akagera national park

Akagera National Park

Background Information

Set at a relatively low altitude on the border with Tanzania, Akagera National Park could scarcely be more different in mood to the breezy cultivated hills that characterise much of Rwanda. Dominated scenically by the labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River, the most remote source of the Nile, this is archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open grassland.

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 Cape eland.

Camping alongside the picturesque 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’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.

Where to find Akagera National Park

About Akagera National Park:
Situated in the eastern part of Rwanda, bordering Tanzania, Akagera National Park is one of Africa’s oldest National Parks, and is a thriving African Parks success. This remarkable story of revival saw Akagera National Park rise into a protected wetland and savannah biome area home to many different species of animals and birds. The park also provides employment to locals uplifting the surrounding communities. African Parks assumed control of Akagera National Park in 2010 and helped turn the park into what it is today.

Getting there:
Most tourists travel by road with a driver in a 4x4 from Kigali. This 110km journey will take 3 hours along good roads till the park gates. There is a newly introduced helicopter trip to the park as well.

What to do:
Akagera offers spectacular scenery, savannah plains alongside a wetland with papyrus swamps, all fed from the Akagera River and surrounded by the green hills found all over Rwanda. Activities range from game drives including night drives, guide bush walks and boat trips which including viewing large pod’s of hippos. Birding enthusiasts will love Akagera and could be lucky to see the elusive Shoe Bill Stork.

When to go:
The dry season runs from June through to September. The surrounding bush dries out a bit and animals tend to congregate near waterholes and lakes. There are short rains from October to December and long rates from March through to May.

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