AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK.
8000 large mammals in addition to over 500 bird species find their residence in the mighty Akagera NP. Not only does the park own flora and fauna but also a multitude of gigantic lakes like Ihema (blessed with plenty hippopotamuses, crocodiles and aquatic birds). A boat trip on the lake leads your eyes to the less common shoebill. No wonder, it is contains central Africa’s largest protected wetlands.
While in the northern plains, commonly referred to as “mini-Serengeti”, one can serve their eyes to massive herding buffalos, elephants like the notorious “Mutwara” plus zebras. In the southern wing, overwhelming calm gamut of antelopes, frisky impala, gorgeous waterbucks and the innocent Oribis, the recently introduced lions and rhinos have re-branded Akagera NP into a BIG-5 destinations.
WHAT TO DO AT AKAGERA NP?
Game drives, boat safaris on Lake Ihema, experiential and behind-the-scenes tours at the park headquarters, bird watching are the right answers to the question of what activates are available at the Akagera NP. Akagera is an additional blessing to any Rwandan vacation!
Tourists in search of special safaris should put a boat trip on Lake Ihema into consideration. This is the theatre of drifting along the forest-fringed water in the middle of hippopotamuses and crocodiles. Boat cruising here happens in four - time shifts in a single day i.e. 7:30am, 9:00am, 3:00pm and 4:00pm forgetting not the non-scheduled private trips that can be arranged at any time of one’s convenience.
Spot fishing is one of the adventures on the menu in Akagera national park. This happens at Lake Shakani where time is devoted to fishing on the lake shores and later on, an opportunity to turn your catch into something worth eating is given in open fire at one’s campsite.
NOTE; you are advised to carry your own equipment.
Behind the Scenes experience.
This happens at the park headquarters where you get an opportunity to chat with the park employees; an opportunity for new connections and networking.
Sunset marks the beginning of fascinating guided night drives in park safari vehicles that accommodate about seven people. A moment of glancing at the parks’ nocturnal like lions and leopards is nothing, but rewarding.
Walk the line.
Akagera fence attendants walk 120kilometer perimeter daily, joining them in the morning for a walk around the park that starts at the park entrance is a one of a kind experience. The walk leads you to the top ridge that enables you greet your expectations with spectacular views. A journey that takes approximately two hours, what an experience!
Community Cultural Experience.
It is not by mistake that the Akagera staff has a close relationship with the community around. These are spectacular cultures with customs one would not wish to miss on a good safari day. There is an opportunity to meet the herdsmen in the farms and kraals milking their traditional cows and performing other cattle-farming rituals.
In addition to the cattle keepers are banana juice and beer makers and honey artisans. This is made possible by the Park’s culture of giving back to the community through sharing a percentage of revenue generated from park entry fees.
APPROPRIATE TIME TO VISIT AKAGERA NP.
Temperature variations in the Akagera throughout the year are not so often, however, the long dry spell i.e. June – September comes with warmer temperatures while cooler weather follows the rains i.e. October – November and March – May. The general area temperature lies between 200 c and 300 c.
Short dry spell (Dec to Feb).
Very little rain is expected in this period and doesn’t last any long meaning that by the month of February the park is always dry and perfect to receive visitors.
Long wet spell (Mar – May).
Regular rainfall, clear blue skies, unending views of lush green grass (good for pictorials) are true characteristics of this period.
Long dry period (June – Sep).
The warmest period of the year characterized by dry short grass and dust providing a conducive environment for viewing animals seeking refuge in the tree shades and lakes along Akagera’s eastern wing.
Short wet period (Oct– Nov).
This season gives ample time for viewing birds as they migrate through Akagera in October and November.