Game Drives in Akagera National park
Game drives and wildlife safaris in Rwanda are done in the only savannah park which is Akagera national park. The park is situated in the northeastern part of the Rwanda covering 1,122sq.km of savannah vegetation. Game drives are the most done activities in Akagera national park for they give you an opportunity to see most of the park animals, birds, and different vegetation types.
Apart from game drives, there are other activities done in Akagera national park, and these include birding safaris which expose you to over 408 bird species, boat cruises on Lake Ihema, nature walks, community visits, and much more. With all activities mentioned, game drives in Akagera give you a high chance to see different park animals since you will take a drive through different game trucks, unlike other activities.
The game drives in Akagera national park are done at different times with the first done in the morning, the next in the afternoon, and the last one is the nocturnal game dive which is done at night. Both the day and night game drives in Akagera national park will expose you to different park animals and birds.
Morning and evening games
The day game drives include the morning game drive and the evening game drive with the morning ones giving you a chance to see several early morning risers and nocturnal animals before going back to their hideout places. In the morning you will watch the lions and the leopards satisfied and moving to their hide-out places so it’s better you wake up early so that you don’t miss out on the early morning risers.
During the morning and evening game drives you will be able to see animals such as cape elands, rhinos, impalas, hyenas, duikers, giant forest hogs, elephants, lions, roan antelopes, leopards, Masai giraffes, zebras, bushbucks, warthogs, bush babies, olive baboons, sitatungas, and common duikers to mention but a few. We advise you to use a comfortable 4×4 safari vehicle for they will give you a clear view of the park animals.
During the game drives, if you move along with your binoculars, you will be able to see a number of different bird species such as Rwenzori batis, strange weaver, Chapin’s flycatcher, red-throated alethe, long-chested eagle, pied crow, fan-tailed widow bird, African fish eagle, egrets, cormorants, African darter, Senegal lapwings and much more.
Nocturnal game drives
The nocturnal game drives in Akagera national park will get you a chance to see a number of animals most especially the nocturnal ones that you might have missed out on during the daytime. Some of the animals in Akagera national park tend to hide or rest during day time because they spend most of the time at night hunting for what to eat.
During the night game drives, you will be able to see several animal species most especially the carnivores like the lions and leopards hunting prey. You will be able to see other animals such as impalas, bush babies, topis, mongoose, bushbucks, civets, and several cats. The night game drive is the best way to encounter the nocturnal animals of Akagera national park and this should be done in a good 4×4 driver safari vehicle with a help of a safari guide.
Other activities to do in Akagera national park
Boat cruise on Lake Ihema
There are over 7 lakes in Akagera national park but Lake Ihema happens to be the only park where boat cruises are offered to visitors. Tourists can explore Lake Ihema on a boat cruise in the morning or evening hours for 2 hours where they will get a chance to explore the surrounding areas, birds, and animals.
Lake Ihema is located in the southern part of Lake Ihema and covers a surface area of 90 sq. km getting water from River Kagera that feds most of the national parks in the national park. The driver-guide takes you to the lake where you board a boat with other passengers to enjoy the cool breeze and wildlife.
During the boat cruise, you will be able to see different water animals like the crocodiles, schools of hippos, and different waterbird species such as African jacana, shoebill, Ibis, papyrus gonolek, plovers, herons, marabou stork, malachite Kingfisher, grey crowned crane, and Hawk among others.
Akagera national park is very good for birding since it has over 408 bird species that live in its natural habitat. So many birds are seen in different birding spots around the park and to watch most of these, you need to move with a pair of binoculars. The birding activities in Akagera national park will expose you to a number of bird species such as black-headed gonolek Ross’s turaco, breasted roller, Heuglin’s robin chat, Amur falcon, African jacana, yellow-bellied eremomela, brown crested lapwing, shoebill stork, western reef heron, blue shouldered robin-chat, black-headed weaver, grey hornbill, African Kingfisher red-faced barbet, Eleonora’s falcon, tabora cisticola booted eagle, sooty falcon, crested barbet, African fish eagle, white-browed coucal, grasshopper buzzard, souza’s shrike, lilac-breasted roller, northern brown-throated weaver, slate-colored boubou, fork-tailed drongo, papyrus gonolek, and dimorphic egret crested barbet among other different bird species.
Accommodation in Akagera national park on game viewing safaris.
Travelers coming to Akagera national park for game viewing safaris don’t have to worry about where they will stay since the park has accommodation facilities ranging from budget to mid-range to luxury options. Some of the accommodation facilities you can use on a game viewing safari in Akagera national park include Akagera Game Lodge, Karenge Bush Camp, Akagera Rhino Lodge, Ruzizi Tented Camp, Dereva Hotel, Magashi Camp, and much more.
The best time for game drives and wildlife safaris in Akagera national park
Akagera national park can be visited at any time of the year for game viewing safaris. However, it’s better you visit Akagera national park in the dry season which occurs in June to September and December to February when there is little or no rainfall. During the dry seasons, the grass is short in the park which gives clear views of the park animals, the game trucks are dry and not slippery and the roads to the park are passable.
The rainy season can still be used to do game viewing safaris in Akagera national park and the season occurs from March to May and October to November. The rainy season is good for budget travelers because accommodations in and around Akagera national park do offer huge discounts. The rainy season is characterized by heavy rainfall which makes the roads leading to the park impassable, game trucks are muddy and slippery and the vegetation in the park during this season is tall which gives unclear views of the park animals.