Game Drives in Rwanda
For the visitor to Rwanda, Akagera national park is a top attraction to visit while on safari. Akagera national park is one of Rwanda’s finest national park and ranks greatly among the most scenic savanna reserves in Africa. The park offers majestic views of the rolling hills and the low-lying Savannah plains. Akagera national park being the only savanna park in Rwanda is the best place to go for a game drive safari. The park offers wonderful opportunities to look out for wildlife in different sections of the park.
Akagera national park is located in the North Eastern Rwanda bordering with Tanzania and is just a two hours drive from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda. The short drive time makes it perfect for short tours like the 1 Day and 2 Day Akagera national park safari tour because connecting to the park is much easier and the road is good and smooth to navigate. Akagera national park covers an area of 1,122 square kilometers and is best experienced on a guided game drive.
Wildlife and Game Drives in Akagera
The game drives in Akagera national park always start at the park headquarters where one receives briefing from the park guide. The briefing is before the game drive and is important as the park guide lets visitors in on the park guidelines and how to act while on the game drive. The park headquarters situated within the park also feature books on wildlife in the park, trees in the park, bird life and information the on the history of Akagera national park. You can choose to arrive earlier than the briefing time with your driver guide and spend some time indulging in on park information through books. Akagera national park has so much to offer as African parks in conjunction with Rwanda Development Board has done a commendable job in the resurgence of Akagera national park and the conservation of wildlife. The game drives usually last between 6-7 hours which is enough time for game viewing.
Wildlife in Akagera National Park
Akagera national park has a diversity of wildlife and is home to the African Big Five animals that include Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino. The presence of the Big Five offers an opportunity to look out for incredible wildlife sightings while on your Rwanda safari. In June 2015 lions (2 males and 5 females) were re-introduced in Akagera national park and rhinos were also recently re-introduced in to the park, the rhino population was greatly affected by poaching in the previous years but conservation efforts are ongoing and rhinos are now heavily protected by the park officials. While on the game drive there are a number of other animals to look out for and these include the elusive leopard , elephants that can be seen feeding in the park, buffaloes which are usually seen as the park is home to about 2000 individuals, Burchell’s zebras often seen grazing in open low-lying areas of the park, impalas, hippos that are best seen around Lake Ihema the park is known to be one of the top places in East Africa to see large numbers of hippos. Other animals to look out for include warthogs, the majestic giraffes, sitatunga but this is a rarely seen antelope specie, water bucks, bohor reed buck, roan antelope, elands,topis, mammal species like the olive baboons, vervet monkeys and the nocturnal bush baby. Crocodiles are also present in the park and are best seen on a boat safari on Lake Ihema.
In addition Akagera national park is also rich in bird life and is a birding hot spot for specialist birders as it is home to savanna birds, raptors and papyrus endemics. The papyrus endemics to look out for include the Papyrus Gonolek, White-winged Warbler and the Caruthers’s cisticola. Other bird species to look out for in Akagera include the Lilac-breasted roller, Little bee-eater, Double toothed barbet, Black Headed Gonolek, Heuglin’s robin-chat, Meyer’s parrot, Ross’s Turaco, the Bare-faced go-away bird., White-headed black chat, Crested Barbet, Long-tailed cisticola, herons, egrets and the Red-faced barbet. Raptors include Ruppell’s Griffon vultures, White-backed vultures, Hooded vultures, Brown snake eagles, African fish eagle and the magnificent Bateleur eagle. Bird watchers also have an opportunity to sight water birds that are often found on the shore of the lakes spread out across Akagera national park and these include pelicans, Crowned cranes, Open-bill stork and Marabou stork. Akagera national park is also the only place in Rwanda where one can see the elusive Shoebill.
Akagera national park is a perfect destination for the visitor looking out for game viewing opportunities in Rwanda. One is assured of looking forward to a fantastic and magical wildlife safari in Akagera park!