Akagera National Park

Akagera is set on a relatively low altitude in the north east of Rwanda on the border with Tanzania sitting on an area of 1122sqkm home to more than 12,000 large mammals and 500 bird species. The park is named after the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes the largest being Lake Ihema. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps cover over 1/3 of the park making it the largest protected wetland in central Africa. Together with Nyungwe and the Volcanoes National park, Akagera offers a great safari element as it is home to many large plains game species as well as species that are restricted to the papyrus swamps such as the sought-after Shoebill Stork and the Sitatunga. You cannot miss notable plains game including elephant, topi, buffalo, zebra, roan antelope, waterbuck and eland. Other antelopes are duiker, oribi, klipspringer, bohor reedbuck, bushbuck and impala. Of the primates, olive baboons, vervets and the secretive blue monkey are seen during the day, with bush-babies often seen on night drives. You will catch sight of the giraffe and zebra stroll through the savannah.

Akagera has had a troubled past with refugee returnees from the Rwanda genocide encroaching on their land in the early 90s which caused alot of harm on the environment through poaching and grazing on the park land. This prompted the government to reduce Akagera by half in order to make room for the new residents to occupy one half as the other is protected. Today the park is good management with the conservation organisation African parks which has managed to bring back in life. The anti-poaching measures as well as new perimeter fences have gone a long way in restoring the animal populations in the park. The beautiful scenery in Akagera will leave you in awe.


Listed below are some of the options that you may consider while on a safari in Akagera;

Ruzizi Tented lodge

This was opened back in 2012 and is located in the park itself with 7 tents. It is a very simple eco-friendly lodge that is in a good position to explore the Akagera. It sits at the shores of Lake Ihema with lovely views of the lake while sitted in the main communal areas. Ruzizi is also fitted with a fireplace in the communal areas which come very handy especially in the cold evenings.

Each of the seven tents has a queen sized or two small double beds, a dressing area, its own en-suite bathroom with running hot water as well as a private patio at the front. The whole lodge is entirely powered by solar.

Akagera game lodge

This is a hotel setting as opposed to the traditional safari lodges with fantastic views of Lake Ihema with a large swimming pool that is perched on the edge of the savannah with a total of 64 rooms. African carvings and pieces of art carefully dotted in the main reception area welcome you and this is incorporated with a small curio shop as well as a bar upstairs which has chunky wooden bar-stools lining a long wooden bar with a TV to entertain you. The game lodge has a restaurant as well that has an outside decked area from where you enjoy your meals. Don’t be afraid to carry your little ones along as the lodge has a children’s play area as well as a small children’s pool. 2 flood lit tennis courts are also in place and free for guests to use.

The accommodation for the guests consist a range of bedrooms, cottages and suites. They are simple donned with African print curtains and bed covers simply to maintain and cherish the African heritage. Each room has a chair, writing desk, satellite TV as well as a patio that overlooks the lake or the savannah. The suites are two in number and these are the last ones on the terrace; one on the top floor and the other on the ground floor. The suites each have a lounge area has a marble table, sofa and a dining table, a minibar and a Tv. A kingsize bed is also fitted with a mosquito net covering it, a dressing table as well as a balcony that overlooks the lake.

The cottages are also 2 and furthest from the reception area. They are characterized by shiny polished floors, 2 storey circular stone and thatch buildings, a large dining table with a kitchen area. One of the cottages has 3 bedrooms that is one twin as well as 2 kings ensuite while the other has only a king and a twin. A lovely wraparound terrace surrounds each cottage offering very spectacular views.

Reasons why you need to visit the Akagera

  1. It is the most convenient savannah big five add on the gorilla experience and only a 2 hour drive from Kigali
  2. The park is a microcosm of Rwanda in terms a turnaround success story, from a once dilapidating sanctuary to a thriving reserve
  3. After the introduction of the black rhino, it is the only park in the whole world with both the Big Five, as well as Sitatunga and the rare shoebill
  4. There is a diversity of habitats all in one park including marshes, mountains, savannah, lakes and woodland making it one of the most spectacular sceneries.
  5. It is your chance to see Akagera’s re-introduced lions, the first in Rwanda in over 2 decades.