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 spotted hyena or even a stray lion. Giraffe and zebra amble through 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
Over 50 pods of 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’s 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.
What to see & do in Akagera National Park
Boat trips are available on Lake Ihema, and are worthwhile. You should Book in advance through ORTPN in Kigali. Close encounters with outsize crocodiles and large pods of hippo are all but guaranteed, and you will also pass substantial breeding colonies of African darter, cormorant and open-bill stork. Other water birds are abundant: the delicate and colorful African jacana can be seen trotting on floating vegetation, fish eagles are posted in the trees at regular intervals, jewel-like malachite kingfisher hawk from the needs, while pied kingfishers hover high above the water to swoop down on their fishy prey. Of greater interest to enthusiasts will be the opportunity to spot marsh specialists such as blue-headed causal and marsh flycatcher.
Game drives are available if you ideally have a 4×4 unless if you are staying at the lodge. Guides are provided at no extra charge and they will help you to find your way around. The game-viewing circuit is in essence limited to one main road running northwards from the park headquarters at Lake Ihema. Most of the lakes are passed by this road, or can be approached using a short fork. North of Lake Hago, the road branches into two main forks, one of which heads west into the Mutumba hills. The possibilities for game drives are restricted by the fact that the park can only be entered near Lake Ihema and the Game Lodge. In a long half-day, you could realistically travel from the entrance as far north as the Mutumba Hills, and back. To head further north requires the best part of a day, with the option of using the exit-only route north of Lake Rwanyakizinga emerging on the main tar road to the Uganda border. The tracks in the far north are very indistinct, and should be attempted only in the company of a guide. Once back on the main road, the guide can be dropped at Kayonza or Kabarondo junctions with enough money to make his way back to the headquarters by motorbike-taxi. Starting from the entrance gate, a hilly road through very thick scrub leads over about 5km to Lake Ihema. It is on a humid and mosquito-plagued island near the eastern shore of Ihema.
Where to stay in Akagera NP
Akagera Game Lodge lies in the North East of Rwanda within the 90 000 ha Akagera National Park. Its location is in the eastern province. Akagera Game Lodge sits majestically on a ridge overlooking Lake Ihema amidst a mosaic of grass, bush and varied terrain of hills, deep valleys, lakes and marches. Other budget facilities are made available in Akagera national park
When to Visit Akagera