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AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK


Akagera National Park is located in the northeast of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. Although founded in 1934, much of the park was re-allocated as farms and in 1997 the park was reduced in size from more than 2,500 sq km almost 10% of the surface area of Rwanda) to its current extent of 1,122 sq km. Right from 2010, a joint venture with African Parks has seen Akagera return to its former glories.

It was named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. The forest-fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains, and rolling highlands combine to make Akagera amongst the most scenic of reserves anywhere in Africa. It has exceptional levels of biodiversity and forms the largest protected wetland in central Africa.

The park management has vehicles available to hire for game drives, that come with their own driver and guide, and a choice of half-day or full-day drives. However, it is also possible in Akagera to self-drive your own vehicle around the park. Guides are available to accompany you on your drive. The guides can direct you to areas where wildlife is most abundant and guide you to stunning scenic spots that you may otherwise miss.

ACTIVITIES IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK


  1. Wildlife Game Drives [Day and Night]

Game driving at Akagera is like receiving a mature Bank Cheque for a long-awaited payment, it avails a full package of wildlife watching and scenic photo taking. The wildlife includes Monkeys, Leopards, Hyenas, Maasai Giraffes, Antelopes, Buffalos and Savannah Birds and many more

You will be guided by the Professional Park guides experienced with the flora and the fauna at the Park. While game driving, Tourists are encouraged to remain in the Tourist vehicles /van unless told so by the guides that it is safe for them to get out taking a look. For longer game drives, you will need to take snacks or even lunch and a lot of water before the drive actually starts.

Game Driving at Akagera National Park

About the Nocturnal, the night game drives are so electrifying as you will adventure out with a spotlight to view the wildlife creatures of the night that are found in Park. This night game drive is different from that of during the day as at night, there is a big opportunity to view the predators on the prowl as they look for dinner. You will also see quite a number of leopards, lions, serval cats, the hyenas, birds as well as the bush babies with their large eyes. This nocturnal drives a 2 hours’ drive and will surely give you a lifetime experience.

2. Birding

Akagera National Park harbors over 500 bird species so for birders you don’t need to miss out on this activity at the park together with the Nyungwe Forest National Park. Bird species range from water to forest and also Savannah as well as migratory bird species and some are endemic to the Park are rare like the Papyrus gonolex found in the Papyrus Swamps. The Park also has the localized red-faced barbets, and the swamp flycatcher as well as the elusive shoebill stork. So Birding is an Impressive experience for the Birders.

Birding in Akagera National Park

3. Sport Fishing

The Shores of Lake Shakani is a perfect site for Sportfishing, Tourists will spend their relaxing day time fishing from the lake shores before cooking their catch over an Open fire at the campsite. This will avail you with an added opportunity of being in an African wild with the wildlife in the distance plus the hippos and the water birds.

Sport Fishing in Lake Shakani Akagera National Park

4. Boat safaris on Lake Ihema

Boat safaris are one of the main highlights of any tourist activity in East Africa and with this Boat Safari, you will adventure Lake Ihema in Akagera National Park which is endowed with the largest concentrations of hippos in East Africa with many crocodiles along the shores of the lake. Boating Safari on Lake Ihema will help to spot shoebill stork, water birds, Elephants heading to bathe.

5. Community Cultural Experience

WHY VISIT AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK


  1. Strategically Located near Kigali Rwanda’s Capital. It is just a 2-hrs drive from Kigali with a beautiful and convenient savannah landscape for visiting the gorillas.
  2. Akagera National Park has a wonderful and inspiring wildlife conservation story with the only “Big Five” (5) wildlife and home to many wildlife that is Lions, Rhinos.
  3. Exceptional Birding Experience. Akagera provides you with delightful birding with more than 482 bird species including both the rare and prehistoric shoebill and Lake Victoria endemics
  4. The Park has a unique diverse habitat which includes the River, Savannah, Lakes, Mountains, Marshes, and Woodland which gives it spectacular scenery.
  5. Tourism camps and hotels which include the Ruzizi Tented Lodge and the Karenge Bush Camp established within its territory provide Tourists with international life tour experience.
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Nyungwe Forest National Park lies in the South Western part of Rwanda at the border with Burundi, and it sits on an area of about 1020 sq.km on an elevation of 1600-2950m above sea level. It harbors habituated chimpanzees and 12 other primates species.

