Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park 

Akagera national park is a Rwanda park located in the eastern region of the country, the park derives its name from the Akagera River which is considered as one of the remote sources of the world’s largest river, River Nile. Akagera River traverses through the park feeding an extensive lake system making up the floor of Akagera including Lake Ihema the second largest lake in Rwanda. 

Akagera was established in 1934 covering an area of 2500 square kilometers and its landscape is mainly dominated by savannah grasslands, the landscape of Akagera national park also consists of patches of acacia and dozens of swampy lakes. Akagera park is a home to a variety of wildlife species such as elephants, buffaloes, giraffe, zebras, hyenas, lions, crocodiles, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, bush babies and species of antelopes such as bushbucks, Topis, Oribis, water-buck, roan antelope and duiker, klipspringer, impala and Cape eland the world largest antelope.  Akagera national park is a habitat to over 500 bird species including water and ground birds, these birds include shoebill, papyrus Gonolek, African Wattled Plover, Giant Kingfisher, Senegal Lapwings, Squacco Herons, African Open bill stock, Grey Crowned Crane, African Darter, Long-toed and Water Thick-knee, fish eagles, Cattle Egret, Hamerkop, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, Pied Crow, Black-headed and Viellot’s Black Weavers, Grey-backed Fiscals, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Caruther’s Cisticola and many more. 

Akagera’s landscape features a range of lakes with fringing lakes, these lakes and swamps inhabit some of the acquatic flora and fauna thriving in the park. The lake and swamp system in Akagera is the most extensive protected wetland system in central Africa, lakes in Akagera national park include Lake Ihema the second largest lake in Rwanda, Lake Shakani, Lake Gishanju, Lake Rwanyakizinga and Lake Mihindi. 

Safari activities to do in Akagera

Game drives 

Game viewing is the highlight Rwanda safari activity offered in Akagera national park, game viewing is only offered in Akagera national park being that it is the only savannah national park in Rwanda. Game viewing safaris offers an opportunity to explore the savannah plains of Akagera and impressive views of the animals such as lions, hyena, side stripped jackal, serval cat,  buffalo, zebras, masai giraffe, roan antelopes, defassa waterbuck, eland duiker, oribi, klipspringer, impala antelopes, bohor reedbuck, bushbuck, vervet monkeys, olive baboons, blue monkey and many more. Game viewing in Akagera is conducted in the morning, afternoon and evening. 

Boat safaris 

Boat safaris are one of the amazing Rwanda safaris offered in Akagera, boat safaris in the park are conducted on Lake Ihema the second largest lake in Rwanda. Lake Ihema is situated in the southern region of Akagera national park with a depth of 5-7 meters, the eastern shores of Lake Ihema forms the border of Rwanda and Tanzania. While on the boat safari in Akagera you will encounter Nile crocodiles, hippos, scenic views of the surrounding and many bird species such as the vulnerable shoe bill, papyrus Gonolek, jacanas, plovers, herons, sand pipers, hawk, malachite kingfishers and many more. 

Sport fishing

Sport fishing is one of the amazing and adventurous safari activities offered in Akagera national park, the park is dotted with numerous water bodies but sport fishing is done on Lake Shakani. Lake Shakani harbors impressive fish species in its tropical waters such as Tilapia, Nile perch, mad fish and many others which are caught during sport fishing adventures. 


The park is an excellent Rwanda birding destination with over 500 bird species thus excellent birding opportunities, birds found in Akagera national park include water and savannah birds. Birding in Akagera national park offers sights of many bird species such as 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, 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. 

Helicopter adventures 

Akagera offers incredibly imperial aerial tours as one of its game viewing adventures, Helicopter adventures in the landscape of Akagera national park offer an opportunity of getting excellent eye’s views of rolling hills, open savannah grassland, lakes fringed with swamps and many animals such as lions, elephants, buffaloes, antelopes and many more. 

How to get to Akagera national park 

Akagera is situated in a distance of 135 kilometers and about 2 and a half hours’ drive from Kigali city the capital city of Rwanda, connecting from Kigali city to Akagera national park is majorly done by road means of transport. Using road transport both public and private means of road transport are used from Kigali city, when using road transport it is highly advisable to use a 4X4 vehicle. 

Where to stay in Akagera

The park consists of a number of safari lodges, safari hotels and camps offering accommodation to tourists visiting the park for a Rwanda safari, accommodation in Akagera include Ruzizi Tented lodge, Akagera game lodge, Dereva Hotel and campsites such as Muyumba campsite, mutamba campsite and shakani campsite.

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