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Home » Rwanda National Parks » Akagera National Park Rwanda Safaris – Akagera National Park Safari

Akagera National Park Rwanda Safaris – Akagera National Park Safari

Akagera National Park in Rwanda safaris & tours is the epicenter of African Rwanda safari experiences the only savannah park in Rwanda- the Land of Thousand Hills. This lovely Akegera National Park covers about 1,122 km2 in Rwanda eastern province with low-lying plains of the savannah, woodland, and wetland as well as a dozen lakes.

Rwanda Akagera National Park is a very good park for game viewing while on East African safaris. Its rich habitat has attracted several game animals such as Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, Buffalos, Zebras, Topis, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, Hippos, and giant Nile Crocodiles, among others.

Also, Akagera Park holds numerous amazing primate species including Baboons, Red-tailed Monkeys, Blue Monkeys Black and white Colobus Monkeys, and over 490 bird species.

Game drives are among the top safari activities in Akagera Rwanda Park. Apart from safari drives, you can also enjoy boat cruises, game walking, birding tours, as well as camping expeditions. Incredible cultural tours are possible around this vast park.

For memorable wildlife tours in Rwanda, we always advise our clients to supplement Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris on their Akagera Park safari!

All year round, you can visit this well-maintained park, and don’t forget to come with your camera, hiking boots, insect repellents, and sunscreens.

Best Attractions in Akagera National Park – What to See in Rwanda Akagera Park?

Akagera National Park

While on your Rwanda wildlife tours in this incredibly beautiful park, be expectant to encounter numerous amazing attractions including wild animals, birds, and magnificent lakes, to mention but a few.

Here are the major unique attractions in Akagera National Park:

2. Amazing Game Animals in Akagera National Park

Over 8,000 game animals have been recorded in Rwanda Akagera National Park. Among these include those that are known to live in the great Serengeti, Kenya’s Masai Mara as well as those in southern African countries like South Africa.

On your wildlife safaris in Akagera Park, most of the game animals are spotted on game drives in park vehicles within the stunning savannah plains of this great park- Rwanda’s only savannah park. Others can be encountered during game walking safaris.

This is the notable list of animals in Akagera National Park:

1. Lions

2. Cape Buffalo

3. Elephants

4. Leopards

5. Black Rhinos

6. Giraffes

7. Zebras

8. Large pods of Hippos

9. Elands

10. Uganda Kobs

11. Giant Nile Crocodiles

12. Topis

13. Bushbucks

14. Waterbucks

15. Impalas

16. Roan Antelopes

  1. Beautiful Bird Species in Akagera Park

Akagera Park is a great paradise for Rwanda birding tours. It’s home to over 490 bird species including most of the water birds as well as savannah-dwelling bird species. Migratory birds can be spotted around September to April.

Key bird species in Rwanda Akagera Park include:

1. Shoebill- rare

2. African fish Eagle

3. Great Blue Turaco

4. Papyrus Gonolek

5. Double-toothed Barbet

6. Red-faced Barbet

7. Blue-headed Coucal

8. Long Tailed Cormorants

9. White-browed Coucal

10. Black Heron

11. African Open Bill

12. King Fishers

13. African Darter

14. Saddle Billed Stork

15. Lilac-breasted Roller

Akagera is one of the best Rwanda national parks to spot birds.

3. Scenic Lakes in Akagera Park

Akagera- is a unique and picturesque park that holds about 10 lakes. Among these, the most famous are Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani.

A boat tour on Lake Ihema is the top highlight for travelers who visit Akagera National Park Rwanda. On this boat tour, you’ll have a close encounter with large Hippo pods, Nile Crocodiles, and hundreds of lovely waterbirds on the island in the middle of the lake.

4. Lovely Primates in Akagera Park

During your game walking safaris in Akagera Park, you’ll encounter several amazing primate species. Among the notable ones include Olive Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Bush babies, as well as Silver Monkeys on rare occasions.

  1. Scenic Lakes in Akagera Park

Akagera- is a unique and picturesque park that holds about 10 lakes. Among these, the most famous are Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani.

A boat tour on Lake Ihema is the top highlight for travelers who visit Akagera National Park Rwanda. On this boat tour, you’ll have a close encounter with large Hippo pods, Nile Crocodiles, and hundreds of lovely waterbirds on the island in the middle of the lake.

  1. Lovely Primates in Akagera Park

During your game walking safaris in Akagera Park, you’ll encounter several amazing primate species. Among the notable ones include Olive Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Bush babies, as well as Silver Monkeys on rare occasions.

Activities in Akagera National Park Rwanda, Things to Do in Akagera National Park

Travelers undertaking Rwanda safaris in Akagera Park can choose to have game drives, boat cruises on Lake Ihema, birding tours, game walks, or camping expeditions, among others.

