Akagera National Park.
Akagera National Park is located in eastern part of Rwanda covering an area of 1122 sq km (433 sq mi) akagera national park distance from kigali nd is the only savannah national park in Rwanda. the Akagere National Park derives its name from its famous attraction River Kagera which pours its water in Lake Ihema and other small lakes like Gishanju, Lake Mihingi, Lake Rwanyakizinga and Lake Shakani along the border of Tanzania and within the Park, the system of the lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up almost a 3rd of the park making it the largest protected wetland in Eastern-central Africa. Akagera national park animals water bodies, savannah grasslands, forests, plains, rolling hill make the park very beautiful and scenic. African savannah landscape of acacia and bush with patches of open grassland and a dozen swampy lakes harbors wildlife in Park like the big five of Africa namely buffaloes, lions, elephants, Rhinoceros and also topi, hippos, crocodiles, warthogs, hyena, waterbuck, mangoose, elands, zebras, duikers, impala, serval cats, black masked civet, reedbuck, bush pigs, giraffes etc. primates like olive baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys and bush babies are also in akagera national park birds, over 500 recorded species of birds are in the park namely the rare shoebill stork, papyrus Gonolek, African fish, eagles, cormorants, crowned cranes, egrets, Herons, marabou stork, open-billed stork and so many other species. The Akagera national park African parks is protected and conserved by the Rwanda Development Board (RDC) and the African Parks Network which entered into a 20 years agreement in 2009 of joint management of the Park. The Map of the park is on the Rwandan stamp. Wildlife in the park is gradually increasing with conservation and reintroduction of some species like 18 Eastern black rhinos from south Africa which were absent in the park for 10 year, lions from south Africa in 2015.
History of Akagera National Park
Akagere National Park is covered in a lot of history, because of that it is referred to as the pride of Rwanda. The history starts way back in colonial time, it was occupied by the Belgian government way back in 1934 as ‘Park of Lycaon’s’, or ‘Parc aux Lycanos’ in French, the main reason for its occupying it was to protect the wildlife species which were under threat of extinction. The park was home to the biggest number of world Dogs, the big five of African giants. Outbreak of an epidemic led to death of a number of species including the wild dogs and the last remaining of them where last seen in 1984, last Rhinos were last sighted on in 2007. The 1994 Rwanda genocide also led to death of a big number of wildlife. By the time the park was founded it occupied 2500 sq km (970 sq mi) of land but after the genocide, the Rwandan survivors encroached on the park land, as a result a large portion of the park’s savannah woodlands were turned in to grazing ground of cattle and forests cut down for settlement, timber. Wildlife were hunted for meat and others killed because they were threats to their lives. The government of Rwanda under President Paul Kagame has done a very big work of reintroducing wildlife in the park and promoting tourism. A 20 years agreement between Rwanda Development Board and the African parks network was signed to protect and restore the pride of Akagere National Park. Tourist visit at the park have greatly increased since the signing of the agreement,akagera national park cost is very fair that every one can go for.
Activities and Attractions in Akagera National Park
Akagere National Park is the only savannah National Park hence activities like game viewing are guaranteed. Nature lover shouldn’t miss out visiting the park, it has unique scenery like the land scape, rolling hills, valleys in the park with spots for wildlife viewing and photography, akagera national park tented camp.
The akagera national park day trip, the park offers morning, evening and night game drives, game drive are done during this time of the day because the predators usually prefer to hunt at night and early morning and usually go into hiding as the heat from the sun increases. drives are guided by game rangers who are trained and available for hire at the park headquarters. Drives are usually done in 4WD vehicle to enable you spot nocturnal animals like genet, mangoose, bush babies, owl, nightjar, leopards, lions and hyenas. Take as many photos as you want, roads in the park are well developed. Bird species, hills, plains, water bodies will be spotted as well, this drive is very rewarding, interesting and unforgettable.
Boat Cruise and Trip
Boat rides in the park are done in the morning and afternoon on lake Ihema which is famous for boat tips, with a group of 11 people per drive at $40 and if you prefer a private one is at $180 dollars (prices are for international visitors). You will spot crocodiles, hippos, elephants, and a number of bird species on the shores of the lake and the nearby breeding swamps like African darter, African jacana, blue-headed coucal, cormorant, kingfisher, fish eagle and the open-bill stork.
The park is home to a number of savannah and woodland species, few forest and Albertine bird species but regardless the traveler will get satisfied of the view of over 450 species of birds. Species to spot include Arnot chat, black-headed gonolek, double-toothed barbet, suaza shrike, lilac-breasted roller, red-faced barbet, ross’s turaco among others. You will have a great time in the park. The few forest species will be viewed in Nyungwe forest.
Akagera national park is one of the best places for spot fishing in Rwanda. On the shore of lake shakani, fish species expected to catch include Tilapia and catfish. Your allowed to carry your fish catch for cooking, roasting etc. you will have chances to participate in fishing tournaments which are very fun and enjoyable. During this activity more, bird species will be seen.
This activity s guided by park rangers that know the trails of the forest better, you will hike through the selected safe places of the park and have a chance to meet great biodiversity in the park on foot, visit forests, lakes and swamps with in the park.
Park fence walk
You will be given a chance to accompany fence attendants and walk along the security fence. This fence has greatly helped in conservation of the wildlife and also conflicts with the locals leaving around the park. This is a free walk, for two hours and very rewarding.
This includes a visit around the villages of the locals around the park, these walks are guided by those who know them best. Experience hoe they do their day to day activities, means of survival, learn how to prepare their local food and also taste on the meal if you wish, vibe on their locals’ music and dances. You will be given a chance to milk one of their long-horned cows. This is a 3 hours visit and very memorable.
Best Time to Visit Akagera national park
The park is open every time of the year and ready to welcome the visitors. between the months of march and April is the period of the rainy season, roads are impassable, thick vegetation that hinder access to the park. During the months of December and February it when the rains have just stopped vegetation is still green, many water bodies dry out then animals will drink from certain places making it easy to trek them, the temperature are bearable unlike in the dry seasons where it’s very hot and dusty road. Hence the best time to visit the park is in the dry season the season when rains have just spotted.
Accommodations in Akagera national park
On your visit at Akagera National Park, no need to worry about accommodation facilities because the Akagera national park accommodation ranges from budget, mid-range to luxury. Akagera game lodge, Ruzizi Tented lodge, Karenge Bush camp, Magashi Safari Camp, Dereva Hotel to mention but a few.
How to get to the Akagera national park
Akagera national park distance from kigali You can access the park trough a 2-hour drive from Kigali airport via Rwamagana town and enter the park through the southern gate because the northern gate is for exits. Or you can use a flight from Kigali to Akagera National Park with the services of Akagera Aviation.