Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park - Rwanda

The park got its name from the river that runs along its eastern boundary; The Park is Rwanda’s famous Savanna reserve. Set at a relatively low altitude on the border with Tanzania, Akagera National Park could scarcely be more different in mood to the breezy cultivated hills that characterize much of Rwanda. Dominated scenically by the labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River, the most remote source of the Nile, this is an archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open grassland. In comparison to the rest of the country, the area is relatively warm and low-lying, and plains support a cover of dense, broad-leafed woodland with lighter acacia woodland and patches of rolling grassland studded eloquently with stands of the superficially cactus-like Euphorbia candelabra shrub.

What to see in Akagera
Akagera is, above all, big game country! Herds of elephant and buffalo emerge from the woodland to drink at the lakes, while lucky visitors might stumble across a spotted hyena or even a stray lion. Giraffe and zebra amble through the savannah, and more than a dozen types of antelope inhabit the park, most commonly the handsome chestnut-coated impala, but also the diminutive oribi and secretive bushbuck, as well as the ungainly tsessebe and the world's largest antelope, the statuesque cape eland

Over 50 pods of hippopotami grunt and splutter throughout the day while outsized crocodiles soak up the sun with their vast jaws menacingly agape. Magically, the air is torn apart by the unforgettable pair of fish eagles, asserting their status as the avian monarchs of Africa's waterways. Lining the lakes are some of the continent’s densest concentrations of water birds. While the connecting marshes are the haunt of the endangered and exquisite papyrus Gonolek, and the bizarre shoebill stork - the latter perhaps the most eagerly sought of all African birds.

What to do in Akagera National Park

Launch cruise
Boat trips are available on Lake Ihema, and are worthwhile. You should Book in advance through ORTPN in Kigali. Close encounters with outsize crocodiles and large pods of hippo are all but guaranteed, and you will also pass substantial breeding colonies of African darter, cormorant and open-bill stork. Other water birds are abundant: the delicate and colorful African jacana can be seen trotting on floating vegetation, fish eagles are posted in the trees at regular intervals, jewel-like malachite kingfisher hawk from the needs, while pied kingfishers hover high above the water to swoop down on their fishy prey. Of greater interest to enthusiasts will be the opportunity to spot marsh specialists such as blue-headed coucal and marsh flycatcher.

Game viewing
Game drives are available if you ideally have a 4x4 unless if you are staying at the lodge. Guides are provided at no extra charge and they will help you to find your way around. The game-viewing circuit is in essence limited to one main road running northwards from the park headquarters at Lake Ihema. Most of the lakes are passed by this road, or can be approached using a short fork. North of Lake Hago, the road branches into two main forks, one of which heads west into the Mutumba hills. The possibilities for game drives are restricted by the fact that the park can only be entered near Lake Ihema and the Game Lodge. In a long half-day, you could realistically travel from the entrance as far north as the Mutumba Hills, and back. To head further north requires the best part of a day, with the option of using the exit-only route north of Lake Rwanyakizinga emerging on the main tar road to the Uganda border. The tracks in the far north are very indistinct, and should be attempted only in the company of a guide. Once back on the main road, the guide can be dropped at Kayonza or Kabarondo junctions with enough money to make his way back to the headquarters by motorbike-taxi. Starting from the entrance gate, a hilly road through very thick scrub leads over about 5km to Lake Ihema. It is on a humid and mosquito-plagued island near the eastern shore of Ihema.

Accommodation facilities
Akagera Game Lodge lies in the North East of Rwanda within the 90 000 ha Akagera National Park. Its location is in the eastern province. Akagera Game Lodge sits majestically on a ridge overlooking Lake Ihema amidst a mosaic of grass, bush and varied terrain of hills, deep valleys, lakes and marches
Other budget facilities are made available in Akagera national park

Accessing Akagera
By public means, Akagera can be accessed from Kigali in a two hours long drive and from Kibungo or Rwamagana in about one hour. The only usable entrance gate, 500m from the new Akagera Game Lodge, is reached through a 27km dirt road which branches from the main surfaced road at Kabarondo, 15km north of Kibungo. This dirt road is in fair condition, passable by any vehicle except after rain. Within the park, however, a 4x4 is advisable, though any vehicle with good clearance should be okay in the dry season
 

Rwanda Best of Africa Vacation - 14 Days

Rwanda: the best Africa Vacation holiday encopassing savanna and raiforest.  On this trip you you will see the animals of the savannahs (elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, leopard) and up to 15 primate species, including gorillas and chimps!!!  Visit all important and well known national parks of Rwanda: Akagera National Park, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Volcanoes National Park and Lake Kivu.

