What to do in Akagera National Park?
What to do in Akagera National Park? Various activities can be done in the park such as safari game drives, Bird watching, boat cruise among others. Please see below;
Safaris game drives
Game drives tours in Akagera National Park are conducted using safaris vehicle early in the morning on the outlook of big five mammals of Africa and other wildlife species which include the leopards, hyenas, and the re-introduced lions. The reason for carrying game drives very early in the morning is because the predators become active with hunting during the night and early in the morning they tend to go into hibernation and thus waking up early for the morning game drives will increase your chances for seeing these animals. Along with the carnivores, you can encounter the scenery of this beautiful park and several other big mammals like Elephants, buffaloes, antelopes, Zebra, and Giraffes. The landscape and beautiful wildflowers will make for good pictures for the interested photographer.
It is only in Kagera National Park in Rwanda where night game drives can be conducted. Night game drives are done using spotlights and an open-roof vehicle to allow visitors to spot nocturnal animals like a genet, mongoose, bush babies, owls, nightjar, leopards, and hyenas. Night game drives cost $40 for an international visitor and last between two to three hours. All these game drives are done in company with a professional tour guide and ranger guide.
Boat safari trips
The boat cruise is one of the interesting activities taking place on Akagera National Park particularly on Lake Ihema. The best way to spend an afternoon in Akagera national park is to take a boat ride on Lake Ihema. Most animals are hiding under the shade because of the heat from the sun as others come to the water for cooling off and drinking. In addition to a variety of water birds, you will watch schools of hippos in the water and crocodiles by the shores of the lake. The bird species that visitors can see while on boat cruise safaris on Lake Ihema in Akagera National Park include African darter, African jacana, blue-headed coucal, cormorant, fish eagles, kingfishers, marsh flycatcher, and the open-bill stork. International visitors need to pay United States dollars 40 for the boat trip. Only 11 people may be allowed into the boat. Those who want a more private experience can arrange their trip at United States Dollars 180. Boats depart in the morning and afternoon.
Bird watching safaris
Akagera National park shelters over 470 bird species and this has made it a top birding destination in Rwanda for the birders. Visitors cannot see all these birds in one day or a single trip. You will have a new bird to discover every trip or each day. The shoebill stork that many birdwatchers search for can be seen here, and so can several other water birds. Other bird species include raptors, papyrus gonolek, shoebill stocks, migrant birds such as the lesser kestrel and the great sniper, the Zambian Arnot chat, Suaza shrike, and the long-tailed Cistola, and many other colorful birds.
Visitors who are interested to go for the sport can do some fishing in Lake Shakani, one of the many lakes in the area. The most common fish in the lake are tilapia and catfish. As you engage in sport fishing, you might catch sight of or hear hippos further nearby. Some fishing tournaments take place in the park every now then, you could participate if there is one going on at the time of your visit. Visitors are required to obtain a fishing permit and make a booking on this lake.
Nature walk guided safaris
Nature walks in the park can are conducted with the help of a park staff guide. Guided walk via elected sections of the park gives you opportunities to appreciate the great biodiversity in the park. Nature walks involve following established park trails that lead to forests, lakes, and swamps. The exotic plants, colorful butterfly species, the still water in some of the lakes, the water birds, the smaller animals that you couldn’t see quite well on the game drive. Nature walks are peaceful and a very good opportunity to appreciate nature at a much slower and easier pace. Related to nature walks, visitors can also involve in a fence walk by joining the park staff and the security. The security fence has played a key role in safeguarding the park against illegal activities and acts from humans living around the park. Visitors can walk for about seven kilometers along the security fence and this offers great views of the park for just two hours.
Visitors can experience the rural Rwandan life around the cattle-keeping communities near Akagera National Park. You have the opportunity to observe and or participate in traditional cattle grazing, milking, traditional milk storage in calabashes for preservation. You then go through the process of converting milk into different products like traditional yogurt, ghee and lastly take part in preparing a meal with some of the ingredients from the milk products. This is an authentic cultural experience shared by the locals living adjacent to the park, they get to earn from this supplementing their agricultural income. This eventually contributes to conservation culture and wild animals in the park
There are other touristic activities that you can involve in while in Akagera National park and these include visits to Rusumo Falls, the presidential palace, the museum, the Kigali city markets, the genocide war memorial centers, and Museums. Visitors interested in shopping for souvenirs can stop by one of the local art and craft shops along the way to the park.
When to visit Akagera National Park?
This presents the best time or favorable climatic conditions of the year when visitors can explore Akagera National Park without any interference as they see different attractions s found within the park. The best time to visit Akagera National Park is from July to September as well as in January which is the dry season of the year and this also represents the peak season in most of the African wildness. The rains have stopped then but the park is still green from the previous rainy season. At this time of the year, many of the waterholes get dry and the animals go to the few remaining pools. This makes it easy to spot them at one point unlike in the rainy season. The wet season is presented in March, April, and December. The rainy season, however, does not favor game viewing and other activities within the national park due to the road conditions.