Situated in the eastern part of Rwanda, bordering Tanzania, Akagera National Park is one of Africa’s oldest National Parks, and is a thriving African Parks success. This remarkable story of revival saw Akagera National Park rise into a protected wetland and savannah biome area home to many different species of animals and birds. The park also provides employment to locals uplifting the surrounding communities. African Parks assumed control of Akagera National Park in 2010 and helped turn the park into what it is today.
Eastern Black Rhino’s were reintroduced in 2017 and are thriving, joined in 2019 by another group of rescued rhinos. Lions are also making a remarkable comeback and 2 male lions were rehomed in Akagera National Park to further diversify the gene pool. This savannah and wetland haven is home to the other big five as well as hippos, hyenas and much more.
After peace was restored in Rwanda in 1990 refugees came back to the country and used Akagera for timber, displacing what animals were left for grazing their cattle, numbering in the tens of thousands, all in an effort to survive in a post genocide Rwanda. Through a funding this park is well on its way to become a leading safari destination in Africa and is a great combination to Gorilla Trekking in the Volcanoes National Park.
In a remote corner of Rwanda is the Akagera National Park. A few hours from capital city, Kigali, Akagera is home to the critically endangered Eastern Black Rhinos and a thriving lion population, herds of elephants and buffalo as well as leopard. Akagera National Park is a true Big 5 safari destination!
Akagera offers spectacular scenery, savannah plains alongside a wetland with papyrus swamps, all fed from the Akagera River and surrounded by the green hills found all over Rwanda. Activities range from game drives including night drives, guide bush walks and boat trips which including viewing large pod’s of hippos. Birding enthusiasts will love Akagera and could be lucky to see the elusive Shoe Bill Stork.
A beautiful new lodge, Magwashi Camp has just opened in Akagera. Based in the north eastern part of Akagera, overlooking Lake Rwanyakazinga, Magwashi is a luxury tented camp.
Other properties include Akagera Game Lodge and Ruzizi Tented Lodge.
Most tourists travel by road with a driver in a 4x4 from Kigali. This 110km journey will take 3 hours along good roads till the park gates. There is a newly introduced helicopter trip to the park as well.
Game drives are conducted with experienced guides who know the local fauna and flora. Herds of buffalo, eland, topis, zebra and impala are found on the plains, alongside journeys of giraffe and dazzles of zebra! Monkeys and baboons are also found her. Other unique species are the Defassa Waterbuck, and Roan antelope. Reintroduced lions are thriving, and leopards are becoming more numerous and more regularly seen on drives. Other predators include hyenas, civits and serval cats. Night drives will pick up the gleaming eyes of the little bush babies as they dart between the trees.
Bird watching is particularly good in Akagera, the wetland system home to many diverse species. Lake Ihema is one of the bigger lakes and is where the boating safaris happen. From here large pods of hippos dominate the lakes and twitchers are delighted with sightings of Shoe Bill Storks, Verreaux’s eagle owls, the splendid starling, the marico sunbird, birds of prey and many more.
Akagera National Park is a wonderful place for photography enthusiasts. The surrounding scenery is particularly beautiful as are the many iridescent birds and the teaming plains game and other wildlife.
The temperatures are fairly similar all year round and Akagera experiences a moderate climate. Consistently warm during the day, the nights are cool. Temperatures range from 15 C / 65 F at night up to 28C / 83 F during the day, all year round. Warm clothing is advised for night drives and early morning excursions.
The dry season runs from June through to September. The surrounding bush dries out a bit and animals tend to congregate near waterholes and lakes.
There are short rains from October to December and long rates from March through to May.