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Rwanda is one of the east African countries, so unique and beautiful to visit. Having different attractions ranging from wildlife like the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, mountains like Karisimbi to the culture of Kinyarwanda, Rwanda has other attractions like Lakes and rivers including Lake Ihema in Akagera national park.

An amazing lake to discover while on your safari to Africa located in the southern part of Akagera national park. Lake Ihema is considered to be the 2nd largest lake in the country after Lake Kivu which is shared by DR Congo and Rwanda. It covers an area of and 5m deep. It borders Tanzania to the Far East in Kayonza district.

The lake is a life blood of different animals such as hippos and crocodiles except for fish. This means tourism is the order of the day on this lake through a boat cruise and canoeing trips. It attracts over 500 bird species and some are migrants from Africa and other continents. Birds that can be spotted here include shoebill stork, malachite kingfishers, hawks, ibises and herons.

The lake also gives growth to seasonal wetlands. This swamp acts to be home to numerous wildlife such as birdlife, snakes, frogs, crocodiles among others. Since the lake is situated in the Akagera national park, this means that you can also involve yourself in a game drive where you can spot different savannah wild animals like elephants, lions, antelopes, giraffes among others.

The lake is threatened by water hyacinth that covers the whole lake and this affects the lives of animals that live in this lake because it limits oxygen supply and temperature hence leading to the death of animals such as hippos, crocodiles and other animals that live in water.

River Akagera flows through the lake which is an amazing feature to see while on your safari to Rwanda and East Africa.

Why visit Lake Ihema?

There are many things you can do during your visit on Lake Ihema in Rwanda and these include;

Boat cruise.

This takes about 2-3 hours while sailing on the lake spotting different amphibians and reptiles such as the crocodiles and hippos plus different birds like papyrus gonolek, Malachite kingfisher, fish eagles and hamerkop.

Game drive.

Before reaching Lake Ihema in the park, you have to take a game drive through the park and this gives you a chance to spot different wildlife such as the elephants, buffalos, antelopes like waterbucks, Jackson’s hartebeests, giraffes, zebras, warthogs and many more.


There are over 500 bird species in Akagera national park including aquatic birds like papyrus gonolek, malachite kingfisher, pied kingfisher, African fish eagle, hawks, jacanas, pelicans, egrets and more. This means that carrying out a birding expedition to Lake Ihema is worth an experience.

Best time to visit Lake Ihema in Rwanda.

Lake Ihema is found in Akagera national park in Rwanda, and park roads are mostly marram roads which means they are easily accessed during dry seasons. Therefore, you are advised to take a safari in the dry season which is normally from December to February and June to September.

How to access Lake Ihema?

Since the lake is situated in the protected area of Akagera national park, you can access the park by road transport. When you are in Kigali the capital city of Rwanda, you can access the park either from the southern or northern gates. The distance covered is around 110km taking between 1.5 and 2 hours.

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