Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park Rwanda

When we talk of Akagera national Park, we are talking of a place that protected over 10% of Rwanda’s savannah. It was established in 1934 with a primary purpose of protecting the land surrounding Akagera River. The park was later affected by huge number of refugees that saw their re-settlement in 1990s. This came with a multitude of negative activities like poaching and encroachment resulting into massive environmental degradation of the park.

However, better management was put in place and later accompanied with introduction of lions (2015) and black rhinos (2017), revamping of old camps and building of new ones in addition to strict laws all resulting into blossoming of the park.

Akagera national park’s wildlife

Akagera is home to an impressive number of wildlife ranging from elephants, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, lions and giraffes. It also comprises of over 500 bird species and over 12 antelope types. Marshes of Akagera attract spectacular range of birds and is famous for the relatively rare Shoebill Stork.

Boat Trips – Lake Ihema

Drift along the forest-fringed lake edge through hippopotamuses and busking crocodiles. The trip can never disappoint any bird-lover since it exposes travelers to high density water birds and the mighty rare Lilac-breasted Roller.

Game safaris

Akagera is one of Africa’s game reserves where one can drive for hours without changing vehicles. The drive is accompanied by spontaneous views of wildlife that include but not limited to the coveted big five, antelopes and numerous large crocodiles.

Sighting lions here had been little more than rumor, but with the June 2015 reintroduction of seven lions (2 males and 5 females) flown in from South African reserves, Akagera is once again habitat to the most charismatic member of the quintet. Two more males were introduced in 2017, and they are settling in well – nearly twelve cubs have been born here since the reintroduction.

Night game drives

The park presents on your table organized night drives in open-topped game-viewing vehicles from where you can bless your eyes with numerous nocturnal animals such as spotted hyena, genet, leopards, civet and white-tailed mongoose in addition to other animals like elephants and bush babies.

Birding

The park offers over 480 bird species much as it is of less ornithological importance than Nyungwe national park because it doesn’t support any Albertine rift endemic or any other forest birds. Akagera performs best in raptors and water birds in addition to colorful and conspicuous savannah and woodland dwellers like gorgeous Ross’s turaco, Meyer’s parrot, double-toothed barbet, lilac-breasted roller and black-headed gonolek. The red-faced barbet, a localized savannah’s endemic between Lake Victoria and the Albertine Rift usually viewed in the car park and gardens of Akagera Game Lodge.

The single most eye-catching bird resident of Akagera is the mighty shoebill stork, 1.5m-tall slate-grey papyrus dweller named for the hefty clog-shaped, hook-tipped bill which it claps together like outsized castanets when agitated. The exact status of the shoebill in Akagera is not specific, but at last one pair inhabits the papyrus beds fringing Lake Birengero (often seen through binoculars from the roads along the western shore).

Accommodation

Located 5km away from Akagera’s main entrance is a spectacular Akagera Game Lodge. The lodge offers panoramic views of Lake Ihema and Lake Shikani. It can only take you 20 minutes to drive from the lodge to Lake Ihema, here you are in position of seeing Rwanda and her wild denizens from a different angle.

Best time to visit Akagera National Park

The park can be visited any time of the year; however, the best time to visit is during dry season – June to October for spectacular game viewing opportunities.

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