Rwanda Safari – Akagera & Ihema Tour
This 2 day safari takes us to Akagera National Park for a game drive and to Ihema Lake for a canoe ride to see the water animals and birds.
Akagera National Park once protected nearly 10% of Rwanda and was considered to be one of the finest wildlife reserves in the whole of Africa. There are three distinct environments in the park: standard savannah as seen in much of the region; an immense swampy area along the border with Tanzania that contains six lakes and numerous islands, some of which are covered with forest; and a chain of low mountains on the flanks of the park with variable vegetation, ranging from short grasses on the summits to wooded savannah and dense thickets of forest.
Truth be told, Akagera is still a shadow of its former self, and you will be extremely disappointed if you come here expecting concentrations of wildlife on a par with Kenya and Uganda. Carnivores in Akagera are limited to very rarely seen leopards and hyenas as well as genets, servals and jackals, but it’s likely that lions will be reintroduced very shortly. Of the other large ‘trophy’ animals there are an estimated 90 elephants in the park, which are quite commonly seen. Buffalo are also present in reasonably healthy numbers, and there are masses of hippos in the lakes. Antelope and other plains game are well represented, though herds tend to be small and the animals rather skittish. Common safari staples include impala, topi, zebra and waterbuck, as well as the majestic but rare roan antelope and the diminutive Oribi. Maasai giraffe, never native to the park, have been introduced and are faring well. Park authorities are also hoping to re-introduce black rhinos in the near future. Like the giraffe these were never native to the park but were present prior to the genocide following a previous re-introduction.
Of the primates olive baboons and vervet monkeys are very common. The blue monkey, which was thought to have been extinct in Akagera, was recently rediscovered. Needless to say it’s not easy to find.
Even if you don’t come across too many animals, you probably won’t come across too many other wildlife-viewing drivers either. Indeed, the tourist trail has yet to fully incorporate Akagera, which means you can soak up the park’s splendid nature in relative peace and isolation.
Akagera National Park is especially good for birding, with over 480 species attracted by its diverse habitat. Savannah birds and raptors are prevalent and several endemic species such as the red-faced barbet are often seen.
Short boat safari trips are available on Akagera’s lakes which will give you the opportunity to get close to the plentiful waterbirds including numerous African fish eagles, marabou stork, crowned cranes, open-billed stork, cormorants, herons and egrets. If you are lucky you may even get to see the elusive shoebill stork.
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Detailed Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Transfer to Akagera National Park
Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport you will be met by our safari guide who will transfer you to Akagera National Park in the eastern part of Rwanda. The drive is approximately 2½ hours. On arrival, you will go for a nature walk after which you will have lunch at Akagera Game Lodge. In the afternoon you will go for a canoe ride on Lake Ihema to see aquatic animals such as Hippos, Crocodiles as well as water birds like the papyrus Gonolek, shoebill stork and African fish eagle. You will be returned to your lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 2: Morning Game Drive – transfer to Kigali
After breakfast, you will go for the early morning game drive to see wildlife such as elephants, impala, black-tailed mongoose, hippos, oribi, bushbuck, antelope, zebra, cape eland, giraffe, buffalo, and also primates like the olive baboon, vervet monkey, bush baby etc. You will return to Kigali for lunch and later transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
When to Go
The best time to visit is during the dry season (mid-May to September). November and April are the wettest months.
Getting to Akagera National Park
Akagera is really only accessible for those with their own transport. Safari and tour companies in Kigali can arrange a vehicle, or you can negotiate with private taxis around Kigali, although taxis are far from ideal for a safari.
Getting around Akagera National Park
While in theory it is possible to reach the park by public transport, you really do need a private vehicle in order to move around the park. Akagera can also be visited as a day trip from Kigali.
Dangers and annoyances
Tsetse flies and mosquitoes can be bad enough to seriously detract from your safari enjoyment, so bring a good insect repellent.
NOTE: Safari prices will be availed to you on request. Fill our booking form for your price quotation.
End of East African Jungle Safaris Services
QUICK TOUR DETAILS
- Airport transfers
- Accommodations with meals mentioned
- Water, 3 liters per person per day
- Private 4×4 custom built vehicle with knowledgeable driver/guide
- All entrance fees to the national parks
- Ngorongoro crater fee (valid for 6 hours)
- All game drives mentioned
Extras at the lodges i.e. drinks, telephone, laundry, Internet etc.
- International flight
- Departure tax
- Tips to drivers (highly recommended)
- Visa, Travel Insurance