Cultural Tours in Akagera National Park
Cultural tours are one of the activities done mostly by tourists that do have different safaris in Akagera national park Rwanda. The cultural trips done in Akagera national park do take tourists through any of the communities in the nearby local communities and this enables tourists to interact with the local people. Cultural tours are those activities you can do before or after enjoying since of the park activities such as game drives, or boat cruises.
While carrying out the cultural tour at Akagera national park, you will be taken to any of these communities by the safari driver and after reaching the community, it’s the freelance community guide that will lead you through the different homesteads as well as the whole activity.
Cultural tours in Akagera national park take you to 3 different areas around the park such as Humure refuge village tour, Heritage, and Imigongo Art and Craft Centre. The different communities do take you through different activities such as milking, harvesting honey, paintings, making local meals, and traditional dances.
Doing cultural tours in Akagera national park is one of the best ways to support the communities that live around the national park. There are different areas around Akagera national park where tourists can visit in order to have a rewarding and unforgettable cultural experience.
Places to go for cultural tours around Akagera national park
The Humure refuge village tour
Humure refugee village is the most visited community by tourists that have safaris in Akagera national park. This community is located about 45 minutes from Akagera national park using road type of transport. A safari driver will just take you to Humure Refuge village and it is the local people who take you through the different homes as well as different activities within the community.
A visit to Humure Refuge Village does give tourists opportunities of meeting local people, visiting their homesteads, witnessing them do daily activities like digging, milking, grazing, visit some of the art and craft shops in the area, and in the end get entertained by local traditional dancers.
Imigongo Art and Craft Centre
Tourists on a safari to Akagera national park shouldn’t miss out on visiting Imigongo Art and Craft Centre because it is one of the popular places around the park. Imigongo Art and Craft Centre was started by Prince Kakira and is currently run by a group of women who in the begging had the same idea of using cow dung to design the houses. Imigongo art and Craft Centre was started to create jobs for the local people in the surrounding rural communities. Tourists that visit Imigongo Art and Craft Centre do get opportunities of meeting local people, visit the art and craft shops and buy some of their crafts to support the people so that they improve on their way of living.
The heritage cultural tour takes you through a different cultural experience where you will be part of the milking and also see how the milk is kept and preserved so that it doesn’t go back. You will also see the different products that local people get from milk such as butter, ghee, cream, and skim milk among others. There are also beekeepers and this will give you an opportunity to see how they extra honey from beehives and you can also test the products.
What is the best time to visit Akagera national park for cultural tours in Rwanda?
Akagera national park can be visited at any time of the year for cultural tours but there are those months that are better than the rest. The dry months which occur from June to September and December to February are the best to visit Akagera national park for cultural visits because they are characterized by little or no rainfall, the trucks are dry and not muddy and the roads leading to the communities are passable.
Tourists can still visit Akagera national park for cultural tours in the rainy seasons and this will favor those that are likely to spend a night or two in the park because they get huge discounts on accommodation facilities. The rainy season however comes with too much rainfall and this might distract the activities, the roads leading to these communities are also impassable.
Where to stay on a cultural tour around Akagera national park
There are several accommodation facilities in Akagera national park where tourists coming for cultural tours can stay and have a memorable experience. The accommodation facilities do range from budget to mid-range to luxury options and some of them include Magashi Safari Camp, Karenge Bush Camp, Magashi Tented Camp, Akarenge Game Lodge, Akagera Resort and Country Club, Akagera Rhino Lodge, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Ruzizi Tented Lodge, Vintage Cottage, and Nyagasambu Realm Beach Hotel among others.
Can I get to Akagera national park for cultural visits in a single day?
Yes, tourists can get to Akagera national park in just a single day and have their cultural tours. The national park is located 110km from Kigali city and getting to the park takes 2-3 hours which means one can even sleep in Kigali city and then do cultural tours around Akagera national park the next day.
Activities you can combine with cultural visits in Akagera national park
Akagera national park is famous for the game drives and these are done in the morning or evening hours within the different game trucks of the park. The game drives can be done before or after having the cultural tours and they will give you opportunities to encounter different park animals such as lions, antelopes, giraffes, buffaloes, elephants, zebras, and hippos among others. There are also night game drives in Akagera national park that expose tourists to nocturnal animals such as lions, leopards, and serval cats among others.
Tourists intending to visit Akagera national park for cultural tours can combine their safari with bird watching and this will give them an opportunity to spot most of the bird species in the park that are said to be over 400. The birds tourist are likely to encounter in Akagera national park include souza’s shrike, tabora cisticola, carruther’s cisticola, white-faced whistling duck, crested barbet, grasshopper buzzard, slate-colored boubou, long-tailed cormorant, dimorphic egret, black-headed weaver, short-tailed pipit, and shoebill stork among others.
Tourists coming to Akagera national park for cultural activities shouldn’t miss out on boat cruises activities that are conducted on Lake Ihema. The boat cruise activities that are done on this park do expose tourists to animals such as hippos, crocodiles, different waterbird species like the shoebill stork, papyrus gonolek, open billed stork, and they will also be able to spot some of the park animals kike the buffaloes, antelopes, zebras, and elephants near the lake shores.