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Akagera National Park Activities – Rwanda Best Things to Do on Safari

What to do in Akagera National Park

There several activities to in Akagera National Park. The top things to do in Akagera National Park include;

  1. Game drives (day and night)
  2. Lake Ihema Boat Trips
  3. Bird watching
  4. Behind-the-Scenes Tour
  5. Walk The Line Tour
  6. Fishing trips
  7. Cultural visits

All the activities in Akagera National Park are conducted after paying a park entrance fee.

Akagera National Park entry fees include;

Adults ( from 13 year)

  • US$55−International visitors
  • US$35−Rwandan/EAC/DRC Resident
  • US$10−Rwandan/EAC/DRC Citizen

Children (6-12 year)

  • US$30−International visitors
  • US$20−Rwandan/EAC/DRC Resident
  • US$5−Rwandan/EAC/DRC Citizen

Children 5 and under are free of charge, no entry fee or activities fees apply.

Residency status must be verified with documentation, or international visitor fees will be charged.

The Entry fee inclusive of a self-drive game viewing is payable by all day visitors, or per night for overnight visitors staying inside the park. E.g. for 1 night in the park (and the 2 days either side) the fee is payable once, for 2 nights it is payable twice.

Entry fees are capped at 3 nights, so visitors staying longer than 3 nights will only be required to pay the entry fee for 3 nights up to a maximum of one week.

Visitors staying outside the park are considered ‘day visitors’ and will be required to pay the entry fee for each day they enter the park

  1. Game drives in Akagera National Park

Safari game drives are the main tourist activity in Akagera National Park that should not be missed by an traveler planning his/her travel to Rwanda.

Both day and night games are done Akagera where visitors have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife. Games drives in the Akagera National Park are best done in a 4×4 safari jeep.

The wildlife in Akagera National Park have increased over time and the recent population census estimated that the National Park is now a home to over 8000 large mammals.

Lions, rhinos have been recently introduced into the park. There are over 120 elephants and 3000 buffaloes. Lions are remarkably relaxed, but sightings are hit-and-miss.

The harbors a variety of plains animals, including Burchell’s zebras and Masai giraffes. Akagera host 11 antelope species and the most commonly seen within the park are the gracious impalas, but of particular interest are the big herds of topi.

Defassa waterbucks are commonly seen near the lakes and bushbuck is a widespread resident in the woodland areas.

The shy sitatunga antelopes are known to inhabit the swamps. All these can be see on a game drive on a Guided day game drives.

Day game drives operated by Akagera Management Company (AMC) cost;

  • Half day game drive (5hrs) cost US$180
  • Full day game drive  cost US$280

Game drives operated by AMC include the vehicle, driver and a guide.

Pick-up and drop-off locations are within the south of the park only.

Half day drives are from 6.30am – 11.30am in the morning and 12 – 5pm in the afternoon.

Full day drives are from 6.30am – 5pm.

Self-drive game drive fees ( including Park and Community Freelance guide)

  • Per guide /half day cost US$25
  • Per guide / full day cost US$40

The most exciting drives are from the south of the park to the north in a day and these offers great opportunities to view a variety of animals as well as the most spectacular views from the top of the mountain across lake Ihema towards Tanzania.

Night Game Drives in Akagera National Park

When dusk comes all the daylight wildlife heads off to bed somewhere and a whole new cast of seldom seen creatures emerge from the gloom.

Akagera National Park night game drives gives visitors on Rwanda wildlife safaris a chance to see some of these rare creatures including leopards and hyenas.

Night game drives (2.5 hours  operated by Akagera Management Company (AMC) cost;
  • US$40 adults
  • US$ 35 children

The fees are per person and excludes park entry fees

Night drives begin at 5.30pm and end around 8 – 8.30pm.

You will be picked up and dropped off at your accommodation facility within the park.

Only available in the south of the park.

  1. Lake Ihema Boat Trips in Akagera National Park

A boat cruise is  the nicest way to explore the secrets of Akagera National Park while on your Rwanda tours. The park authorities can organize a boat trip on Lake Ihema to see the hippo pods and some of the huge Nile crocodiles that inhabit the lake.

