Akagera National Park

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The Rwanda’s Akagera National Park located to the east of the country with the views of the plains of Tanzania stretches over a geographical size 1122 km2 and it is being managed under the arrangement of public private partnership arrangement of the Rwanda Development Board and the African Parks from 2010.


The park derives its name from the famous Akagera River considered as one of the remote sources of River Nile the world’s longest River. The Akagera River traverses the park  feeding into an extensive lake system that mark the floor of Akagera National Park among which include the Rwanda’s second largest Lake Ihema explored on Rwanda Safaris.

The remarkable rolling hills dotted by Brachystegia and acacia Woodland intercepted by the patches of open grassland and series of Lakes fringed by swamps offers magical views in the park. Akagera National Park is considered the largest National Park in the destination Rwanda and most importantly the major savannah habitat that supports species of flora and fauna that dwell in the savannah habitats. Akagera National Park is not exceptional to the trend of the Rwanda’s hilly landscape that has earned it the naming as the land of thousand hills. The Park features the rising Mutumba hills that stretch to 2,000m in elevation presenting the scenic views of the features like lakes, rivers, open plains and the swamps below.

Established in 1934, the Akagera National Park was initially 2,500km2 in size but faced considerable encroachment following the Rwandan civil war. As a result, the park was degazetted settle the Rwandans who were returning home after the war. The Akagera National Park features impressive levels of biodiversity which is greatly favored by the varied vegetation zones. The extensive systems of fresh water coupled by Papyrus swamps form one of the extensive wetland systems in Central Africa. The aspect of Species re-introduction has also played a considerable role in in enhancing bio-diversity in the park including the following;

A count of seven (7) lions were re-introduced to the park from South Africa And Beyond Phinda Reserve and the Tembe Elephant Reserve and arrived in the Akagera National Park at the onset of July 2015. This was after fifteen (15) of lion’s absence in Rwanda following their extinction as a result of poisoning by cattle herders that had returned to the country after the genocide.

The Masaai Giraffes were also introduced to Akagera National Park from Kenya in 1986 and are apparently over 60 in population and are encountered on safaris in Rwanda.

Seven Black Rhinos were introduced to the park in 1958 and 1959 and though they had flourished to over 50 in the 1970s, they suffered total extinction in 1980s.

The Elephants had got extinct in the year 1961 from Akagera National Park but were later restocked by trans-locating those that were at Bugesera since the population in Bugesera was steadily increasing threatening their continued existence. The 26 elephants were trans-located especially young ones as the technology was not all that advanced to facilitate the relocation of adult ones as well. In return, the adult ones were phased out. The elephants have increased to 90.

Attractions in Akagera National Park encountered in Safaris in Rwanda

Wildlife in Akagera National Park explored on Safaris in Rwanda

The two consecutive Ariel counting were conducted by the park management at Akagera National Park in the years 2010 along with 2013 accordingly and the results showed a positive trend in the increase of wildlife populations in the park. The Akagera National Park is notably a destination with rich habitat that supports extensive plain thriving Species along with Species that are restricted to papyrus wetlands including the elusive Sitatunga scientifically referred to as Tragelaphus spekei along with the Vulnerable Shoe bill Stork referred to as Balaeniceps rex.


The Akagera National Park supports a range of other wild including the savanna elephant scientifically referred to as Loxodonta africana, the topi scientifically referred  to as Damaliscus lunatus topi, the Cape buffalo scientifically referred to as Syncerus caffer, the zebra scientifically referred to as Equus quagga boehmi, the roan antelope scientifically referred to as Hippotragus equinus, the defassa waterbuck scientifically referred to as Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa along with the eland scientifically referred to as Taurotragus oryx. The counts of other Species include; the duiker scientifically referred at Sylvicapra grimmia, the bohor reedbuck scientifically referred to as Redunca redunca, the oribi scientifically referred to as Ourebia ourebi, the klipspringer scientifically referred to as Oreotragus oreotragus, the impala scientifically referred to as Aepyceros melampus along with the bushbuck scientifically referred to as Tragelaphus scriptus.

The Akagera National Park features considerable species of primate including the olive baboons scientifically referred to as Papio Anubis, the vervet monkeys scientifically referred to as Chlorocebus pygerythus. The Sights of blue monkey scientifically referred to as Cercopithecus mitis exist but rare, the night dwelling Galago or the Bush babies exist in the park and can be viewed in Rwanda safaris.

