Akagera National Park lies in the drier parts of eastern Rwanda, which is very good “classic” safari country. A large variety of game can be seen here in the open grasslands dotted with marshes, lakes and rivers. Zebra, gazelle, hippo, warthog, buffalo and an amazing variety of bird life are just a few of the attractions here.
It is named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. The forest fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands combine to make Akagera amongst the most scenic of reserves anywhere in Africa. It has exceptional levels of biodiversity and forms the largest protected wetland in central Africa.
Akagera combines well with Nyungwe and the Volcanoes NP to offer a great Rwanda safari element as it is home to many large plains game species as well as species restricted to the papyrus swamps such as the Sitatunga and the sought-after Shoebill Stork. Notable plains game include elephant, buffalo, topi, zebra, waterbuck, roan antelope and eland. Other antelope are duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck and impala. Of the primates, olive baboons, vervets and the secretive blue monkey are seen during the day, with bush babies often seen on night drives.
The park also boasts of the larger predators, leopard, hyena, side-striped jackal and lion, which was re-introduced last year are present. Plans are underway for the reintroduction of the black rhino too, and this will restore Akagera’s ‘Big 5’ status
Due to its wide variety of habitats, Akagera is an important ornithological site with nearly 500 bird species. The rare and elusive shoebill shares the papyrus with other rarities such as the exquisite papyrus gonolek and countless other water birds that inhabit the wetlands in large numbers.
Game drives can be done at all times of the day in Akagera National Park and it is up to you to choose either to do half day, full day or night game drives. Park guides are available to accompany you and your safari guide on your drive. The guides can direct you to areas where wildlife is most abundant and guide you to stunning scenic spots that you may otherwise miss.
There is a two-tier guiding system in the park with 10 park-employed guides and 15 community freelance guides. As a park visitor, and subject to availability, you may choose to take a park-employed guide who has guiding experience ranging from 2 to 12 years in Akagera National Park, and has undertaken training in content, interpretive guiding and first aid in the past 2 years. Or, you can choose one of the Community Freelance Guides, who are enthusiastic, fast learners. They have completed an in-house training and assessment programme. Both guides are dedicated to providing an authentic experience and support the success of the park. By choosing a freelance guide you are strengthening the relationship between the park and the local community, by stimulating economic development and allowing communities members living alongside the park to benefit from the tourism growth in Akagera.
If you are looking for a variation on the usual safari experience, a boat trip on Lake Ihema will not disappoint. Drift along the forest-fringed lake edge, past huddles of hippo and basking crocodiles. For the serious birder a boat trip is a must. Trips are scheduled 4 times per day at 7.30am, 9am, 3.30pm and 5pm. Non-scheduled, private, trips can also be arranged at other times.
There is also sport fishing on Lake Shakani in the park; spend a relaxing day fishing off the lake shore and then cook your catch over an open fire at the campsite.
Birding safaris are popular amongst regular visitors and the immense variety and abundance of species will not fail to impress. From the vast concentrations of waterfowl to the myriad of savanna species, there is never a dull moment, with more than 500 species recorded in Akagera. Serious birders can seek out several endemic species as well as rare gems such as the near threatened papyrus gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri), which is restricted to papyrus swamps, the localized red-faced barbet (Lybius bidentatus) and the sought after swamp flycatcher (Muscicapa boehmi).
Accommodation in Akagera National Park.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge
This small private luxury tented camp (Ruzizi Tented Lodge) has 7 en-suite tents patched on the forest shores of Lake Ihema each well protected by large palms and trees. These tents were placed on either side of the grass-thatched main structure that houses the reception area, the lounge, dining area and bar. There are walk-ways with wooden boards that connect each of the tents to the reception area. Powered using solar energy the camp has electricity and hot running water.
About The Lodge
Ruzizi Tented Lodge construction was started in January 2012 and completed for opening in November 2012. This tented lodge is the first of its kind in Rwanda, although a well proven concept elsewhere in Africa. Built on the shores on the forested shores Lake Ihema Ruzizi tented lodge is one of its kind in Rwanda, although the concept is proven elsewhere in Africa.
With only 7 tents, a maximum of 14 guests, the camp is a quiet an intimate retreat. Each tent has its own en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, a dressing area and either comfortable queen or ¾ twin beds, with a private patio at the front. A thatched central lounge/dining area is accessible by boardwalks from each tent. And a large deck under a shaded fig tree overlooks Lake Ihema, with a fireplace for cooler evenings.
