Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is the biggest park in Rwanda covering 1085 square kilometers. It is also one of the oldest parks in Africa having been established in 1934. It is located in the eastern part of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. The eastern side of Rwanda has savannah woodlands and grassland plains which are a beautiful contrast to the iconic rolling highlands which make up most of Rwanda’s landscape from the north to the southern. The park gets its name from the Kagera River which flows through the park. The Akagera River is also believed to be the most distant source of the mighty River Nile. Akagera protects a remarkable variety of wildlife in three major habitats of savanna, mountain and swamp. Animals There is plenty of big game in the park which can be observed roaming the vast savanna grasslands against a striking backdrop of mountain landscape and one of the best scenery in Africa. 4 members of the famous “Big Five” occur in the park include Lions, Leopard, Elephant, and Buffalo. Giraffes can be seen strolling across the savannah along with Zebras, and 12 species of antelopes some of which include the Impala, Topi, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Sable Antelope, Roan Antelope, Eland, Oribi, . Smaller animals found in Akagera include genets, mongoose, serval cats and side-stripped jackals. Primates are also available in Akagera of which include Baboons, vervet and silver monkeys, and bushbabies. There are ten lakes and a labyrinth of swamps in the park which harbor plenty of aquatic life such as Hippos and Crocodiles. Game Drives Akagera National Park is a big game country that offers wonderful sightings of a variety of animals including Lions, Leopard, Buffalo, Giraffe and several species of antelopes. The best time to start the game drive is at 6am when nocturnal and cats are easier to find since they are active and the predators are hunting. The northern area of the park has the biggest volume of animals and the main center for game drives. Night games though not common are also good option to observe some nocturnal in Akagera. Boat Safari Lake Ihema the biggest lake in the park offers boat safaris that will expose you to plenty of nature. Aquatic wildlife such as Hippos and Crocodiles are common sightings along the lake while game such as Buffaloes, Elephants and Antelopes come to lake to drink water and cool off in the lake. The bird lover will be in awe by the plenty of water birds. The best time for the boat safari is the hot afternoon when many animals come to the lake. Bird Watching Akagera National Park is one of Rwanda’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs). The park has a bird list of over 525 species which are distributed across the three main habitat of the park: mountain savanna and swamp. It is the best destination to find savanna birds and raptors in Rwanda. Water birds are also in plenty. Some of the birds visiting birdwatchers look out for in Akagera include Shoebill, Caruthers Cisticola, White-winged Warbler, Papyrus Canary, Red-faced Barbet, Bennett’s Woodpecker, White-winged Warbler, Broad-tailed Warbler, Miombo Wren Warbler and White-collared Oliveback. How to get to Akagera National Park. By Road The park is reached by a two and half hour drive from Kigali and is accessed through the main entrance Kiyonza gate in the south near the headquarters. By Air Air transport is also available by way of Helicopter from the Airport to Kiyonza.