Here are the major safari activities in Akagera National Park Rwanda:

1. Game Drives in Akagera Park

Game driving marks among the top things to do in Akagera National Park in Rwanda’s eastern province. Undertaking a safari drive is the best way to spot the incredible game animals in Akagera Park including the Big Five.

Usually, game drives are done in a 4x4WD safari vehicle with a popup roof. You can choose to have early morning game drives, or evening or night game drives.

The spectacular scenic beauty of this park will amaze you as Rwanda eastern province sights are wonderful!

On your Rwanda Akagera safari drive, you’ll look out for Lions, Leopards, Buffalos, Elephants, Zebras, Giraffes, Bushbucks, Elands, Waterbucks, Topis, Hyenas plus several bird species.

Night games are ideal for travelers interested in spotting nocturnal animals in Akagera park, especially the wild cats such as Leopards, and Lions.  Hyenas, Serval cats, and Bush babies can also be spotted.

Day game drives cost $30 while night game drives $40 and all normally take about 1-3 hours. Early morning drives allow you to spot most animals in Akagera Park.

Among national parks in Rwanda, Akagera is the only park to enjoy safari drives in Rwanda.

2. Boat Cruise in Akagera Rwanda National Park

Boat tours in Rwanda Akagera Park mainly take place on Lake Ihema. On this wonderful boat ride, you’ll have close encounters with giant Crocodiles (basking on lake shores and large Hippo pods. Elephants, Buffalos, Zebras, Waterbucks, Topis, and Elands among others can be spotted along the shores.

Numerous species of birds like the Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, African openbill, Little Egret, African darters, Saddle-billed storks, Cormorants, Blue-headed Coucal, Crested cranes, etc.

These boat trips on Lake Ihema are possible in the morning and in the afternoon. The ride costs $40 and can be paid for at the boat launch site.

3. Hiking and Game Walks in Akagera National Park

Game walking safari tours in Rwanda Akagera Park are another fascinating way to experience Akagera National Park wildlife. Most safari walks set off from the same visitor center where birding tours and safari drives start.

On foot with armed park rangers and an amazing tour guide, you’ll get up close with numerous charming wildlife species. Among these include game animals such as Topis, Giraffes, Elephants, Zebras, Elands, Impalas, Buffalos, Waterbucks, Bushbucks, and several birds.

Travelers who start game walks early morning spot animals “predators” like Hyenas just from their night hunt going back into their dens.

With no doubt, this safari experience offers unforgettable memories more than game drives in a safari vehicle.

4. Bird Watching in Akagera National Park

During your Rwanda bird-watching tours in Akagera National Park within Rwanda’s eastern province nature, expect to spot savannah birds, woodland as well as water birds.

Most of the birds in Akagera Park are spotted during game drives, nature walks, as well as on a boat ride on Lake Ihema. You’ll be accompanied by a friendly local birding tour guide.

The notable birds in Rwanda Akagera Park are:

  • Lilac-breasted Roller
  • Papyrus Gonolek
  • Double-toothed Barbet
  • Long Tailed Cormorants
  • Blue-headed Coucal
  • White-browed Coucal
  • Red-faced Barbet
  • African Darter
  • Saddle Billed Stork
  • King Fishers e.g. Giant Kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers, etc.

5. Sport Fishing in Akagera Park Rwanda

Sport fishing is the other half-day tour in Rwanda however, if interested, you can take it all day long. Lake Shakani in Akagera Park is the only site to have spot fishing in Rwanda.

Normally, sport fishing is done as an extra activity in Akagera Park. Therefore, anglers can choose to do it on top of their game drives, game walks, or boat rides on Lake Ihema.

With your expert fishing guide, you’ll explore numerous fishing methods used in Rwanda. For instance, using arrows, spears, hooks, as well as the net method. Be expectant to catch Tilapia, Nile Tilapia, and Catfish among others.

While fishing, you’ll spot several beautiful birds and wild animals along the lake shores. A fishing permit costs $20.

Frequently, several fishing tournaments are arranged on this lake and winners are given a chance to take their catch!

6. Community Visits Around Akagera National Park

Cultural tours around Akagera Park safari offer you a golden opportunity to have close encounters with the local people who live around this park.

On this adventure, you’ll interact with natives and learn about their pleasant culture through traditional dance performances, stories as well and folk songs. More still, you can go further and explore their interesting local economic activities.

For instance, normally tourists visit local farms. On this adventure, you’ll participate in milking cows, and cattle raring, and learn how they make local ghee. It’s also possible to explore how they cook local traditional Rwandan dishes and local beer.

A community visit is usually a half-day tour. It’s possible to combine two half-day tours in Rwanda Akagera Park. For instance, game viewing and community visits. 

