Akagera National Park, bordering Tanzania, has scenic, undulating plains with dense broad-leafed woodland; lighter acacia woodland and rolling grassland with an extensive series of lakes linked by Papyrus swamps forming a sprawling wetland.
The game in the park is recovering well after years of poaching and human presence, with African elephant, Cape buffalo, Masai giraffe and African lion, and a variety of antelope to be seen.
You should encounter Topi, Zebra, Hippo and Crocodiles; Eland, Reedbuck; Sable and Roan antelope are among other mammals present. Leopard, Spotted hyena, Civet and Serval are present, but less frequently observed.
Exciting developments include the reintroduction of Lions - which since 2017 have bred in the park - and of a breeding nucleus of critically endangered Black rhinoceros - these endeavours have been carefully managed by among other entities, African Parks.
The birdlife is phenomenal. Akagera is one of the best places in Africa to view papyrus swamp endemics such as the Papyrus gonalek and White-winged warbler. The monstrous Shoebill is present, too. There are enormous concentrations of waterbirds on the lakes: Pelicans, Marabou storks, Goliath and Purple heron, a variety of egrets and other storks and herons. There is a thriving populatio of African fish eagles. Akagera also contains a good range of savannah birds and raptors.
Akagera cannot boast of high game densities at present, but the compensation is that this is a reserve you can explore for hours without encountering another soul.
You can visit Akagera National Park on a day-trip from Kigali, the drive takes about two hours on a pretty good road, but it is preferable to overnight at one of the camps we have included in our website. Then you have time to explore different habitats, take a boat trip on Lake Ihema and enjoy being off the beaten track.
The guiding is in process of improving. Our travel specialist Craig Kaufman was there most recently and was impressed by the level of progress the park has undergone.
If you are considering whether or not to visit Akagera National Park, we suggest you read about it in the Bradt Travel Guide to Rwanda. The writer is eloquent on both the park's conservation role, and its place in Rwanda's peaceful development.
- Exploring and learning about conservation in Akagera National Park, Rwanda
- Stunning scenery and Golden monkeys at Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Uganda
- Stunning scenery at Lake Mutanda and the Kisozi Crater
- Gorilla tracking in Bwindi
Ruzizi Tented Lodge is a small private lodge tucked away in the riverine forest on the edge of the calm and peaceful Lake Ihema in Akagera National Park. The nine spacious en-suite tents are widely spaced from one another, dotted along the forested lakes’ edge sheltered by large fruiting fig trees and swaying palms. The lodge has been designed to sit gracefully within its natural surroundings, all...
Karenge means ‘small footprint’ in Kinyarwanda. As well as being the name of the area where the camp was first set up, it echoes the aim of the bush camp to leave a light footprint on the earth. Karenge is a sea...
Looking for inspiration?
You'll find expert travel guides, holiday ideas and insider tips now on the Rainbow blog
Why Choose Us?
Passionate travel experts
- We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
- Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
- We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences
Personal & tailor-made
- You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
- We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
- Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love
Responsible by nature
- We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
- For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
- We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours