The only Big Five park in Rwanda, Akagera National Park combines protected wetland and croc-filled lakes with leafy woodland and sprawling savannah, offering sensational wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as stunning scenery. Head out on a game drive with a local tracker, spotting everything from lions to elephants to giraffe, with the park’s focus on conservation and protection evident in the ever-increasing numbers. Glide across a vast lake by boat as you pass crocodiles and hippopotamus, or spot some of the 500 bird species that call Akagera National Park home.
As of May 2017, Akagera became a ‘Big Five’ park and is the only one in Rwanda to house lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo – making for wonderful game drives. In addition to these famed species, a trip to Akagera offers the opportunity to spot giraffe, zebra, warthogs, olive baboons, veret monkeys, jackal, mongoose and more. Join an expert tracker as you head out on a safari vehicle in search of these amazing animals, learning more about their conservation.
Fed by the mighty Akagera River, Lake Ihema is the largest lake in the park, covering an area of around 90km². As well as several fish species within the water and birds in the forest that fringes it, Lake Ihema is home to hippopotamus and crocodiles. Glide across the lake by boat, spotting these spectacular creatures as they wallow in the deep waters.
A Bird Lover's Paradise
The birdlife in Akegera National Park is spectacularly abundant and diverse, with over 500 species recorded around the savannas, woodland and waters. Several of these species are endemic to the park or extremely rare - such as the sought-after shoebill, papyrus gonolek, red-faced barbet and swap flycatcher.
Akagera’s conservation story is an inspiring one. During the Genocide of 1994, much of the park’s land was reallocated as farmland, reducing the size by almost half and increasing poaching levels and human encroachment. Since rigorous laws were put into place in 2010, poaching has been reduced and the wildlife has prospered. Several species – such as lion and black rhino – were introduced as recently as 2015, making Akagera a true ‘Big Five’ destination. Rangers conduct monthly road counts in order to gain a clearer understanding of animal behaviour and distribution, with the aim of conserving them for years to come.
In order to help with conservation, entry fees for the park are USD $35 per person, per day for international visitors. There is a charge of USD $7.50 per car. Children under the age of 12 are given a discounted price for entry fees and children under the age of 5 are admitted in free.
Akagera’s temperature does not vary much throughout the year, usually ranging between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. The dry season falls between Decemember and February and again between June and September. These periods are generally the warmest and, though some rain can fall, the dryness makes grass short - great for spotting game. Outside of these months, the wet season occurs, characterised by regular rainfall and lush greenery. The short wet season - between October and November - is particuarly good for birding, when many migratory species are passing through Akagera.
British Airways direct from London Heathrow to Entebbe and Nairobi. Onward connecting flights with Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Rwandair Express and Air Uganda from Entebbe to Kigali. Kenya Airways and Rwandair Express from Nairobi to Kigali. There are other routes available to Kigali - just ask your Luxury Travel Specialist.
From London Heathrow to Entebbe and Nairobi: 8 hours, 25 minutes.
Onward connecting flights from Nairobi and Entebbe to Kigali: 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Akagera National Park can be reached in around 2.5 hours by road from Kigali. Helicopter transfers can also be arranged – just ask your Luxury Travel Specialist for more details.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.