Akagera National Park Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park is located in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. Although founded in 1934, much of the park was re-allocated as farms and in 1997 the park was reduced in size from more than 2,500 sq km (nearly 10% of the surface area of Rwanda) to its current extent of 1,122 sq km. Since 2010, a joint venture with African Parks has seen Akagera return to its former glories.

It is named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. The forest fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands combine to make Akagera amongst the most scenic of reserves anywhere in Africa. It has exceptional levels of biodiversity and forms the largest protected wetland in central Africa.

Akagera National Park is located in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. Although founded in 1934, much of the park was re-allocated as farms and in 1997 the park was reduced in size from more than 2,500 sq km (nearly 10% of the surface area of Rwanda) to its current extent of 1,122 sq km. Since 2010, a joint venture with African Parks has seen Akagera return to its former glories.

Akagera combines well with Nyungwe and the Volcanoes NP to offer a great safari element as it is home to many large plains game species as well as species restricted to the papyrus swamps such as the Sitatunga and the sought-after Shoebill Stork. Notable plains game include elephant, buffalo, topi, zebra, waterbuck, roan antelope and eland. Other antelope are duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck and impala. Of the primates, olive baboons, vervets and the secretive blue monkey are seen during the day, with bushbabies often seen on night drives.

Of the larger predators leopard, hyena, side-striped jackal and lion, which was re-introduced last year are present. Plans are underway for the reintroduction of the black rhino too, and this will restore Akagera’s ‘Big 5’ status

Due to its wide variety of habitats, Akagera is an important ornithological site with nearly 500 bird species. The rare and elusive shoebill shares the papyrus with other rarities such as the exquisite papyrus gonolek and countless other water birds that inhabit the wetlands in large numbers.

Birding

Over 750 bird species found in the park, makes Akagera national park a birdwatchers dream destination. There is no way you can see all those birds in a single trip, pretty much a new bird to discover each day.

The shoe bill stork that many birdwatchers search for can be seen here, and so can several other water birds.

Other birds in Akagera national park include: raptors, papyrus gonolek, shoe bill stocks, migrant birds such as the lesser kestrel and the great sniper, the Zambian arnot chat, suaza shrike and the long tailed cistola, and many other colorful birds.

Nature walks

Akagera park has so many beautiful sights that can be best admired up close. Nature walks give you the opportunity to see things up close. The exotic plants, colorful butterfly species, the still water in some if the lakes, the water birds, the smaller animals that you couldn’t see quite well on the game drive. Nature walks are peaceful and a very good opportunity to appreciate nature at a much slower and easier pace.

Nocturnal game drives

Game drives in the park are fun, game drives in the park at night are even more exciting. There is always a sense of mystery about the night and nocturnal game drives capture that quite effusively.

There are animals in the park that you might fail to see in the day, but that will be quite up and active in the night and so much easier to see. Animals such as leopards, civets, hyenas, and bush babies might be much easier to see during the night. Some birds are nocturnal too.

Boat rides

With so many natural water sources;swamps, Lakes and a river it is only right that you go on a boat ride on your visit to Akagera national park. Be sure to go on a boat ride on Lake Ihema. You will see one of the biggest concentration of Hippos in East Africa, and so many water birds.

Elephants too are quite common along the shores of the lake. And of course you get to take the view of the park from the water, and it is quite breath taking.

Fishing

For those who might want to go fishing, whether as a sport or for food, you can do some fishing in Lake Shakani, one of the many lakes in the area. Most common fish in the lake are tilapia and cat fish. As you do your fishing, you might catch sight of or hear hippos further nearby. There are also some fishing tournaments that take place in the park every now then, you could participate if there is one going on at the time of your visit.
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