Nestled within the Eastern side of Rwanda is the country’s only savannah National Park, known as Akagera National Park. It was established gazetted in 1934 and covers an area of 1122 square kilometers comprising of mainly wetland-fringed Lakes, broad-leaved forests, savannah plains as well as spectacular rolling Hills.

Named after Kagera River that flows through it, this National Park is one of Rwanda’s natural gems, ideal for wildlife safaris because it is a remnant of Tanzania and Kenya safaris. The landscape is breathtaking and the wildlife sighting is totally incredible with notable animals to look out for including the Big five animals (Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, Elephants and Buffaloes), several species of antelopes such as sitatunga, Oribis, Klipspringer, common elands, defassa waterbucks, Impalas, common duikers, topis, roan antelopes and bushbucks among others, Hippos, primates like the olive baboons, bush babies, vervet monkeys and blue monkeys, Burchell’s zebras, Masai giraffes, Nile crocodiles and warthogs among others.

Besides that, Akagera National Park is also a bird watcher’s paradise like no other with over 520 species of birds including over 100 species native to the Park, one specie of the Guinea-Congo Biome, 7 species of the Afro-tropical highland Biome as well as several species of the Lake Victoria Biome. Common ones include the Long-tailed Cistola, Sauza shrike, the Arnot chat and Great snipe among others. With the diverse biodiversity in this National Park, there are also numerous tourist activities to enjoy and they include;

Day and Night Game Drives

Conducted in the company of knowledgeable guides, game drives are probably the main tourist activity within this magnificent National Park, thus the best place to encounter Elephants, Buffaloes, Rhinos, several species of Antelopes, Masai giraffes, Burchell’s zebras, warthogs, some primate species, side-striped jackals, several mongoose species and warthogs among others. Instead of the usual day game drives, you can actually undertake a night/nocturnal game drive to encounter the Park’s nocturnal animals such as civets, spotted hyenas, Serval cats, lions, leopards and many others.

Nature walks

Just like game drives, nature walks allow tourists to explore the different wildlife, stunning landscape and tree species within Akagera National Park, of course in an exceptional way. This activity is conducted on foot hence offering tourists with a closer encounter with nature.

Bird watching

There are currently more than 520 species of birds that call Akagera National Park home, hence making it a perfect birder’s place to be during Rwanda safaris. Tourists who engage in birding in this Park are always amazed by what they see especially the abundant bird species that include savannah, migratory, aquatic and forest bird species as well as the natives of the Park. Birding in this destination offers opportunities to sight the rare shoebill storks, the threatened papyrus Gonolek, the grey-crowned cranes, the swamp flycatchers, Red-faced barbets, Long-tailed Cistola and Papyrus yellow warbler among others.

Sport fishing

Sport fishing in this Park is conducted within Lake Shakani and offers the opportunity to catch Catfish and Tilapia fish species. Interestingly, you will also be able to hear the Hippo snouts and sounds of the singing birds in the process of fishing. You might have fished in other Lakes but none of them is as thrilling as it is within Akagera National Park because while here, you will also be rewarded with the views of other wildlife species.

Boat rides

What can be more interesting and relaxing than relishing a day or sunset cruise on the still waters of Lake Ihema? Absolutely nothing because this activity is totally unbeaten. Expect to see bask of crocodiles and schools of Hippos wallowing as well as elephants, buffaloes and antelopes at the shores of this magnificent Lake (second largest in the country after Lake Kivu). Besides that, your mind will be blown by the sight of the numerous aquatic bird species such as the shoebill storks, saddle billed storks, pelicans, African fish eagles and the grey crowned cranes among others.  Boat rides are organized by the Akagera Game Lodge in collaboration with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

Helicopter rides

Instead of on-ground activities (such as game drives and nature walks), you can actually participate in a Helicopter ride to enjoy the jaw-dropping views of the Park’s spectacular landscape including the wetland-fringed lakes, open savannah plains extending to Tanzania plains and the rolling hills as well as the exceptional wildlife species.

In conclusion, Akagera National Park is one of the must-visit destinations during Rwanda safaris offering thrilling tourist activities that include night and day game drives, nature walks, bird watching, Helicopter rides, boat rides and sport fishing. Make a safari to Rwanda’s only savannah National Park and you will forever live to remember your trip to the remarkable country.