Akagera National Park
Through sloping hilltops, forest-edged lakes, papyrus swamps and the golden savannah plains, Akagera National Park is stunning in its scenic beauty. Safari drives coupled with amazing guides ensure a wonderful wildlife experience. Taking a boat trip on Lake Ihema at sunset, or spending a day fishing on the shores of Lake Shakani will undoubtedly make your safari a uniquely wonderful adventure.
Best Time To Go
July - September
Average Safari Cost
$300-$800 pp/day. Park fee: $40 - $730
Great game drives with an abundance of animals, including the Big Five, over 500 species of birds, boat trips, fishing and a chance to tour the park headquarters.
Why Visit Akagera National Park?
- Car hiring - full day: $275; half day: $175 (5hours)
- Night game drives: $40
Game drives in Akagera are fantastic. You have the option to hire a vehicle with a driver and a guide, or drive your own vehicle with an accompanied guide. It is preferable to have a guide along with you, as they will know the most beautiful scenic spots that you might otherwise miss. The wildlife population is great, offering the Big Five, a large variety of plains game, and a few big predators as well.
The park is home to over 500 bird species, making this a bird-lover’s dream come true. The highly sought-after Shoebill stork can be found in the swamps, and there are many water and savannah species available.
- Morning/day: $30 (1 hour)
- Sunset: $40 (1 hour)
- Fishing: $20 (own equipment)
If you are looking for a less standard safari, taking a boat trip on Lake Ihema is the perfect choice. Gliding on Akagera’s largest lake offers a beautiful scenic view of the forest fringing the lake, and hippo and crocodiles are a common sight. Birdwatching is also excellent on the lake. Feeling more wistful? Take a sunset boat ride instead, and be mesmerized by the stunning landscape backlit by the vibrant colors of the setting sun.
Boat trips are scheduled at four times a day, although you can book an unscheduled trip at a different time, as well. The scheduled times are: 7:30am, 9am, 3:30pm and 5pm.
You can also spend a relaxing day sport fishing on the shore of Lake Shakani, and then cooking your catch at the campsite, over an open fire.
Behind the Scenes: $20 (1,5 hours)
Interested in the conservation developments of the park, or maybe you just want to know how the park is run, or how things are done? A tour of the park headquarters is open to everyone. There are a limited number of people allowed per group, so be sure to book your spot. This activity was designed to provide information to travelers who have a special interest in conservation, or the park itself, and is great for educational groups, but everyone is welcome.
Pros And Cons
- The Big Five
- Great game drives and wildlife viewing
- Boat trips and fishing
- Super knowledgable guides
- Beautiful scenery in Africa’s largest protected wetland
- Over 500 species of birds
- Heavy rains can cause a lot of the park to be inaccessible
- Car hiring is expensive
Best Time To Go
Dry season: July – September and January
Wet season: October – December and February – June
The best time to visit Akagera is in the driest months from July to September, although the park is open all-year round. During the dry months, the daytime temperatures average 71 - 80°F (22 - 27°C), while night time temperatures drop to 60 - 69°F (16 - 21°C). This is best time to visit for most park activities – game drives, boat trips and fishing. Birdwatching is generally great all year, and particularly good in the wetter months, due to migratory birds and the breeding season.
During the rainy months, there are heavy downpours daily, although the sun usually comes out once the rain stops. It is best to avoid the park during March, April and December as these are the wettest months and many roads will be flooded and impassable.
For more details about when to visit broken down by months/seasons see our Rwanda Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
Start your African Adventure
Popular Tours in Rwanda
Adventure in Nyungwe Forest
Nyungwe National Park lies in southwest Rwanda, partly abutting the Burundi border. This vast area of mountain rainforest is home to many species of chimpanzees, plus owl-faced and colobus monkeys. The Canopy Walkway, part of the Igishigishigi Trail, is a high suspension bridge with views over the valley and surrounding forests. A trail runs to the Kamiranzovu Marsh, with its birdlife, orchids and waterfall. “Come Fall in Love with Africa with those who Know It Better”
Virunga Primates and Mafia Island
This fantastic holiday combines Rwanda’s Parc des Volcans and Mafia Island in the Indian Ocean. You’ll spend time tracking wild mountain gorillas and endangered golden monkeys in Rwanda before flying to Tanzania's capital, Dar Es Salam. Following a night there, you will head off to laid-back Mafia Island, where you can enjoy activities such as kayaking, sailing trips with local fishermen, hiking, bird watching, diving, snorkeling, cultural tours and visits to local villages.
Wildlife And Birds
- Black Rhino
- Black rhino
- Sitatunga antelope
- Blue monkey
Infrequently Seen Animals
- Side-striped jackal
Frequently Seen Animals
- Roan antelope
- Bohor reedbuck
- Olive baboon
Birdwatching is superb in Akagera, with over 500 recorded species. Most notable here, is the Shoebill stork that can be found the papyrus swamp and the endangered Grauer’s broadbill. As Africa’s largest protected wetland, coupled with a landscape of savannah, forest and highlands, the park overs a great variety of bird specials – waterbirds are particularly common. The rainy season offers a great chance to see many birds in their breeding plumage, and migratory specials are available from November to April, making this best time for birding.
For a complete list of endangered birds in Rwanda see our Rwanda Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
Getting There And Safety
The main entry point in to Rwanda is Kigali International Airport, located 10km (6miles) from capital, Kigali. From there, Akagera is two-hours from Kigali, approximately 80km (50miles).
Pick up from the airport, as well as further transportation for the duration of your visit, is usually arranged by your tour operator, as part of your tour package.
For the details about visas to Rwanda see our Rwanda Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
There is some concern with malaria in the country. Please speak to your healthcare provider concerning preventative medication. A good insect repellent (30% DEET) is necessary, and you should keep your arms and legs covered as much as possible.
For more details about vaccinations see our Rwanda Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Rwanda. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of the safari trip cover.
Sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat and a good insect repellent are essential. You will need long-sleeved clothing for Rwanda, especially in the wet months of October – December and February – June, to protect against mosquitoes. Ensure that you have a plenty of water on your during safari.
Wet-weather gear – waterproof jacket/pants, waterproof boots and backpack – for the wet months. The waterproof backpack is to ensure that your camera and other equipment does get damaged due to rain.
For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.