Akagera National Park
The Akagera National Park (French: Parc National de l’ Akagera) covers 1,200 km² in eastern Rwanda, against the Tanzanian border. It was founded in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation in three eco-regions: savannah, mountain, and swamp. The park is named for the Akagera River which flows along with its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes the largest of which is Lake Ihema. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over 1/3 of the park and is the largest protected wetland in central Africa.
The 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 the 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. There are many activities in the park such as day game drives, night game drives (Nocturnal game drives), boat safaris and camping in campsites available in the park.
Wildlife Game Drives in Akagera Park
The game drive here is 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 giraffes, 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 spotlight to view the wildlife creatures of the night that are found in Akagera National Park. This night game drives 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.
Fishing on lake Shakani
This would be one of the extraordinary 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 within 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 shoebill 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.