DAY TO DAY PROGRAM

Day 1: Kigali
Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport for your African trip, you will be met by our safari guide and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at Step Town Motel/Kigali Serena Hotel/Mille Collines Hotel

Day 2: Akagera National Park
After breakfast we drive to Akagera National Park. On our way we enjoy the beautiful landscape and rural way of life of the local people. Akagera National Park in Eastern Rwanda is Rwanda's only Savannah national park the drive is approximately 2 and a half hours, check into your accommodation. After lunch you will go out for an evening game drive to search for animals like the African Elephants, Masai giraffes, Antelopes, Zebras, Buffaloes, gazelles, Impala, Baboons, Oribi, Burchell’s zebra, Topi, Bush baby, Leopard, Bushbuck and so many others. Dinner and overnight at Akagera Game Lodge/ Umbrella Pine/Dereva Hotel

Day 3: Game drive and boat trip
After breakfast, you will go for the early morning game drive which will reward you with views of wildlife such as elephants, impala, oribi, bushbuck, antelope, zebra, cape eland, giraffe, buffalo, and if you are lucky visitor you may come across a spotted hyena, lion or leopard. Return to the lodge for lunch and in the afternoon, there will a canoe ride on Lake Ihema. This will reward you with views of water loving animals like Hippos, out-sized crocodiles and water birds like the papyrus Gonolek, shoebill stork and African fish eagle. Dinner and overnight at Akagera Game Lodge/ Umbrella Pine/Dereva Hotel

Day 4: Kigali
Game drive in the morning. Picnic lunch at the top of Mount Mutumba (1,825 meters) with stunning panoramic views of the park. Transfer to Kigali afterwards.
Overnight at Step Town Motel/Kigali Serena Hotel/Mille Collines Hotel

Day 5: Nyungwe Forest
This morning you will transfer to Nyungwe Forest with a stop over at Butare (Huye) where to visit the Rwanda National Museum and Nyanza Hill. Afterwards continue on to Nyungwe Forest.
Dinner and overnight Gisakura Guest House/Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel/Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Day 6: Nyungwe Forest National Park
Early morning Chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest. Optional walk to the waterfall or visit to the Angolan Black Colobus monkeys (both activities optional).
Nyungwe Forest is East Africa's largest forests, with 13 monkey species, including chimpanzees, Angolan Black Colobus, Mona Monkey and Owl Faced Monkeys.
Dinner and overnight Gisakura Guest House/Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel/Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Day 7: Nyungwe Forest National Park
This morning after breakfast you have a few options of activities to choose from note that it is only one activitiy included. If you choose to do more than one activity then you will have to pay for it. Activities include; a nature walk or bird watching, primate walk, canopy walk or the waterfall trail (one activity included).
Dinner and overnight Gisakura Guest House/Nyungwe Top View Hill Hotel/Nyungwe Forest Lodge

Day 8: Kibuye (Lake Kivu)
Today after breakfast we drive to the Bugarama hot springs (the largest and biggest natural spring in Rwanda) via Cyamudongo Natural Forest. It is possible to take a warm bath in the hot springs (optional). Afterwards we drive to River Rusizi for a boat trip with lunch and drinks. Drive to Kibuye town.
Overnight Bethanie hotel / Moriah Hills

Day 9: Gisenyi (Lake Kivu)
Relax at the lodge or at the shores of scenic Lake Kivu. It is also possible to make a walk along the lake's shores. Afterwards drive to Gisenyi.
Overnight Ubumwe Hotel/Lake Kivu Serena hotel

Day 10: Volcanoes National Park
Relax at the beach in the morning, go for a nature walk along the shore or visit Bugarama hot springs. In the afternoon we drive to the Volcanoes National Park.
Volcanoes National Park is a unique jungle, with many primate species, including the endemic Golden Monkeys. Volcanoes National Park is part of the Virunga Mountains, covering Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, and one of the two places in the world where you can find Mountain Gorillas!
overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge/ Le Bambou Lodge/Home Inn

Day 11: Gorilla tracking
Your gorilla tracking day today starts with an early morning breakfast, transfer to the park for a gorilla tracking briefing from the park guides, with your ranger guide you will set out on a gorilla tracking experience searching for one of the world's most interesting and endangered animals, the Mountain Gorilla! You will spend one hour with the mountain gorillas. An experience you will never forget.
overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge/ Le Bambou Lodge/Home Inn
Volcanoes National Park is a unique jungle, with many monkey species, including the endemic Golden Monkeys. Volcanoes National Park is part of the Virunga Mountains, covering Uganda, Rwanda and Congo, and one of the two places in the world where you can find Mountain Gorillas!
overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge/ Le Bambou Lodge/Home Inn

Day 12: Volcanoes National Park
Optional activities for today (one activity included): make a nature walk in the national park, visit the golden monkeys, climb one of the volcanoes, or visit Diane Fossey's grave.
It is also possible to make another gorilla tracking.
overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge/ Le Bambou Lodge/Home Inn

Day 13: Lake Ruhondo / Kigali
We drive around the lakes and visit the Musangabo viewing point. Optional nature walk around the lakes. Afterwards we drive to Kigali. It is also possible to visit the local people or the pygmies (optional).
Overnight at Step Town Motel/Kigali Serena Hotel/Mille Collines Hotel

Day 14
Kigali - Flight
Today is reserved for departure. If you have time before your departure flight it is possible to go on a city tour with possible visit of the Genocide Memorial if time allows (optional activity)

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