagera National park: Akagera national park has about 10 lakes with the most popular ones being Lake Ihema, Lake Gishanju, Lake Mahindi, and Lake Shakani.
Lake Shakani is the most popular lake for fishing in Akagera National park. Mostly. the fish species caught is the tilapia and cat fish. You don’t have to be a fishing expert to enjoy the activity. You will spend time with the local fishermen who will introduce you to different fishing methods which include among others; the cast net, the gill net method, the Lampara, Spearing and shoot arrow method, the Scoop net method and the Hooking method.
Adventure Consults has got a partnership with Akagera Game Lodge (one of the luxury properties in Akagera National Park) who arrange fishing tournaments/competitions. These are organised annually and dates are never the same. Every year has got its own dates which are chosen and communicated once decided upon. You need to get in touch with our sales team for details on pricing, availability and other relevant information. Note that the fishing tournament is strictly catch and release.
Behind the scenes experience in akagera national park; Wildlife conservation is everyone’s responsibility and Adventure consults’ focuses on providing exciting experiences while fronting conservation of both Wildlife and local Cultures at any destination. You may want to be part of the management of the park by participating in a 2 hour behind the scene activity.
You will be transferred to the park headquarters, meet the park staff and get to know about the exciting conservation developments. Both management and junior staff will share their experiences on what they do from sunrise to dusk, some work 24 hours but in shifts, how they have managed to control poaching, increase animal population and ensure the local communities co-exist with the wildlife. Get to listen to interesting talks, every individual has got a story to tell, and no doubt you have a story to tell too! It’s fun….!
Walk the line;
The 2 to 3 hour activity is unique to Akagera National park. You will spend the morning in the shoes of one of Akagera’s fence attendants, who walk a portion of the 120-km perimeter fence on a daily basis to make sure the fence remains intact and is fully operational.
The 7km walks begin at the park entrance and run alongside the park exterior and take visitors into the hills. At the end of the walk, you will be atop a ridge with spectacular views in every direction. We prefer to work with site guides and for this particular exercise, you will be led by community guides alongside with Adventure Consults’ personal field guide.
Community Cultural Experiences
The final destination for every visitor, is someone’s home. Africans and specially Rwandese are very welcoming and love sharing knowledge and always love it when the visitor picks interest in their culture. As a way to connect you with the local communities, Adventure Consults has developed strong partnerships with the local Community leaders who have developed several cultural experiences to share with guests. Together with Adventure Consults’ guide, you take a drive to the Eastern Province and get to learn about milking cows and traditions around cattle. Time permitting, you will spend time with banana beer and honey artisans to see see how local products are made. All revenues generated by these visits are shared with members of the communities you visit. Get in touch with our sales team for details – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cycling experience in Akagera National Park.
Biking/Cycling in Akagera National park offers a great way to see beautiful scenery and discover new places. There are many hidden corners in this savannah park that jeeps cannot go, so get ready to see more than you can access while in a jeep. Your escorted cycling tour will lead you to the local communities, get to talk to them and learn about their culture, history and traditions. The best way to explore Akagera and the surrounding communities is on a bicycle.
Where to stay while in Akagera National park.
Akagera National park has got a variety of accommodation categories, ranging from high-end to midrange giving travelers options depending on personal interest and budget.
All Adventure Consults’ safari packages include accommodation, and we don’t restrict where to stay. Accommodations listed here are recommended and simply a guideline. As a safari company with good working relationship and partnerships with service providers, we don’t ignore clients’ choices.
Most luxury facilities have limited rooms, so you need to check with us (email@example.com) for availability before booking your flights.
One of the luxury camps located in the Northern sector of Akagera National Park. Mogashi camp has got six luxury tents on the shore of Lake Rwanyakazinga. The lodge is accessed by a short boat ride and as soon as you dock off, the camp’s intimate, relaxed atmosphere welcomes you!
Magashi’s warm and welcoming staff love sharing their traditional meals with guests, accompanied by cattle-herding songs and stories.
While staying at Mogashi camp, Adventure Consults will take care of your game drives (both day and night drives), go fishing (catch and release), and can also enjoy an Olympus camera experience. Boating trips on Lake Rwanyakazinga starts right in the camp premises, and can also enjoy swimming anytime of the day.
RUZIZI TENTED CAMP;
Ruzizi is a luxury eco-lodge located on the banks of Lake Ihema. Its nine tents are set back from Ihema’s serene shores and hidden among swaying palms and fruiting fig trees. They flank a thatched reception and dining area, and wooden walkways lead to a stunning deck that hangs over the lake. It contains a central fire pit and is the perfect spot for a morning cup of coffee or post-dinner digestive.
With a 20-guest maximum, Ruzizi is an intimate retreat. Each tent boasts an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, a dressing area, and a cozy queen bed (alternatively, guests can request two beds). All of Ruzizi’s tents enjoy shaded verandas containing campaign chairs, and a tree-trunk table.
The lodge was designed to blend in with its surroundings to ensure guests connect with nature. During construction, trees and vegetation were left undisturbed when possible. Some natural elements have been incorporated into the structure, and many of Ruzizi’s decorations and furniture were hand-crafted by local artisans and cooperatives. The lodge is powered by solar energy and prides itself on being environmentally conscious.
Akagera Game Lodge;
One of the Mantis luxury hotel collections, located in the southern section of the Akagera National Park. The lodge has 59 air-conditioned rooms with en-suite bathrooms, decorated in contemporary Rwandese style.
Facilities at Akagera Game lodge include among others; Swimming Pool, Tennis court, well stoked Bar and different Restaurants, Conference room, Wifi and in-room working desk.
Karenge Bush camp
This is a Bush camp for a typical adventurous traveler. If you want you want to spend some time out looking at stars and the moon, you won’t ask for hairdryers, Wifi, and 5* large beds, then Karenge bush camp is the perfect place! The camp gives an intimate wilderness experience.
Karenge has got six charming canvas tents and accommodates a maximum of 12 guests sharing. Every tent contains two cozy camp beds with mattresses and bedding, camp chairs, reed mat floors, and solar lights for reading before bed, the sounds of nature all around you. The camp’s six tents enjoy own private, outdoor bathrooms with bucket showers, toilets, and canvas basins. Warm water is provided daily.
Note that Karenge camp is closed in April and November to mid-December.
Akagera Rhino Lodge.
The lodge is rustic in nature and has been curated to include the distinctive hallmarks of Rwandan hospitality. Wood and stone have been skilfully crafted by local artisans into custom rooms and furnishings that give Akagera Rhino Lodge a uniquely Rwandan design.
Each of our rooms is a part of a self-contained cottage with a view of Lake Ihema and woody savannah hillsides, a large terrace with lounge chairs, and a sufficient distance from other rooms to allow for exclusive enjoyment of nature around you.
Akagera Rhino lodge is outside the National park.
Akagera Transit Lodge
A community lodge with 13 rooms made of local material, blending well with the surrounding environment. In its simplicity, Akagera transit lodge gives a true feeling of Rwanda’s communities since the local people dominate the staff that take care of the guests.
Akagera transit lodge is outside the National park.