The Akagera National Park supports a range of large predators which include the lions, the Hyenas, the leopards along with small predators like side-striped jackal, the mongoose species, serval (Leptailurus serval) along with the viverrid species.

Birds in Akagera National Park explored on Safaris in Rwanda


The Rwanda safari destination of Akagera National Park supports about 500 bird species among which include the impressive papyrus gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri) and a range of other water dwelling birds. There are 44 species of raptor; the Palearctic migrants like the Gallinago media, Falco naumanni and the Glareola nordmanni have been recorded. The Akagera creates the northern top most extension of Zambezian biome species including the Myrmecocichla arnotti, Lanius souzae and Cisticola angusticauda. The park features one Guinea – Congo Forest biome Species and the 7 Afro-tropical Highlands biome Species.

Water bodies in Akagera National Park explored on Safaris in Rwanda

Akagera National Park features a range of swamp fringing lakes and the Akagera National Park supports a range of aquatic thriving fauna and the most extensive protected wetland system in Central Africa. The range of lakes include the Rwanda’s second largest Lake Ihema, the beautiful Lake Shakani known for its counts of fish, Lake Gishanju, Lake Rwanyakizinga along with Lake Mihindi. These water masses support aquatics like the concentration of Hippos, the second largest Reptile in the world – Nile crocodile and great counts of fish.  Akagera National Park is also traversed by River Akagera which flows along its eastern boundary before penetrating Tanzania and Uganda to empty its waters in Lake Victoria which is the largest lake of its stature on the African Continent

Tourist activities in Akagera National Park that Rwanda Safari undertakers can participate in

Boat trips as a Rwanda Safari activity in Akagera National Park

Rwanda Safari undertakers can engage in recreational boat cruise while in Akagera National Park. The boat cruise encounter is conducted on Lake Ihema the second largest lake in Rwanda exploring its expanse open water mass. Lake Ihema is positioned in the south of Akagera National Park standing at an elevation of 1,292 m. stretching to 90 km2 with differing depth of 5 to 7m according to the area and the season. The eastern shore of the Lake forms the border of Rwanda and the neighboring Tanzania. The boat cruise on the lake offers you possible encounter with the Nile crocodiles and Hippos. The views of birds like the vulnerable shoe bill stork along with the Papyrus Gonolek. Other birds like ibis, jacanas, Plovers, herons, Sandpipers, Hawk and Malachite Kingfisher thrive can be explored.

Sport Fishing as a Rwanda Safari activity in Akagera National Park

The Rwanda Safari undertakers can also engage in Sport Fishing along Lake Shakani where impressive fish can be caught in the impressive tropical waters. It is an experiential activity that people can actively engage in.

Game drives as a Rwanda Safari activity in Akagera National Park

The travelers on safari in Rwanda in Akagera National Park feature an impressive wild game viewing in the entire destination Rwanda. The game drive allows you to explore the impressive wild game including the Sitatunga antelope commonly sighted in swamps, the elephants, the Buffalo, the Zebra, the Masaai Giraffe, the Roan Antelope, Defassa Water buck,  the Eland, Duiker, the Oribi, the Klipsringer, the Impala antelope, the Bohor reedbuck, the Bushbuck among others. The sights of primates like the Vervet Monkeys, the olive baboons and the blue monkey. The predators like Lions, hyena, side striped jackal, the serval cat among others may also be explored along the drive. The game drives are conducted both in the morning and in the afternoon.

 Night Game Drives as a Rwanda Safari activity in Akagera National Park

Rwanda Safari undertakers can explore the Akagera National Park at night offering impressive views of the nocturnal species including the Bushbabies or Galagos.

Birding as a Rwanda Safari activity in Akagera National Park

There are over 500 Species of birds in Akagera National Park and these offer impressive birding opportunities. The varied habitats of the Park present a rich ground for water birds and savannah dwelling birds. The bird watching experience offers you sights of the near threatened listed papyrus gonolek  and the Vulnerable Shoebill stork that is restricted to the papyrus swamp range, the red faced barbet along with swamp flycatcher.

Helicopter Adventures / Aerial tours as a Rwanda Safari activity in Akagera National Park

The Akagera National Park offers impressive aerial tours where the open savannah, the rolling hills and the swamp fringed lake can be explored from above while on safaris in Rwanda. The views of these landscapes dotted with myriad of animals present magical sight-seeing views. The views extend to the open plains of Tanzania beyond the boarder.

