Akagera National Park
Safari suitability: 8/10Find your tour
Now has all of the big five! Be mesmerized by the scenic wetlands and take a boat safari. This is a park with a vision!
What YAS members think
- Small park with much wildlife and vegetation
- One of the most scenic savannah reserves
- Home to the big five
- Excellent bird watching: 500 bird species live in the park
- Tsetse flies can be a nuisance
About Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park lies at the northeast corner of Rwanda, 110 kilometers (68 miles) from the capital, Kigali. The park is named after the Akagera River, the most remote source of the Nile, which flows at the park’s eastern frontier, on the border with Tanzania. Akagera’s size was reduced in 1997 from the original 2,500 km² (965 miles²) to 1,122 km² (433 miles²), in order to provide land for returning refugees after the end of the Civil War. The park presents Central Africa’s largest protected wetland, and is a scenic labyrinth of lakes, papyrus swamps, savannahs and rolling hills. Different ecosystems complement one another, and provide a habitat for an array of mammal and bird species.
Akagera National Park wildlife
Akagera is known for its big game. Buffalo, zebras, Masai giraffes, defassa waterbucks and cape elands, can be seen grazing in the savannah. Elephants have been reintroduced, and their numbers are now estimated at around 120. These magnificent giants can be sometimes spotted at the waterholes. Once the fence at the park’s western boundary is completed, there is also a plan to reintroduce lions and black rhinos.
***Update***In 2015, lions were reintroduced to this park and in 2017, rhinos were added, making Akagara the only park in Rwanda where the big five can be seen.
Baboons and vervet monkeys are among the commonly sighted primates. Leopards and hyenas, the predominate large predators found in the park, can sometimes be spotted during a night drive. If you decide to go on a boat trip on Akagera’s largest lake, Lake Ihema, you are bound to encounter hippos and crocodiles. The papyrus swamps shelter a wide variety of water bird species, and are much loved by ornithologists, who are attracted by nearly 500 bird species living in the park.
Safari activities in Akagera
Guided game drives are available, as well as bird safaris and boat safaris. The guides can advise you on areas of most dense wildlife and scenic spots.
When is the best time of year to visit Akagera National Park?
The dry seasons run from June to September, and January to February, and this is usually the best time to visit. During the wet months, some roads can become impassable, although a lot of effort has been recently put into road development.
We enjoyed seeing the big five in Akagera National park. It was my first time to the lions in the wild. We had the whole day game drive in this park, we saw many animal species and bird species.
Traveled with New Horizon Tours and Services and was lucky to spot many animals in Akagera National Park. I thank Rwanda for efforts in conservation and bringing more animals in this beautiful park.
During my holidays, I like to visit various countries for tourist activities, on that time I was thinking which country to visit I decided to go to Rwanda (Akagera National Park) after reading various reviews and listening some good information from people who already visited Rwanda. I decided to go to Akagera because the park was established long time ago but little strategies was done to promote their tourism. More efforts were done in later years example in 2017 more than 37,000 tourist visited Akagera. This was enough proof how Rwanda developed in tourism. So this increased my confidence to visit the country. Other uniqueness of Akagera, there is various tourist attraction such as biodiversity with wetland, also animals such as elephant, buffalo, zebra, antelope also predators such as lion, leopard, hyena, and more than 500 bird species are found. In March 2018 I decided to visit Akagera. Various things I performed as a tourist such as taking pictures and this increased my happiness on days that I spent on Akagera. You need to witness the uniqueness of Akagera National Park.
My family and I have just returned from a great time in Africa. This was my first time to Rwanda and I wanted to see as much as possible. Although there are no gorillas here, we did see quite a few big animals like giraffe and elephants. It wasn't too crowded and lodging was nice. I would recommend for a day.
Situated in Eastern Rwanda along the Tanzanian border, Akagera National Park protects animals and vegetation in three ecoregions: mountain, savannah and swamp. The park is named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes with the largest being Lake Ihema. Akagera is a big game country with large herds of giraffe, buffalo and zebra which move across the savannah, and rarely elephants can be seen emerging from the woodland to drink at the lakes. Akagera harbours several antelope types, especially the handsome impala, oribi and bushbuck. It also features the topi, the rare roan and the world's largest antelope, the cape eland. On a boat trip on Lake Ihema, expect to view crocodiles and hippos and on a night drive, leopard and hyena might be spotted. Akagera is birders paradise with water birds and a species list of 525. Akagera is so adventurous that you would not dare miss out!
Getting to Akagera National Park from Kigali, Rwanda
It is roughly a two-hour drive from the airport to the park gate. It is also possible to take public buses and minibuses, such as SOTRA, to Akagera from Kigali.
The following airlines travel to Akagera National Park
We are a Rwandan based aviation company specializing in helicopter solutions,pilot training among other services tailored to your every need. We offer aerial excursions within Rwanda and her neighbors in the East Africa community. Our top destinations are Akagera, Nyungwe, Volcanoes National Park and Bisate Lodge. Visit website
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