Akagera National Park- Rwanda
Akagera National Park is a little piece of heaven found in North Eastern Rwanda, at the country’s border with Tanzania. It is dominated by swamps and small lakes with flow in the wake of River Kagera. All the water sources work together to create a piece of spectacular scenery. It is quite a remarkable eco-system. The Park was obviously named after River Kagera.
Wildlife Game Drives in Akagera
The game drive here are like opening a present and each game drive holds a full new surprise as nature reveals its treasures in form of wonders that are so scenic, the wildlife like buffalos, antelopes including; the elands, topis, Maasai girafffes, monkeys, savannah birds, civets, leopards, the hyenas, as well as the serval cats. The game drives also mean that you will be accompanied by the guide who is so knowledgeable about the flora and the fauna that is found in the park.
As you are carrying out the game drives, one should remain in the vehicle unless the park guides see that it’s safe for you to get out taking a look. For the longer game drives, you are advised to take a snack or lunch and a lot of drinking water.
About the Nocturnal, the night game drives are so thrilling since you adventure out with a spot light to view the creatures of the night that are found in Akagera National Park. This night game drive through the park is different from that of during the day since at night, there is a big opportunity to view the predators on the prowl as they look for dinner. You will also see a few leopards, lions, civets, serval cats, the hyenas, birds as well as the bush babies with their large eyes. This nocturnal drive is also about 2 hours and will surely give you a different perspective altogether.
Birding in Akagera National Park
This park is one of the places that is not to be missed by any birder along with the great Nyungwe forest national park. It harbors 520 species of birds which are found in this national park. The birders who visit Akagera National Park are always impressed by what they find mostly the many bird species that range from water to forest and also savannah as well as the migratory bird species and many of these are endemic to the park and are so rare like the papyrus gonolex which is found in the papyrus swamps. There are also the localized red faced barbets, and the swamp fly catcher as well as the elusive shoebill stork all found in Akagera National park.
Fishing in lake Shakani
This would be one of the extra ordinary activity to be carried out along the shores of Lake Shakani, you will hear the snorts of the hippos as well as the dry of the water birds plus the sounds of the fish in the water. Fishing in Akagera will give you an added chance of being in an African wild with the wildlife in the distance plus the hippos and the water birds. You might also visit Akagera national park as a fishing tournament is going on that might put you in a company of fellow anglers. The good news about fishing in this national park is that you get to keep what you fish and in case you feel like cooking it, you might start a fire and get it ready to be roasted in time for lunch.
Boat safaris on Lake Ihema
Boat safaris are normally the main highlight of any visit with in east Africa and it’s with the boat safari that you will be able to adventure Lake Ihema in Akagera National Park. Lake Ihema has got one of the largest concentrations of hippos in East Africa and it’s also a sight to behold and there are also many crocodiles that you will find along the shores of the lake. There are also many water birds that can be seen on a boating safari on Lake Ihema and you might also spot a shoe bill stork. The other many animals like the elephants can find their way to the water to bathe and you will get the opportunity of getting closer to them than you would be in the vehicle on any game drive.
Surrounded by cultivated hills, that are so much a part of Rwanda scenery, the scenery of Akagera national Park is quite simply beautiful. The landscape is low, composed of wide plains dominated by grass, cactus-like Euphorbia candelabra shrub and both thick and thin forests although it does carry on with the general rugged terrain that is so characteristic of Rwanda.
History and facts
Founded in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation, Akagera national park is the largest protected wetland in Africa. It was named after the Akagera River which flows along its eastern boundary.
The park used to cover over 2,500 sq. km but in 1997, it was reduced in size by close to 50%. A lot of the land was reallocated to refugees returning to Rwanda after the civil strife of the genocide. Before 1997, many refugees returning to Rwanda had settled in the area and the conservation area was harmed by poaching and cultivation.
In 2009, Rwanda Development Boards and Africa Parks signed a joint management agreement in which the Akagera management company was established to help both bodies manage the park. AMC is therefore responsible for the day to day management of the park.