Other Must Do Activities Outside Akagera National Park

  1. Rwanda gorilla trekking safaris in Volcanoes National Park
  2. Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park
  3. Forest canopy walk in Nyungwe Forest National Park
  4. Golden Monkey Trekking in Volcanoes Park Rwanda
  5. Relaxation on Lake Kivu
  6. Kigali city tour- involves exploring Kigali Genocide Memorial Centers, craft shops, local markets, eastern province museums, as well as eastern province shopping.

Best Time to Undertake Akagera National Park Tours – When to Undertake Akagera National Park Safaris?

Travelers can visit Akagera Park all year round. However, the best time to explore Akagera Park is in the dry months- June to early September and December to February.  In this season, rainfall is minimal and game animals can easily be spotted around available water points during game drives.

March to May and October to November is the rainy season. In such a season (rainy season), some trail points can be muddy and challenging to cross during game drives.

Getting to Akagera National Park- How Far Is Akagera from Kigali?

Situated in the eastern province of Rwanda, Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s nearest park to Kigali City. It’s about 110km (2-3 hours drive) from Kigali to the park reception.

From Kigali, you drive through Rwamagana Town to Akagera Park entrance gate. Then, you’ll enter through the southern gate, the northern gate is only used for exits.

This park (the only protected savannah environment of Rwanda) can also be accessed by air means. Flights can be booked with Akagera Aviation.

Accommodation in Akagera National Park- Where to Stay in Rwanda Akagera Park?

Akagera National Park

In Rwanda National Park Akagera, there is a place to stay for every class of traveler! There are Rwanda local tour companies (tour operators) to help you choose the best lodge for your safari vacation.

Some of the hotel class popular amenities include free wifi, free packing, charging stations, a restaurant, and a bar, etc.

Here are the:

Best Luxury Lodges in Akagera National Park

  1. Mgashi Lodge
  2. Rusizi Tented Camp
  3. Mantis Akagera Game Lodge- offers breathtaking views of the largest protected wetland in Africa-

Favourite Midrange Lodges in Rwanda National Park Akagera

  1. Akagera Rhino Lodge

Top Budget Lodges in Akagera Park

  1. Dereva Hotel
  2. Akagera Resort & Country Club
  3. The Vintage Cottages
  4. Nyagasambu Realm Beach Hotel

Most Popular Rwanda Safaris in Akagera National Park

Being one of the best experienced Rwanda tour operators in arranging Rwanda safari tour packages, i.e. Gorilla tours in Rwanda Volcanoes Park, chimpanzee safaris in Nyungwe National Park and Akagera National Park trips, we have brought for you our best packages featuring Rwanda National Park Akagera.

Also, expect to enjoy other amazing Rwanda eastern province outdoor activities.

Here are the best Rwanda Akagera National Park tours:

Tips to Keep You Safe During Akagera National Park Safari

For a successful adventure on your Akagera tour, here is the guide for you to follow.

  1. During game drives, never leave the track though sometimes it can be tempting!
  2. Driving over 40km/hr speed is illegal. This helps to stop animal accidents in the park
  3. A void getting so close to animals
  4. Always put on eco-friendly clothes i.e. in khaki, brown, and grey colors as these blend in well with nature
  5. Never get out of your tour car (park vehicle) unless in designated areas for game walks
  6. It’s illegal to smoke in the park- the fine is heavy
  7. Never feed the animals, especially monkeys
  8. Try to keep always car windows closed. It helps to keep any possibility of animals and snakes that might enter the tour car
  9. Never go on game walks without an armed park ranger!
  10. During a boat tour on Lake Ihema, put on a life jacket
  11. Travel with local tour companies. Eastern province transportation (public means) in most cases doesn’t leave on time! Although there are many tour operators in Rwanda, try to look for a dependable company.
  12. Gates of Akagera Park open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for day visitors.

More FAQs About Rwanda Akagera Safari

1. What Country Is Akagera National Park? – Where is Akagera?

Akagera National Park is found in Rwanda- the Land of Thousand Hills. This well-maintained park holds Central’s largest protected wetland as well as the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda.

2. Rwanda Akagera National Park Location- Where Is Akagera National Park Located?

Surrounded by wonderful green hills, Rwanda National Park Akagera is located in the eastern province of Rwanda on the Tanzania border. This picturesque savannah park in Rwanda eastern province is about 110km (2-3 hours drive) from Kigali.

Among national parks in Rwanda, this is the only savannah park. The mountainous western boundary of this beautiful park reaches an altitude of about 2,000 m in the Mutumba Hills region.

3. Akagera National Park History- What Is the History of Akagera National Park in Rwanda? – What Happened in Akagera National Park?

Akagera Park was gazetted by the Belgian government in 1934 to protect the greater rich wildlife that inhabited this area in the eastern province of Rwanda. It’s named after the great Akagera River.

This park used to cover 2,500km2 however, in 1997, it was reduced to almost close to 50%. Most of the land was reallocated to immigrants returning to Rwanda after the genocide war.

Before 1997, numerous refugees returning to Rwanda had settled in this area and this conservation area was harmed so much by poaching and cultivation.

In 2010, Rwanda Development Board & African Parks signed a joint management agreement forming Akagera Management Company (AMC) (African Parks assumed management). The Akagera Management Company was formed to help both bodies manage the park.

Therefore, today, AMC and Rwanda Development Board are responsible for the day-to-day management of this park.

Akagera Park has an inspiring conservation story, under the public-private partnership between the conservation non-profit African Parks & Rwanda Development Board.

4. Can You See the Big 5 In Rwanda? – What Are the Big 5 In Akagera National Park?

Yes, you can see the Big Five on your visit to Akagera Park. These include Lion, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, and Rhino. Usually, they are spotted during a game drive.

5. How Many Lions Are There in Akagera National Park? | How Many Lions Are in Akagera National Park?

For many past years, there were no Lions in Rwanda. However, in July 2015, 7 Lions from South Africa were introduced in Rwanda Akagera Park. This was an effort of the African Parks.

Since 2015 to date, the Lion population in Akagera Park has grown to over 58 individuals.

6. How Much Does It Cost to Game Drive in Akagera National Park?

A day game drive in Akagera NP costs $30 while a night game drives $40. Night game drives are done specifically to spot the best nocturnal game animals such as Leopards, Lions, Hyenas, and serval Cats, etc.

7. How Much Does It Cost to Go to Akagera National Park? – How Much Does It Cost to Visit Akagera National Park?

The cost to visit Akagera is influenced by your travel style, we don’t have a fixed cost. Some of the factors that determine Akagera Park trip cost include the accommodation class you wish to use, transport means, the duration of your trip, and the activities you’ll do.

However, expect to spend about $150 per day for each person.

8. Lakes in Akagera National Park- How Many Lakes Are in Akagera National Park?

Akagera Park is dotted with numerous water birds however, Lake Ihema and Lake Shakani are the most prominent. Others include Lake Rwanyakazinga, Lake Kivumba, Lake Hago, Lake Mihindi, and Lake Gishanju.

During the boat ride on L. Ihema, you’ll enjoy lovely views of the lush green hills that surround the park.

9.     What Are the Entry Rates for Akagera National Park?

Akagera Management Company- Pricing for Akagera Park 2023:

Visitor’s Category   Detail1 Day/Night (USD)2 Day/Night (USD)3 Day/Night         (USD)
Rwandan/EAC CitizenPer person162432
Rwandan/EAC Resident5075100
International Visitor100150200
Rwandan/EAC Citizen children 6-12111621
Rwanda/EAC Resident children 6-2304560
International Visitor children 6 – 125075100
Africans5075100
  • Children with 5 years or below don’t pay entry fees
  • Entry fees are not charged beyond 3 nights for up to 1 week

Activities

Activity Detail Adults 13+ (USD)Children 6-12 (USD)
Night drive 2.5hrs4025
Fishingpp per day2515
Boat trip- scheduled morning/dayprice pp3520
Boat trip- scheduled sunset tripprice pp4530
CampingPrice pp, night5030
Community Cultural ExperiencesVarious activities offered- one half-day tour3020

Guides and Community Freelance

Guide for a self-drive game drivePer guide- half-day tours$25
Guide for a self-drive game drivePer guide- full-day tour$40
  1. What Do You Wear to Akagera?

We advise all visitors to Rwanda Akagera Park to put on eco-friendly clothes. These should be in brown, khaki, and grey colors as these easily blend well in nature.  Black attracts much heat, especially in dry season and blue can attract Tsetse flies.

While on a nature walk in Akagera, consider putting on hiking boots.

  1. What Is the Most Visited National Park in Rwanda?

Volcanoes National Park is the most visited park in Rwanda and it’s renowned for gorilla tours.

To summarise, during your Rwanda safaris, never miss exploring Akagera National Park for a rewarding wildlife safari experience in Africa. This scenic park holds a range of amazing game animals including all the Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Cape Buffalo, and Rhino), large herds of Zebras, Giraffes, Hippos, giant Crocodiles, etc.

On your Akagera National Park tour, the best way to spot game animals is to undertake safari drives, boat cruise tours, and game walks. Birding as well as camping adventures are possible.

Usually, most visitors accompany Rwanda gorilla tour on their Akagera Park trip. Check out past travelers’ experiences with “Akagera National Park reviews” on Tripadvisor!

For Legendary Tours in Rwanda, Book With Us Rwanda Wildlife Safaris In Akagera Park Today.

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