akagera national park
Akagera national park is Central Africa’s largest protected area lying in Eastern Rwanda (1122km square )embracing the border of Tanzania, distinguished by swamps, Savannah, woodland Low Mountains and a hub to the big (Elephants, lions, buffalos, rhinos and giraffes), the southern part is home to reptiles like crocodiles and hippos along vast Lake Ihema.
Akagera national park was established by the government of Belgium in 1934, by then it was covering 2500 square kilometers, it was badly reduced to 50% by poachers and settlers from the genocide war of 1994 who cultivated within the national park, though in 2010 Rwanda development board (RDB) took over the management.
Akagera national park is termed as parc de I’Akagera which is a French word meaning it is the only wildlife and Savannah national park in Rwanda, the only park where visitors can see the big five animals. This diversified terrain park is home to wildlife like Elephants, zebras, rhinos, leopards, buffalos, elands, topis, hyenas, Masai giraffes and civets among others.
How to access Akagera national park
Tourists are required to get tourists visa to Rwanda at 50$ per person for (30 days) single entry to be allowed to carry activities in Akagera national park, tourists can purchase their visa process online, at the Rwandan embassy in your country or you can also receive on arrival at Kigali International Airport, though there are some lucky countries that do not need a visa to go to Rwanda like south Africa, Germany, Sweden, Mauritius, honk Cong, Uganda, DRC, Tanzania, and Kenya.
Distances from Uganda, Kigali, and Rwamagana
Akagera national parks take about 2-3 hour’s drive from Kigali international airport, it takes about 10-11 hours from Uganda against 624.4 kilometers and Rwamagana it takes one hour to reach Akagera national park.
Akagera national park can be reached through the two main gates, that is to say, the northern and the southern gate can be accessed by both road and air transportations. Akagera Aviation offers flight options.
Activities to do in Akagera national park
Game drives . Akagera national park offers both morning and afternoon game drives for tourist to enjoy the charming landscapes, flora & fauna and also gives them an opportunity to see crocodiles, hippos sunbathing while waiting for prey along the shores and the big five like Elephants, rhinos, buffalos, leopards, giraffes alongside other animals like zebras, elands, water-bucks among many more searching for food and water.
Enjoy your boat cruise on this famous lake ihema in Akagera national park which gives you a chance to reptiles like crocodiles, hippos waiting for prey and other animals such as buffalos, zebras, elands, baboons, wild dogs.
Birding in Akagera national park
Akagera national park is an important birding haven marked in the history of Rwanda with over 500 bird species rewarding tourists with exceptional experiences such birds include giant kingfisher, African open bill stock, long-toed, water thick-knee, shoebill, papyrus gonolek, Senegal lapwings, grey crowned crane, African wattled plover, among others.
Cultural tour in Akagera national park
This tour takes you to the local communities to see rural Rwandans local people mingling with cattle keeping to earn a living, in that case, you will participate, observe how cattle’s graze in their natural environment, how the locals traditionally milk cow, how milk is stored and preserved, how local yogurt is made, how they make ghee and how the locals cook food with different ingredients.
This non-commercial activity for pleasure is done on Lake Shakani in Akagera national park, anyone interested must book with Akagera national park in advance. Where one is given an opportunity to take one fish for a meal after the sport if interested.