How to get there on Rwanda safari to Akagera National Park

  • Akagera National Park is positioned at 135km about 2 ½ hours’ drive from Kigali city
  • Connecting to Akagera National Park from the trading center of Kibungo / Rwamagana lasts about 1 hour drive.
  • The entry gate of Akagera National Park is 500m from the Akagera Game Lodge. It is connected by an extension of about 27km dirt road stretching from the major surface road at Kabarondo about 15 km north side of Kibungo.
  • It is advisable to utilize a 4X4 Vehicle if it is a dry season.
  • The Rwanda Safari undertaker can also gain access to Akagera National Park using public means. One can board a public Taxi transferring from Kigali to Kayonza and Kibungo. These taxis operate daily. You disembark from the Taxi and connect to Akagera on a private hire or a motorcycle which is cheaper that getting it from Kigali City.



Accommodation to sleep in while on Rwanda Safari to Akagera National Park

Upmarket / Luxury Accommodation in Akagera National Park Rwanda

ruzizi-tented camp-rwanda

Ruzizi Tented Lodge in Akagera National Park Rwanda

Ruzizi Tented Lodge is the only Luxury / Upmarket accommodation in Akagera National Park. The park presents tented accommodation with a count of 20 beds which are linked by wooden walkways. It offers impressive views of Lake Ihema which is the Rwanda’s second largest lake.

The construction of Ruzizi Tented Camp commenced in the month of Jan 2012 and it had got complete in the month of November the same year. The team of experts including the local craftsmen worked together to derive the magical look that the lodge features today.

The Ruzizi Tented Camp was specially designed to blend with the environment and the local materials would be put to use where possible. The Lodge features solar lighting as a sign of being eco-friendly.

The Ruzizi Tented Camp features 9 tents which can carry occupancy of up to 20 Rwanda safari undertakers. Each tent features an in built bathroom, the hot and cold running water, dressing area, comfortable queen beds either or 3/4 twin beds, a front side patio and every tent is connected by wooden board walks from the main reception area.

The Ruzizi Tented Camp features a family tent that can take up to 4 people along with a tree top tent.  There is a main reception area that is thatched featuring a restaurant and bar. The spacious deck along with a fire place under the large fig tree feature panoramic views of Lake Ihema

Midrange / Standard Accommodation in Akagera National Park Rwanda

Akagera Game Lodge in Akagera National Park   Rwanda

Akagera Game Lodge- rwanda safari

The Akagera Game Lodge positioned to the southern side of the Park features a midrange accommodation arrangement and has good views of Lake Ihema. The surroundings of protected woodland, the swamp fringed lakes and the meandering river along with the open savannah gives the lodge a tranquil wilderness atmosphere

The Lodge has up to 60 beds and the facilities at the lodge include swimming pool, the tennis court and the conference center. The beds are configured on standard room, deluxe room, family room and junior suite.

Budget / Basic Accommodation in Akagera National Park Rwanda

Dereva Hotel in Akagera National Park Rwanda

Dereva Hotel is located outside the park boarders in the Rwamagana district 40 minutes’ drive to Akagera National Park allowing low cost travellers to connect to the lodge in the morning and catch up with the activities including the game viewing.

Accommodation at Dereva Hotel is offered in a King Size room which is an apartment with a bathroom, Warm water, dining, Ds TV, free internet and International phone. Also there is a Queen Rooms with double bed and Twin rooms.

Dereva Hotel also features a bar with a cozy lounge an equipped with wines, beers and spirits. The hotel features a fine dining experience.

The Hotel also features 6 meeting rooms of varying sizes from 20 – 200 people ideal for all categories of events and corporate meetings.

Camp sites in Akagera National Park Rwanda

Rwanda Safari undertakes can also opt to do camping in Akagera National Park at the following campsites;

Shakani campsite

This is positioned on the shores of Lake Shakani with impressive views of the lake enjoying the sounds of Hippos and Birds. The campsite offers close connection for the travelers that want to engage in sport fishing on Lake Shakani

Mutamba campsite

This is positioned on the Mutumba hill which is a vantage point present clear view of the wildlife below including the eland herds and the Roan Antelope.

Muyumba campsite

This Campsite also positioned on the ridge overlooking Lake Shakani, Lake Ihema and flat plains of Tanzania. The Muyumba Campsite is close to the Kiyonza Park entrance than other Campsites.

These Campsites feature pit latrines and shared bathrooms. The guests are advised to carry own water but the firewood is provided. The Tents are available for hire at the reception.

September 29th, 2015|Game Parks in Rwanda|