Akagera National Park

giraffes feeding in akagera national park on a Rwanda wildlife safari

Akagera National Park (French: Parc National de l’Akagera) is Rwanda’s prime wildlife savannah reserve.  Located in the north eastern part of the country, Akagera national park is located at a low altitude and covers over 90,000 heactares (347.5 sq mi) which makes it the largest wildlife conservation area (national park) in Rwanda and second in popularity. It was founded in 1934 with the main aim of protecting the wildlife in the 3 eco regions in the northeastern part of the country. This scenaric park is named after River kagera which flows through it.

Akagera National park is a well-known destination for the big five lovers since the reintroduction of the black rhinos and lions that had been exitint because of the civil war poachers. On a lucky day, you have a glimps of all the big five animals that include; elephant, buffalo, giraffe and hippo. The beautiful scenic view of the park make it the best national park for game view in Rwanda and among the best in the region. On top of wildlife viewing, it’s also one of the best destinations for bird watchers in the region.

Best Time for a safari in Akagera National Park

Akagera national park lies in the relatively warm and low-lying plains that comprise of the savannah, woodland, wetland and a dozen lakes. The best time to visit this park is during the dry season from june to September since it’s the best time for having game drives and viewing wildlife beacsue the vegetation is thinner and most animals gather at the lake for water.

Bio diversity

Akagera National Park is majorly dominated by lakes and swamps along the course of River Akagera. Akagera national park’s landscape is considered archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open grassland. This landscape favors the growth of all essentially big game which makes it a likely big five destination.

Akegera national park is home to many big game wildlife which include; herds of elephant, buffalo, Masai giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, along with leopards, spotted hyenas, lions, more than a dozen types of antelope like chestnut-coated impala, diminutive oribi, big herds of topi and secretive bushbuck, the eland, the tsessebe, rare sitatunga antelope and the water loving animals like hippopotami and crocodiles. However, the Big Five species can only be sighted on a good day for example; Buffalos  are very common, elephant are difficult to find, lion sightings are hit-and-miss and so are the most recent addition- Black rhinos.

Akagera is home to over 480 bird species with 100 species only in akagera which makes it a prime destination for bird lovers in Rwanda. Akagera’s shores has some of Africa’s densest concentrations of water birds, while the marshes provide habitat for a number of endangered species, such as the papyrus gonolek, the shoe-bill and also home to a good variety of raptors like bateleur, white-backed and Ruppell’s griffon vultures, and brown snake eagle. Some other bird species the park include; 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, Ring-necked 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

Getting there

The major entry point into Rwanda is through Kigali international airport which is just 10km/6mi from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. The best way to explore the park is by a 4×4 wd vehicle through a tour operator or self-drive and taking up services of a guide is highly recommended.

Accommodation in Akagera National Park

Akagera national park has a variety of accommodation facilities of all standards ranging from the budget facilities to mid-range facilities till the luxury accommodation facilities and sleeping within the park is possible since the park has various lodge and a bush camp in the north or camping in specific sites.

Check out some of the best Africa game parks that are a must visit during your African safari


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