Wildlife viewing in Rwanda
Rwanda Wildlife Viewing, Rwanda is a great destination for the wildlife viewing experience, wildlife viewing involves viewing various wildlife species in their natural habitat.
Rwanda is home to a variety of wildlife species such as lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, leopards, Masai giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, antelopes such as oribi, eland, sable, roan, bushbuck, reedbuck and waterbuck, hippos, crocodiles, and many more which are sighted on wildlife viewing safaris in Rwanda.
Where to go for wildlife viewing in Rwanda
Unlike other wildlife viewing destinations such as Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, Rwanda has only one savannah protected area/ national park where wildlife viewing safari is conducted. Despite having only one protected area for wildlife viewing, this safari experience is always memorable and adventurous to tourists.
Akagera national park
Akagera national park is the only savannah national park in Rwanda and the only wildlife viewing destination located in the Northeastern part of the country, this park lies along Rwanda’s border with Tanzania and it is situated close to Kibungu town which is the main getaway to Akagera national park for a game viewing safari.
Akagera national park covers an area of 1,120 square kilometers which is dominated by savannah grasslands and swamps with a chain of lakes such as Lake Ihema which is fed by the Akagera River.
Akagera national park was first gazetted as a protected area in 1934 stretching over an area of 2,500 square kilometers and in 1977 half of the park’s land was offered to the 1994 Rwanda genocide refugees.
The settlement of refugees close to the park resulted in poaching and encroachment on the park’s land, to put a stop to these activities Akagera national park’s management board the Rwanda Development Board entered into an agreement with the African Parks Network to boost the park. Some of the activities done to boost the park include the reintroduction of wildlife species, offering financial assistance to ensure the security of the park, and many more.
Akagera national park is a habitat for a variety of wildlife species which facilitate an excellent wildlife viewing safari in Rwanda, these animals include lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, leopards, Masai giraffe, burchell’s zebra, antelopes such as oribi, eland, sable, roan, bushbuck, reedbuck and waterbuck, hippos, crocodiles and many more.
Akagera national park is a great habitat for birdlife with over 480 bird species including 100 endemic species and migratory species. These birds include Amur falcon, Beaudouin’s snake eagle, Blue-shouldered robin-chat, Booted eagle, Brown-chested lapwing, Cabanis’s bunting, Carruthers’s cisticola, Crested barbet, Denham’s bustard, Dimorphic egret, Eleonora’s falcon, Grasshopper buzzard, Northern brown-throated weaver, Papyrus Gonolek, Red-faced barbet, Red-winged francolin, Ring-necked francolin, Shelley’s francolin, Shoebill, Short-tailed pipit, Slate-coloured boubou, Sooty falcon, Souza’s shrike, Striped pipit, Tabora cisticola, Western reef heron, White-winged swamp warbler, Yellow-bellied Eremomela and many more.
Wildlife viewing in Akagera national park
Akagera national park is the only Rwanda safari destination offering wildlife viewing safaris in Rwanda and this experience is done on game drives, game drives in Akagera national park are done on perfectly paved route running through the wilderness of the park offering excellent sights of animals. Game drives are typically done in a recommended 4X4 vehicle van with pop up roof and open windows for easy sights of animals as they graze through the park.
The game viewing experience in Akagera national park is offered as morning game drives, day game drives, and night game drives.
Morning game drives
Morning game drives in Akagera national park offer an opportunity for sightings of early risers such as lions, zebras, bushbucks, leopards, leopards, bushbucks, and many bird species such as African fish eagle, Senegal lapwings,, Rwenzori batis, strange weaver, red-throated alethe, long-crested eagle, fan-tailed widow bird and many more.
Morning game drives are best done in the swamps around Lake Ihema, Lake Shakani where predators like lions will be sighted to ambushing little species like antelopes. Morning game drive is done in shifts, one beginning at 6:00 am and another beginning at 7:00 am.
Afternoon game drives
Afternoon game drives in Akagera national park usually begins in the afternoon, this session is perfect for spotting a number of animals around watering holes as they try to quench their thirst. Animals like elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, antelopes, lions, leopards, crocodiles are spotted in this experience and they are best sighted around swamps and lakes such as Shakani and Ihema
Night/nocturnal game drives
Night/nocturnal game drives are typically done in dark hours of the night and it is a perfect experience of sightings of nocturnal animals, sighting of animals got with a help of a spot light. Animals like lions, leopards are seen as they ambush their preys such as impalas, topis, bushbucks and many more.
Best time for wildlife viewing in Rwanda
The best recommended time to visit Rwanda for wildlife viewing safari in Akagera national park is in the dry season, dry season is experienced from July to September and January which comprises short to no rainfalls.
In this period of time routes used for wildlife viewing are very dry which makes them very passable.
Note: When coming for wildlife viewing in Rwanda it is highly recommended to avoid the wet months of March, April, and December as the experience is usually cut short by abrupt rains and the routes are impassable.
Where to stay while on wildlife viewing in Rwanda
While on a game viewing safari in Rwanda’s Akagera national park, accommodation is offered in a number of lodges and camps which offers a comfortable and affordable stay while on your safari. Safari lodges and camps in Akagera national park include Ruzizi Tented lodge, Akagera Game Lodge, and Karenge bush camp.