AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK – RWANDA
Akagera National park is the only location in Rwanda able to offer conventional savanna safari. Essentially forming the western side of a large north to south valley on the border with Tanzania, it is a very scenic location. There is a a good range of ecosystems fringed by acacia forests which lead out onto open grasslands and a string of lakes surrounded by papyrus swamps.
The area used to contain an excellent range of wildlife, but it has suffered from serious encroachment by fishermen, poachers and cattle-herders.
Fortunately this tide seems to have been turned in recent years, with the erection of a fence on the western borders.
Wildlife viewing is reasonably varied, with baboons, giraffes, zebras, topis, elands, buffaloes and hippos being commonly sighted, along with a good range of bird life. Elephant are present but very skittish at present. Leopards are also a rare sighting, but cheetahs are thought to be locally extinct.
In July 2015 a number of lions were re-introduced into the reserve and appear to be doing well. There are plans to introduce black rhinos at some point in the near future.
Akagera National Park is also a prime location with over 500 species present, including shoebill storks, red-faced barbets, Bennett’s woodpeckers, papyrus gonoleks, white-headed chats, black chats and familiar chats.
OUR ADVICE ON INCLUDING THIS PARK TO YOUR TRIP…
We are very rarely asked to include Akagera in trips, primarily because the majority of our guests combine their visit to Rwanda with some of the major savannah reserves of East Africa, notably using the light aircraft schedule that connects the capital Kigali directly with the Serengeti.
Those who do venture down this way tend to be the kind of people who specifically enjoy getting off the beaten track and are not concerned about the likely lack of major wildlife sightings, so generally more experienced safari travelers.
Akagera Game Lodge … is the original accommodation option in the area, but only a modest but serviceable option.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge … was opened in 2012 and is a more intimate and outdoorsy option with just seven tented guest rooms.
Karenge Bush Camp … is a simple mobile operation which changes location within the reserve throughout the year dependent upon wildlife movements.