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Volcanoes National Park is situated in north-western Rwanda in the district of Kinigi and Ruhengeri and it is part of the Virunga Conservation Area. Volcanoes national park borders Virunga national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda and the park covers an area of about 125 square kilometers with extinct volcanic rocks which include Muhabura, Karisimbi, Sabyinyo, Bisoke and Gahinga which is shared with Uganda.

Volcanoes national park is referred to as the place where ‘’gold meets silver’’ reason being, the park has both the silverback gorillas and the golden monkeys within the same vicinity.  Volcanoes National Park is one of Rwanda’s most popular tourist destinations because of its endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys.

ACTIVITIES DONE IN THE VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

  1. MOUNTAIN GORILLA TREKKING

Mountain gorilla trekking is the main activity done in Volcanoes national park. The park has 10 habituated gorilla families and all are ready for gorilla trekking, here is the list of the gorilla families you can decide to trek depending on your physical fitness, Susa gorilla family, Karisimbi gorilla family, Sabyinyo gorilla family, Amahoro [peace] gorilla family, Agashya [meaning special] gorilla family, Umubano [live together] gorilla family, Kwitonda [humble one] gorilla family, Hirwa gorilla family, Bwenya [wisdom] gorilla family and Uganda [mobile. Being on the move] gorilla family. The Uganda mobile gorilla family is always on move from Volcanoes national park [Rwanda] to Mgahinga Gorilla national park in Uganda. For travelers to enjoy gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda you have to buy gorilla permit at cost of 1500 USD and viewing gorillas after finding them takes only one hour. Mountain gorilla permits in Uganda are only issued by Rwanda Development Board.

  1. GOLDEN MONKEY TRACKING

Golden monkey trekking is yet another most done activity in Volcanoes national park. Golden monkeys are among endangered species which every traveler should not miss out on a visit to volcanoes national park. These species attract thousands of travelers into this jungle to search for them. Volcanoes national park in Rwanda and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda is where travelers can see golden monkeys so those parks are referred to as places where gold meets with silver. Golden monkey permit goes only 100 USD and permits are only issued by Rwanda Development Board and you can book for your golden monkey safari through tour operators.

  1. VOLCANO HIKING

Volcanoes national park is a home for five extinct volcanoes.  So apart from the famous gorilla tracking and golden monkeys trekking activities, travelers who visit volcanoes national park, therefore, have an added advantage of hiking to the top of any of the five Volcanoes which reward them with spectacular views of Rwanda’s rolling hills, Kigali city, Virunga volcanoes, and local communities. Mt Karisimbi is the most hiked Volcano and the experience is worth the hike. You can decide to do a one-day hike in mount Karisimbi and you will enjoy the experience.

  1. CAVING

Musanze caves are located in Musanze town in Rwanda and you can add Musanze caves on your safari to Volcanoes national park. The Musanze caves used to be the shelter for locals during the war times and even during the Rwanda genocide incident, you will find the experienced guide who will narrate to you the mysteries of the caves, history and all other facts about Rwanda

  1. IBY’LWACU CULTURAL VILLAGE

On your visit to Volcanoes national park, you must visit Iby’lwacu cultural village where you will enjoy the traditional style setting of Rwanda tradition. You will see and can take part in some activities as well. The cultural village visit features some of Rwanda’s ways of life, cultural foods, local brew making, traditional dances, songs, drumming, banana juice making, traditional healers and storytelling among others.

  1. BIRD WATCHING

volcanoes national park is home to plenty of bird species and park recorded over 178 bird species. For travelers who love bird watching can include bird safari in their visit to volcanoes national park and will see different African bird species.

  1. HIKING TWIN LAKES -BURERA AND BUHONDO

Lake Burera and Buhondo are located in the Musanze district in Rwanda. These twin lakes are just lake Bunyonyi of Uganda with a beautiful view. Lake Burera and Buhondo were named twin lakes because they are situated in the same area and their physical connection. On your visit to Volcanoes national park, you spare some time to hike the twin lakes and the hike takes 3-4 hours.

ACCOMMODATION FACILITIES IN VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

Mountain gorilla view lodge, Le Bambou gorilla lodge, Sabyinyo silverback lodge, Hotel Muhabura, Kinigi Guesthouse, Le Palme hotel, Villa Gorilla lodge, Garr hotel, Gorillas volcanoes hotel, Da Vinci gorilla lodge, Garden place hotel, Bisate lodge, Virunga lodge, Mountain gorillas nest lodge, and Five Volcanoes Boutique hotel among other.

HOW TO ACCESS VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK?

You can easily access volcanoes national park by road through Musanze which is the normal and easy route to get into the park. It’s only a 2-3 hours’ drive.

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