Attractions in Akagera National Park
Akagera national park is found in the north eastern region of Rwanda, this park is situated along the international border of Rwanda and Tanzania stretching over an area of 1,122 square kilometers. Akagera national park derives its name from Akagera river which flows along the eastern boundary feeding numerous lakes situated in the park like Lake Ihema and other small lakes in the park, the is dominated by savannah, montane and papyrus swamps which are habitants for many wildlife found in the park.
The area covered by Akagera national park before it establishment was once known as Parc aux Lycaons a habitat for a large population of African wild dogs, these wild dogs were too many in number thus the Belgian government so them as pests. These dogs were affected by a disease which resulted into reduction of their population. In 1934 the Belgian government decided to gazette the area as a protected area in the names of Akagera national park.
Initially the park covered an area of 2500 square kilometers, throughout the years the park has gone through of reintroduction of animals in it
- In 1957, black rhinos were introduced into the park from Tanzania
- In 1986 masai giraffes were introduced in the park from Kenya
- In July 2015 7 lions from south Africa were re-introduced
- In May 2017 20 eastern black rhinoceros were re-introduced into the park and in June 2019 more 5 eastern black rhinoceros were re-introduced into the park from Dvur Kralove zoo from the Czech Republic, Flamingo Land from the UK and Ree Park Safari from Denmark.
ATTRACTIONS IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Akagera national park is dominated by savannah vegetation, in fact it is the only park in Rwanda dominated by savannah vegetation which provide a suitable habitat for a wide range of wildlife which are easily seen upon your visit in the park. Wildlife living in Akagera national park include topi, buffalo, defassa waterbuck, swamp dwelling Sitatunga, savanna elephant, zebra, roan antelope, eland, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, impala, bushbuck, lions, hyena, side stripped jackal, mongoose species, serval, viverid species, Oribi and many more. In the forested region of the park there lives primates which are spotted that is vervet monkeys and blue monkeys are mostly spotted around the lakes, swamps and the savannah plains.
Akagera national park consists many water bodies which a dotted around the park, the park is made up of swamp fringed lakes that is Lake Ihema, lake Shakani, lake Rwanyakazinga, lake Gishanju and Lake Mihindi. These lakes are the best spot to view numerous wildlife found in the park, many animals and birds either live in these waterbodies or come to drink water, notable animals seen around these water bodies include hippopotamus, crocodiles and many fish species. Akagera national park is also drained by river Akagera which flows through the eastern boundary of the park to Uganda through Tanzania before emptying in Lake Victoria, the shores of river Akagera are always filled with many bird species most notably the shoe bill which lives in the swamp section of the river.
Akagera national park is a recognized birding site habiting approximately 500 bird species, the park is a home to a variety of bird species which are observed in the savannah plains, hills, forest, swamps and shores of lakes and river which dominant the park. Birds habiting in Akagera national park are of various kinds which include Zambezian biome species which include Myrmecocichla arnotti, Cisticola angusticauda and lanius souzae, raptors recorded to be 44 species, balaeniceps rex and Palearctic migrants which included Falco naumanni, Glareola nordamanni and Gallinago, Afro-tropical highlands biome, congo forest biome, threatened bird species such as papyrus gonolek and localized red faced barbet. Generally bird species found and spotted in Akagera national park include shoe bill, cattle egret, hammer kop, fish eagles, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, and Pied Crow. Black-headed and Vieillot’s Black Weavers, Grey-backed Fiscals, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Carruther’s Cisticola and many more.
How to get to Akagera national park
Akagera national park is situated in the eastern region of Rwanda with kibungo as the nearest city, the park is reached by both air transport and road transport means, by road means the park is at a distance of 135 kilometers from Kigali town a drive of 2-3 hours. From kibungo/ Rwamagana it is a 1 hour drive to the park’s main entrance gate which is 500 meters from Akagera Game Lodge.
NOTE: when using road transport it is safer to use a 4X4 wheel car to help you navigate through the slippery routes of the park.
There is no domestic flights to Akagera national park but Akagera Aviation offers helicopter flights from Kigali city to Akagera national park which takes 22 minutes.
Accommodation in Akagera national park
Accommodation is a great fact when making preparations for a safari in any tourist destination including Akagera national park, accommodation facilities offer many services and facilities which are very vital to you as a tourist on a safari such as food. These facilities include
Camping sites in Akagera national park are situated with the park, the camps are three in number and they are available for tourists. While sleeping in these camps you can either come with your tent or even rent it. Camp sites include
- Shakani campsite situated on the shores of lake Shakani
- Mutumba campsite
- Muyumba campsite situated on a ridge close to kayonza park entrance with views of lake Ihema and lake Shakani
Akagera game lodge
Akagera game lodge is an excellent lodge found in Akagera national park, this lodge offers many facilities to its visitors such as bar, swimming pool, restaurant, tennis court and fully furnished rooms.
Ruzizi tented lodge
Ruzizi tented lodge is an impressive lodge consisting of 20 accommodation units in an eco-camp, this lodge is found on the shores of Lake Ihema.