Activities to do in Akagera national park

The following are the major tourist activities to do in Akagera national park

Nyungwe Gate In Akagera National Park Rwanda

Nyungwe gate is also called the northern gate and it’s the exit gate of Akagera national park in Rwanda. The entry gate is called the Kiyonza gate or the southern gate which is near the park headquarters. Nyungwe gate is meant for tourists to exit the park but of recent the establishment of the Magashi camp – a luxury accommodation inside Akagera national park, Nyungwe gate is now used as an entry gate by only residents of Magashi where tourist are dropped off from Nyungwe gate by a shuttle from Kigali on a daily basis. The guides of Magashi camp then collect the tourists using safari jeep to the lodge and for park activities.

For the best wildlife viewing in Akagera national park, this happens more around Nyungwe gate in the northern sector of the park, the area has the highest concentration of wild animals among which include antelopes, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, warthogs among others. After picking your safari guide from the park reception in the southern sector gate, the tourist who is on self-guided tours is advised to rent a game guide from the reception of the park at a fee of USD40 that takes you throughout the whole day to the exit of the gate which is called the northern Nyungwe gate.

Why you need to visit Akagera national park in Rwanda

Here are reasons why you should explore Akagera national park in Rwanda. The park is open to day visitors from 6 am to 6 pm every day. You are advised to leave the park before 6 pm and if you don’t do that you will be charged. At night the visitors must be at their hotels by 6 pm unless if they are doing a night game drive activity led by the park rangers.

The toilets are scattered in the area at Muyumbu, Mutumba, and Shakani swamps, the reception, lake Mihindi picnic area, and Nyungwe exit gate in the northern sector. All tourists are not allowed to litter their rubbish in the park.

Activities to do in Akagera national park

The following are the major tourist activities to do in Akagera national park;

Guided game drives

Game drives happen along the tracks in the park through the green savannah plains and woodlands into the home of different wild animals and birds in Akagera national park. The tour guide knows every angle where most animals live during the day and makes sure to drive by. Some animals you should expect to see during the day game drive include buffaloes, lions, elephants, oribis, topis, cape eland, giraffes, and the newly introduced rhinos among others.

Night game drives

Although the sun in Akagera national park goes down the park does not sleep. A night game drive is an activity that gives you an opportunity to see nocturnal animals most especially the wide-eyed bush babies, civets, leopards, and several cats. You will be led by park rangers using a bright spot flashlight while heading out to see the wild.

Boat safari

A boat safari is a relaxing yet rewarding way to see different water birds and animals in and near the waters. Boat cruises in Akagera national park are only done on Lake Ihema which happens to be the second largest lake in Rwanda known for its abundant hippo population and crocodile dotted shores. The boat cruise on Lake Ihema offers the opportunity to take up-close photos of these aquatic animals and birds. As other animals come to the lake for a drink or baths like buffaloes and elephants, you might get a chance and have a look at those that you may have not seen while out on a game drive in the other parts of the park

Birding

Akagera national park is home to over 525 species of birds so far being recorded in the area with many endemics to this park in Rwanda. The various habitats for bird species at Akagera National Park give you an opportunity to see different kinds of bird species. Birds in Akagera national park can be found in the savannah plains, in the hills, forests, by the lakes, and at the river. The Red-Faced Barbets, lesser kestrel, the Great Snipe, the Lesser Kestrel, the Armot Chat, Zambian Arnot chat, Swamp Fly Catchers, the Papyrus Gonolek, Sauza shrike, and the Shoebill are some of the most rewarding sights while birding.

Fishing

You have a chance of fishing while in Akagera national park. You can do fishing on both Lake Ihema and Shakani in Akagera national park which is an amazing experience. At the serene waters, you can fish to the background music of different bird species, crocodiles, and hippos that grunt as if to cheer you on. You are free to keep your catch to roast, fry, or grill it at your campsite and enjoy the taste of fresh fish from Rwanda. Visitors who are planning to take part in fishing are advised to come along with their fishing gear or equipment.

Nature Walks

Akagera national park management organizes nature walks in some areas of the park with a help of a ranger guide. This is the best way to discover the national park outside of a vehicle that you use while on a game drive. Also, it allows more time and engagement concerning plants, butterflies, and insects that you could easily miss while on a wildlife safari in the park.

A trip to this park can be combined with other tourist destinations such as Nyungwe forest national park or activities like canopy walk, nature walk and hiking, chimpanzee tracking among others. More still, you can explore and meet mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park.

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