AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK

Akagera National Park is located in the east of Rwanda. Kibungu is the city that is nearest to the park and the best starting point. The park covers over 2500 sq km of savannah west of the Kagera River, which denotes the frontier with Tanzania. The park has a variety of wildlife and is a habitat for over 500 different species of birds. There are accommodation facilities on the edge of the park at Gabiro, 100km (60 miles) to the north. It is best not to visit the park in the rainy season (December, March and April) since many of the routes become impassable.

Akagera landscape is formed by the steep cultivated hills and breezy climate that characterizes the rest of the country. Set at a relatively low altitude along the Tanzanian border, this beautiful game reserve protects an archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia and brachystegia bush, interspersed with patches of open grassland and a dozen swamp-fringed lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River.

If it is big game you are looking for, Akagera will not disappoint. Located on the border with Tanzania, Akagera is comprised of swamps, lakes, savannah, woodland and open grassland. The lakes draw out herds of elephant and buffalo, while the savannah typically attracts giraffe and zebra. That is just the beginning! The park hosts, leopard, hyena, lions and more than a dozen types of antelope. Also found in and near the lake are large pods of hippopotami as well as ominous crocodiles basking in the sun.

Akagera is, above all, big game country. Herds of elephant and buffalo emerge from the woodland to drink at the lakes, while lucky visitors might stumble across a leopard, a spotted hyena or even a stray lion. Giraffe and zebra haunt the Savannah, and more than a dozen types of antelope inhabit the park, most commonly the handsome chestnut-coated impala, but also the diminutive oribi and secretive bushbuck, as well as the ungainly tsessebe and the world’s largest antelope, the statuesque Cape eland.

For the bird-lover, you can be entertained by majestic fish eagles and the large concentration of waterbirds. In the marshes, keep an eye out for the papyrus gonolek and the often sought-after shoebill stork.

Camping alongside the attractive scenery of lakes of Akagera is a truly mystical introduction to the wonders of the African bush. Pods of 50 hippopotami grunt and splutter throughout the day, while outsized crocodiles soak up the sun with their vast jaws menacingly agape.
Magically, the air is torn apart by the unforgettable high duetting of a pair of fish eagles, asserting their status as the avian monarchs of Africa’s waterways.

Lining the lakes are some of the continent densest concentrations of water birds, while the connecting marshes are the haunt of the endangered and exquisite papyrus gonolek, and the bizarre shoebill stork – the latter perhaps the most eagerly sought of all African birds.

Swamps and lakes characterize the Akagera River which lies at low altitude on the border with Tanzania. This part of Rwanda could hardly be any different to the verdant green hills so common across the rest of the country. The river meanders through marshes and bodies of water forming this remotest source of the Nile and create an archetypical African landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open savannah. Although the wildlife is not on the scale of some of the bigger parks of Africa like the Masai Mara, the Serengeti or the Okavango Delta, there is a good variety of big game.

The marshes play host to some of the densest concentrations of waterbirds including the endangered and exquisite papyrus gonolek. This is also a known site for the sought after shoebill stork and fish eagles are seen and heard over the whole area. Hippopotamus are present in relatively large numbers, up to 50 in a pod while crocodiles of great size sunbathe regularly on the banks of the river.

Elephant and buffalo roam in relatively big herds, while spotted hyena, leopard and lion are spotted by lucky visitors usually lurking in the wooded areas. Giraffe and zebra are most commonly seen on the open grasslands and there are a slightly more than a dozen antelope species in the park including the pretty chestnut-coated impala. Shy bushbuck lurk in the bushes and the oribi is a distinctive sight alongside the tsessebe and Cape eland

Accommodation
*Dereva Hotel located in Rwamagana District just 50 minutes drive from Kigali City and 40 minutes drive to Akagera national park.
*Akagera Game Lodge is located within Akagera National Park. It has fantastic views over Lake Ihema, with a large swimming pool perched on the edge of the savannah.