How to get to Akagera national park
How to get to Akagera national park? Akagera national park is one of the 4 national parks that are in Rwanda covering a total area of 1,112km. The national park is located in Runyonza in the northeastern part of the country on the borders with Tanzania. Tourists that want to visit the park will have to fly to Kigali international airport and the driver guide of the company you used will be waiting to pick you up and drive you to the park. From Kigali international airport, you will drive to the northeastern part of Rwanda via Rwamagana to Kayonza to Kabarondo to Rwinkwavu where you will find a signpost that directs you to Akagera national park 13km ahead.
Tourists from Uganda will have to drive to the southwestern part of the country in Kabale or Kisoro and cross the borders to Rwanda. From the birder to Kigali city it might take 2 hours and from the city to the park, it might take another 2 hours but the journey is rewarding with beautiful views of the scenery, eye-catching attractions, and smiling people.
Akagera national park happens to be home to the largest population of animals in the country and it hosts all the big five games. There are so many attractions within the park apart from the animals and these include the birds, lakes, vegetation, local people and so much more. All these attractions have made the park so famous and a lot of activities are being done in the park such as boat cruises, sport fishing, game drives, nature walks, birding, walk the fence line tour, and community visits among others.
Activities that can be done in Akagera national park
Game drives: These are the most done activities in Akagera national park and they are done throughout the year. There are day game drives and then night game drives in the park which allows you to spot nocturnal animals like the lions, leopards, serval cats, and bush babies to mention but a few. The day game drives give tourists opportunities to encounter animals such as cape elands, lions, roan antelopes, duikers, rhinos, sitatungas, elephants, leopards, spotted hyenas, impalas, topis, zebras, giraffes, oribis, and klipspringers to mention but a few.
Birding: Encountering birds is one of the most done activities in Akagera national park the fact is that the park is listed among the best birding spots in Rwanda. Birding in Akagera national park is led by armed ranger guides who knows about birds and he takes you through the best spots within the park so that tourists spot as many birds as they can. Some of the bird species likely to be seen in the park include African darter, African jacana, northern brown-throated weaver, grey-backed fiscal, red-faced barbet, dimorphic egret, red-billed fire finch, long created eagle, and eastern grey plantain eater among others.
Boat cruises: Boat cruises are one of the activities mostly done in Akagera national park. The boat cruises are done on Lake Ihema which is the largest freshwater lake in the park. They are done in the morning and evening hours and give tourists opportunities to explore the lake and its surroundings as they watch different water animals such as crocodiles, hippos, birds such as open billed stork, shoebill, grey crowned crane, African darter, African jacana, park animals near the shore like antelopes, elephants and much more. The evening boat cruise gives tourists opportunities of seeing the sunset as they relax on the boat.
Sport fishing: Sport fishing in Akagera national park is done on Lake Shakani which happens to be one of the small lakes inside the national park. The fishing activity gives tourists opportunities to explore the lake and the park as they spot different water animals while fishing on a catch and release basis. The types of fish caught in Lake Shakani include tilapia and catfish and at the end of the activity, the participants are rewarded fish.
Nature walks: These are interesting activities you can do in your free time in Akagera national park. The nature walks are led by the armed ranger guide who protects you from dangerous wild animals while you explore the park on foot. The nature walks give tourists an opportunity to encounter different park animals like buffaloes, antelopes, zebras, sitatungas, duikers, elephants, birds, different lakes, and vegetation of the park.
Cultural visits: Tourists on a safari in Akagera national park can have cultural visits to the surrounding areas of Akagera national park. The game drives can be done at Humure refuge village, the heritage and Imigongo Art and Craft Centre. The cultural tours are led by the freelance community guided who take you around the local communities as you meet different people, watch them do activities like milking, harvesting honey, cooking, grazing, you can visit the art and craft shops and, in the end, you can get entertained by the traditional dancers.
What is the best time to visit Akagera national park?
Akagera national park can be visited at any time of the year for any activity but there are months that are better than the rest. The dry season is the best to visit Akagera and do most of the park activities and these occur from June to September and December to February. The months are characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall which makes the game trucks dry, the vegetation in the park is short giving clear views of the park animals and the roads leading to the park are passable.
Tourists can still visit the park in the rainy season that occurs from March to May and October to November but during this period, there is plenty of rain and this leaves the game trucks muddy and slippery, the vegetation is always tall with unclear views of animals and the roads leading to the park are impassable. Tourists that come to Akagera national park in the rainy season do enjoy huge discounts on accommodation facilities.
Where to stay on a safari in Akagera national park?
There are a variety of accommodation facilities in Akagera national park and these are spread inside the park and others outside the park with where to stay depending on your budget because they do range from budget to mid-range to luxury options. Some of the accommodation facilities in and around Akagera national park 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.