Entirely powered by solar, the lodge prides itself on being environmentally aware.
Meals offered at Ruzizi tented Lodge
Ruzizi Tented Lodge Breakfast at Ruzizi Tented lodge is served starting from 5.30 in the morning on-wards within the dining room. The staff at the lodge will ask you the previous night the time you wish to have your breakfast. It comprises of coffee, tea, local fruits, fresh juice, home-baked bread, and eggs prepared on order
Ruzizi Tented lodge offers a simple lunch menu on a daily basis. Also packed lunch can be organized at the Lodge, however a request has to be put in a night before.
Normally from 6-7pm, most guests gather in the lounge to enjoy some pre-dinner snacks and some drinks. At 7.30pm they serve dinner. Dinner is normally a set menu, which differs on a daily basis that is prepared by the lodge chef. Some common Examples include a variety of potpie dishes, braai with a different meats plus salads, different tasty pizzas, and lastly followed by the desert prepared for the day. In case of any food allergies, please inform the staff on your arrival to enable them prepare for you adequately.
Ruzizi Tented Lodge of Akagera National Park welcomes Children. However, the children should always be escorted by adults throughout their stay. Basing on the design and location of this lodge, we recommend that you never leave your children unattended to.
This Ruzizi Tented Lodge policy applies to all age groups of children (0 – 12) years old for those 13 years and above is considered an adult and are charged adult rates.
Children below 5 are accommodated at no Extra costs. The lodge does not have baby cots as a result infants share with adults at no extra costs. Meals fees apply for children under 5. Whereas children rates apply for those between the age of 6 and 12.
Pupils above the age of 13 are accommodated at adult rate; costs on drinks and food apply, and the children are accommodated in their own private tent
Power and Water
Ruzizi tented lodge entirely runs on a solar system. The lodge’s lights, fridges plus kitchen equipment, as well as water heating provisions are all powered by solar. Also when charging your electrical gadgets, they are plugged into solar power. Their system was tailor designed to run independently for 3 days of full occupancy without recharge. Much as you enjoy your stay at this lodge and even charge your electrical gadgets, it is especially relevant that you take heed to the way you use the power by not leaving on the lights you are not using or even leaving any fully charged gadgets plugged in the power points.
Water is heated by the solar hot-water system and each guest is allocated 40 liters of hot water each day. This is assumed to be enough and also as a way of conserving water hence recommended for guests not to be extravagant when using water. Pumped from a borehole using solar energy, water used at Ruzizi Tented Lodge has been tasted ad thus safe for consumption. Despite how safe this water is, it is advisable to drink only bottled water that is provided in the rooms.
In order to conserve water and energy, it’s the lodge’s policy to change bed linen every two days and fresh towels are always provided on request by the guest. The lodge offers laundry services of a daily basis, and most noteworthy, laundry require a minimum of 24hrs to be completed. Therefore it is advisable to order your laundry 24hrs before.
Planning a luxurious safari in Rwanda especially in Akagera National Park, well this is the perfect place to stay as it gives you the feeling of living in the wilderness. For more information about Rwanda safaris in akagera contact us akagerarwandanationalpark.com
Karenge Bush Camp
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 seasonal camp, set up bi-annually for 3 months at a time, and when it is taken down there should be no lasting presence of its existence. No cement or permanent construction materials are used in the set-up of Karenge Bush Camp. The camp offer six tents, with a maximum of 12 guests. Beds are camp beds with mattresses and bedding. Camp chairs, reed mat floors and solar lights are provided in each tent. The bathrooms are bucket showers and toilets and a canvas basin. Warm water is provided daily.
Akagera Game Lodge
Akagera Game Lodge is located in Eastern Province; about 2hours’ drive from Kigali. Akagera Game Lodge is within the boundaries of Akagera National Park its south entrance. Akagera Game Lodge has an attractive setting on a ridge overlooking Lake Ihema. The surrounding area has a wealth of big game and other wildlife on the open savannah, protected wood land, deep valley and Lakes.
Recognized as a superior venue, Akagera Game Lodge offers a superbly relaxed atmosphere, ideal for a successful conference, retreat, a tranquil gateway or an undisturbed encounter with nature.