Many tourists that undertake safaris in Rwanda usually interested in Rwanda gorilla tours and chimpanzee trekking safaris Rwanda. This is because many of them are not aware that Rwanda is one of the few Africa safari destinations where you can see the big five. The big five game in Rwanda can be seen on your Rwanda wildlife safari to Akagera National Park. Founded in 1934 as a wildlife conservation park, and named after the Akagera River which flows along its eastern boundary, Akagera National Park covers an area of 1,122 km² situated in eastern Rwanda close to the border with Tanzania. The Akagera river feeds in to Lake Ihema which is Rwanda’s largest lake and the complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps make up over a third of the park, making it the largest protected wetland in Eastern-Central Africa.

Attractions in Akagera National Park

Wildlife in Akagera National Park

This beautiful varied landscape shelters several wildlife species including the big five animals which are Buffaloes, Rhinos, Elephants, Lions and leopards. Other wildlife species include zebras, giraffes, elands, topis, Maasai giraffes, monkeys, civets, hyenas and several cats. Some of these species had been extinct but later re-introduced to the park for a great Rwanda wildlife tour experience. Many of these animals that were introduced to the park  have multiplied and now the park has big numbers of wildlife that attract travelers to come for safaris in Rwanda. This effort was described by African Parks as “a ground-breaking conservation effort for both the park and the country” as part of a project aimed at reversing the local extinction of the species in Akagera National Park. The re-introduction process left the park as a big five wildlife safari destination and a sought-after destination for Rwanda tours with about 13, 500 mammal species.

In the southern part of Akagera National Park, the vast Lake Ihema is home to hippos and crocodiles.

The best way of exploring the park is by undertaking a game drive within the park as you traverse the beauty within the park in an open 4×4 safari vehicle alongside a knowledgeable safari driver guide. You can choose to go for a morning, full day or night game drive.

Birds in Akagera National Park

This well hydrated park isn’t only home to wildlife but also one of the best Rwanda birding safari destinations. The park is host to hundreds of bird species including savannah birds and the rare shoebill stork. It has about 520 bird species ranging from water to forest and savannah species as well as migratory bird species.

With the water bodies in the Park you can go for a fishing experience in which you catch your fish and get to keep it and in case you feel like cooking it, you might start a fire and get it ready to be roasted in time for lunch.

A side from game drives, boat safaris or cruises on the popular Lake Ihema is one of the main highlights of any visit to the park. Lake Ihema has got one of the largest concentrations of hippos in East Africa and it’s also a sight to behold and there are also many crocodiles that you will find along the shores of the lake. There are also many water birds that can be seen on a boat cruise on Lake Ihema. Here you can also sight several wildlife species quenching their thirst.

Where else to go for safari in Africa?
On an African safari, you may wonder where else to go for safari. Within Rwanda Nyungwe Forest national Park is a perfect destination or even take a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda to Volcanoes National Park. Outside Rwanda you can also continue for a Congo gorilla safari in the proximate Virunga National Park or opt for a gorilla trekking safari in Uganda to either Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.