Wildlife of Akagera National Park
Akagera national park is Rwanda’s wildlife park where you can do a number of game drives on the different sectors of the park. Akagera national park is a 2 hour drive from Kigali city the capital of Rwanda. Kigali is also the home of the Kigali International airport where international travellers are expected to land at on arrival to the country. The Akagera national park sits savannah land of an area of 2500 square kilometers and this is in the eastern part of Rwanda. This national park derived its name from the Kagera river whose waters flow along the country boundary with the neighboring Tanzania. This same river flows into the Lake Ihema of the park that is famous for the boat trips and also other smaller lakes of the Akagera national park.
The land that Akagera national park sits on is comprised majorly of savannah vegetation with acacia and bushes with open grasslands in some places and a number of small swampy lakes. This Akagera national park has outstanding biodiverse land with a large protected wetland in its territories. It is the only wildlife park in the country where you get to spot a number of game in Rwanda. On your game drive in Akagera national park, you stand a chance to spot the large mammals as well as the smaller animals.
Forest elephants are often a rare sighting but with Akagera national park, this isn’t the case as you will meet a big number of the elephant herds along with the giraffes as the main sightings. Take on this game drive at the comfort of your 4WD safari van.
On top of the elephants, the park has a number of zebras, buffalos, giraffes, hyenas, Leopards, lions as the large mammals and the smaller land mammals you will be able to spot while in Akagera are the different antelopes like impala, bush bucks, topis, oribis, kilspringer, roan antelope, duiker and also spot the largest antelope in the world that is the Cape eland.
You can take on a boat trip for a chance with the water animals of Akagera national park that is the hippopotami wallowing at the lake shores or in the waters and the crocodiles in the lake Ihema the main water body of the park. There are a number of primates you will be able to see on your visit to Akagera national park like the bush babies that are a common sighting on the night game drives in the park, the vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, olive baboons that can be seen during the day game drives to mention but a few.
Besides the mammals, you get to see a number of birdlife in the park. Akagera has been recognized by Ramsar as a wetland with a rich birdlife with up to 500 different bird species. Akagera national park is one of the places where you can see the stunning shoebill bird as well as the other endemic bird species. You will be able to spot a number of the African open bill stock, Long toed and water thick knee bird, grey crowned crane, the papyrus gonolek, African wattled plover, the Senegal lapwings and he giant King fisher. These are the most common sightings however, Akagera has many more birds recorded than those like the fish eagles, grey backed fiscals, hadad Ibis, fish eagles, cattle egrets often spotted on herds of the buffaloes, augur buzzard, the hamerkop, long crested eagle, pied crow, fan tailed widowbird, caruther’s cisticola and the viellot’s Black weavers to mention but a few.
With all these above mentioned bird species, it is safe to say the ideal birding spot for any birder in Rwanda is Akagera national park. The other activities one can partake in is a morning or evening game drive, boat safari on Lake Ihema or even take on a cultural tour. You may opt to take on a camping experience, walk the line or a behind the scenes tour for a more detailed and personal experience in the park.
How to get to Akagera national park? You can use a 4WD safari vehicle to drive from Kigaki to the southern gate of Akagera national park via the Rwamagana village. The southern gate is the only gate used for entrance while the northern gate is used when exiting the park. This is a 2 hour road transfer approximately. If you would rather fly, you may take on the option of flying using Akagera aviation for a 30 minute flight. Enjoy the scenic views of Kigali and the neighboring towns from the top.
Looking for accommodation options when in Akagera national park? You may check out the Magashi tented camp, the Rusizi Tented camp which are the luxury accommodation options, check out the Karenge bush camp that is a seasonal camp and the Akagera game lodge that are ready to host any range of clients with their different rooms. Check out our itineraries with a visit to Akagera and reach out to us to plan your trip. Looking forward to hearing from you.