Hot Air Balloon Safari In Akagera National Park
Hot air balloon is the newly introduced safari activity in Akagera national park to give travelers a better experience of encountering most of the wildlife species within the park. Akagera national park is located northeast of Rwanda covering a total area of 1,112km.
The hot air balloon experience in Akagera national park was introduced in 2022 and it’s one of its kind for it takes tourists between 100m to 1000m above sea level. The hot air balloon in Akagera national park gives tours a scenic aerial view of the savanna park with all its attractions.
There are so many ways of how you can explore Akagera national park among which include the newly introduced hot air balloon safari. To have a hot air balloon safari in Akagera national park, you have to book in advance with your tour operator in order to secure yourself a seat.
The hot air balloon safari in Akagera national park takes a maximum of 6 people in the hot air basket and this is why we advise tourists intending to do this activity to book in advance with a local tour operator or the park head offices. We have a well-trained team at African Adventure Vacations who will help you out on booking the permits for hot air balloon safaris and even the whole safari including accommodation and transport.
The hot air balloon safaris in Akagera national park start early in the morning with the park authorities briefing you about the activity and after you will enter the balloon and set off to wherever the wind of the morning will take you. The hot air balloon can rise from 100m to 1000m and the activity lasts 1 hour after which you will land.
During the hot air balloon in Akagera national park, the tourists encounter different attractions in the park such as lakes – Shakani, Ihema, Hago, River Kagera, birds, animals such as zebras, impalas, hippos, duikers, giraffes, topis, lions, buffaloes, hyenas, klipspringers, elephants, rhinos, and so many others.
Rules and regulations of hot air balloon safaris in Akagera national park
- The minimum age of people allowed on the hot air balloon is 6
- The minimum number of people the hot air balloon can take is 4 and the maximum is 6
- Hot air balloon safaris in the park are done every day unless the weather doesn’t permit
- If the weather doesn’t allow the activity to take place, the participants will be refunded all their money or if the participants have another day in the park they can try the next morning in case the weather changes.
- Participants are not allowed to enter with their luggage in the hot air balloon, they can leave it at the lodge and maybe take a camera for photography and a pair of binoculars to see distant objects.
What is the best time to do hot air balloon safaris in Akagera national park?
Hot air balloon safaris in Akagera national park can be done at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest. The drier months are the best for hot air balloon safaris and these occur from June to September and December to February. The drier months are the best for the hot air balloon safari in Akagera national park because they are characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall which leaves the sky clear for a good view of the park animals. The roads leading to the park are passable and the vegetation in the park is short giving clear views of the park animals.
Tourists can still visit Akagera national park for hot air balloon safaris in the rainy months of March to May and October to November but during these months, there is plenty of rainfall which might affect the activity, the sky is not clear and the vegetation is tall giving unclear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable. Tourists most especially the budget travelers who visit Akagera national park for hot air balloon safaris will benefit from huge discounts on accommodation facilities.
Where to stay on a hot air balloon safari in Akagera national park?
Tourists coming to Akagera national park for hot air balloon safaris shouldn’t worry about where they will stay because there are so many accommodation facilities in and around Akagera national park where tourists can stay and these range from budget to midrange to luxury options. Some of the accommodation facilities in Akagera national park include Magashi Tented Camp, Ruzizi Tented Camp, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Karenge Bush Camp, Magashi Safari Camp, Akarenge Game Lodge, Akagera Resort and Country Club, Vintage Cottages, Akarenge Game Lodge, Nyagasambu Real Beach Hotel Akagera Rhino Lodge among others.
How to access Akagera national park for hot air balloon safaris?
Tourists coming to do hot air balloon safaris in Akagera national park will have to fly into Kigali international airport where they will meet their safari guide to transport them to the park. Even those from Kigali city can access the park by driving to the northeastern part of the country via Rwamagana to Kayonza to Kabarondo and lastly Rwinkwavu where they will find a signpost that directs you to park. The journey from Kigali city to Akagera national park is 110 km and takes 2-3 hours.
Other activities you can combine with hot air balloon safaris in Akagera national park
Tourists who are intending to have a hot air balloon safari in Akagera national park can combine their safari with game viewing and spot over 1000 large mammals that live in the park. The game viewing safaris in Akagera national park are done in the morning, evening, and night hours. The day game drives give tourists opportunities of spotting the park animals such as giraffes, zebras, topis, impalas, lions, rhinos, elephants, and leopards to mention but a few. The night game drives in Akagera do expose tourists to nocturnal animals and birds.
Tourists can combine birding with hot air balloon safaris while in Akagera national park and some of the birds they are likely to see include African grey hornbill, white-browed coucal, booted eagle, white-faced whistling duck, crested barbet, goliath heron, cardinal woodpecker, grey crowned crane, woodland kingfisher, denham’s bustard, long created eagle, eleonora’s falcon, papyrus gonolek, souza’s shrike, red-winged francolin, crested barbet, grasshopper buzzard, dimorphic egret, grey-backed fiscal, and black-headed weaver among others.
After the hot air balloon safari, tourists can decide to take part in the boat cruise in Akagera national park. The boat cruise can be done in the afternoon and it will give you a chance to explore some of the attractions in the park on a boat. The boat cruise will take you around the park and during the time, you will be able to see the hippos, crocodiles, some water birds like the open billed stork, shoebill, grey crowned cranes, and some of the park animals on the shores of the lake like the antelopes, giraffes, elephants, buffaloes and much more.
Other activities include sportfishing which is done on Lake Shakani on a catch and release basis, nature and walk the fence line tour which gives you an opportunity to explore the park on foot and lastly the cultural tour which takes you to any of the local communities around the park to interact with the local people, support them and get entertained by the local dancers.