Size of Akagera national park
What is the size of Akagera national park? Yes, Akagera national park covers a total area of 1,112 sq. km but initially, it covered an area of 2500 sq. km. The size of Akagera national park kept on reducing from 2500 sq. km as time went by and the worst come in 1994 when the Rwanda genocide happened. After the Rwanda genocide happened in 1994, most of the survivors moved to areas of Akagera and most of the land had to be clear for settlement. Most of the animals lost their homes and they moved to other areas while others died because of lack of shelter.
In 2009, Akagera national park was gazetted again and the Rwanda Development Board worked with African Parks to take over the leadership of the park. An area covering 1,112 sq. km was fenced to avoid introducers, trespassers, and people also to avoid people that have plans of clearing land for settlements. Akagera national park now extends to the border of Tanzania with River Kagera separating the two countries.
During the time African parks took over the management of Akagera national park, they have been able to bring back the animals that have been going into distinction in the park such as 7 lions which were reintroduced in the park from South Africa in 2017, 2 male lions were again brought to the park in 2017, and 18 black rhinos were brought to the park in 2017. Other animals that were brought to the park include elephants and Masai giraffes.
Because of the good management of Akagera national park by the African parks, there has been reduced poaching in the park, and the clearing of land for settlement is no longer there because the whole national park was fenced. Akagera national park can be accessed from Kigali city in 2-3 hours using road transport and 22 minutes using flights from Akagera aviation.
Animals in Akagera national park
Inside Akagera national park, there are a number of attractions, and let’s start with the wild animals which have found their home in the savannah vegetation of the park. The animals that live in Akagera national park include giraffes, lions, impalas, lions, duikers, leopards, spotted hyenas, buffaloes, rhinos, zebras, sitatungas, klipspringers, cape elands, olive baboons, blue monkeys, vervet monkeys, roan antelopes, reedbucks, waterbucks, bushbucks, warthogs, and elephants to mention but a few.
Water bodies in Akagera national park
Inside Akagera national park you find a number of small lakes spread in different areas of the park and these include Lake Ihema, Lake Mihindi, Lake Birengero, Lake Hago, Lake Rwanyakazinga, Lake Shakani, Lake Gishanju, and Lake Muhazi among others. Most of these lakes get their waters from River Kagera as it moves north through the birder of Rwanda and Tanzania before pouring its water in Lake Victoria in Uganda. A number of activities are done on these lakes and the most done activities include boat cruises and sport fishing. While on the boats on the lake, tourists see the water animals, birds, and park animals on the shores.
Birds in Akagera national park
Inside Akagera national park, there are over 400 bird species that have been so far recorded, and spotting these you will need to have a ranger who will take you to the best birding spots. Some of the birds likely to be seen in Akagera national park include African jacana, blue-shouldered robin-chat, white-winged swamp warbler, beaudouin’s snake eagle, African grey hornbill, helmeted guinea fowl, booted eagle, cardinal woodpecker, papyrus gonolek, souza’s shrike, browned-chested lapwing, dimorphic egret, grey crowned crane, cabanis’s bunting, carruther’s cisticola, northern brown-throated weaver, white-faced whistling duck, and goliath heron among others.
Possible activities in Akagera national park
Tourists to Akagera national park can engage in activities such as game viewing which are done in the morning, evening, and night hours and they will be able to spot most of the animals including the big 5, tourists can also do boat cruises on Lake Ihema in the morning or afternoon and sport fishing activities on lake Ihema. There are also birding activities where tourists can spot over 400 bird species, nature walks, walk the line, and community visits where the tourists get to meet the local people.
Accommodation on a safari in Akagera national park
After understanding the size of Akagera national park, you need to know where to sleep if planning for a safari to the park. Inside and around Akagera national park, there are a number of accommodation facilities that range from budget to mid-range to luxury options, and where to stay depends on the traveler’s budget. The lodges include Magashi Safari Camp, Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, Karenge Bush Camp, Dereva Hotel, Magashi Tented Camp, Akarenge Game Lodge, Akagera Resort, and Country Club, Akagera Rhino Lodge, Ruzizi Tented Lodge, Vintage Cottage, and Nyagasambu Realm Beach Hotel among others.
Tourists that visit Akagera national park can complement the safari with a visit to volcanoes national oark where they can do activities such as gorilla trekking which can only be done in this park, mountain hiking, birding, and golden monkey trekking. Tourists can still visit Nyungwe forest national park for chimpanzee trekking and canopy walk. Tourists can still combine a safari to Akagera national park with chimpanzee trekking in Giswati Makura national park which is the newly introduced park in Rwanda.
What is the best time to visit Akagera national park?
Akagera national park can be visited at any time of the year but there are months that are better than the rest and these are the drier months. The drier months happen from June to September and December to February and are characterized by little and sometimes no rainfall which leaves the game trucks in the park less muddy, the vegetation short giving clear views of the park attractions and the roads leading to the park are passable.