For bird watching enthusiasts, a boat cruise in Akagera National Park is a must. It offers a great opportunity to view the park’s abundant water birds, including swamp flycatchers, African fishing eagles, African darters and breeding colonies of noisy and smelly cormorants and open-bill storks.

Reservation should be made through the park office at least an hour or so in advance.

The park offers scheduled morning/day boat trip (depart at 7:30 am, and 9 am), scheduled sunset trip (depart at 4:30 pm), and private non scheduled boat trip.

One-hour tours cost for the scheduled morning boat trip is US$35 per person, scheduled sunset trip cost US$45 for 1 hour and private non-scheduled boat trip cost US$ 180 per person.

The boat carries a maximum of 11 people.

3.Bird watching in Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park offers an exceptional birding experience with almost 480 bird species documented  including several endemics, more than 40 different kinds of raptors and, in wetland areas, the much sought after shoebill.

Akagera is the best destination for bird watching safaris in Rwanda after Nyungwe National Park.

The park contains a variety of  lakes and swamps that host numerous birds such as the African fish eagles, kingfishers, herons, ibises, storks, egrets, crakes, rails, cormorants, darts, pelicans, barbets, shrikes, orioles and weavers.

Birding can be done on a game drive, via a boat trip (on Lake NIhema). Birding guides can be arranged at the park’s office.

  1. Behind-the-Scenes Tour in Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park Behind-the-Scenes Tour is one of the most innovative and exciting Rwanda safari activities. While undertaking this activity, visitors will meet and talk to rangers, antipoaching patrols and community-projects managers.

It is a delightful insight into the often very political world of modern wildlife conservation in East Africa and the day-to-day running of a protected area.

It is arranged through the park office and you need to give at least a day or so notice. The tour lasts about 90 minutes.

This tour cost US$25 per person and requires a minimum of 4 visitors.

A group of 8 to 12 people can pay a group rate of US$180.

  1. Walk The Line Tour in Akagera National Park

The 120km-long boundary fence of the park is patrolled a team of Ranger daily. Visitors on Rwanda wildlife safaris in Akagera also have have the chance to walk in their shoes for 7km.

Guided by a freelance guide from a nearby village, the walk begins at the park entrance, lasts approximately 2 hours depending on your pace and costs US$30 (minimum three people).

The walk is moderate to difficult. It begins from Akagera National Park gate, you then gently slope, meeting lots of  colorful birds and cattle herd’s men and farmers a long the way ready for the day’s activities.

The fence goes continues up to the top of a hill along the ridge which offers fantastic views of the park.

  1. Fishing trips in Akagera national park

For a traveler on a Rwanda vacation, Akagera National Park offers an opportunity to participate in fishing activities for the whole day. Fishing in Akagera  cost only  $25  if you have your own gears.

This activities is carried from the shores of Lake Shakani, one of the several lakes found in the park.  The hippos always remain in the water through the day and the banks of the shores are  gently sloping, thus you can see any crocodiles that is approaching before it consume you.

This means that there is nothing to worry about as you are fishing. Visitors can catch fish like tilapia, cat fish and others.

Fishing in Akagera National Park also offers the traveler on a Rwanda tour an opportunity to learn about the various methods of fishing that are used in Rwanda such as gill net method, cast net method, scoop net method, spearing and shoot arrow method, lampara, and hooking method.

While fishing, the visitors can enjoy a cold drink, listen to folk songs and tales or stories that are told by local fishermen.

Also, the good news about fishing in Akagera is that you get to keep what you fish and in case you feel like cooking it, you might start a fire and get it ready to be roasted at lunch time.

  1. Cultural visits at Akagera National Park

Working with local communities and Akagera staff, the Community Freelance Guides have developed several cultural experiences to share with visitors on Rwanda safari tours.

During your Rwanda cultural tours at Akagera, you will learn about how to  milk cows and traditions around cattle and milk on a farm in the Eastern Province; or spend time with banana beer and honey artisans  and see see how local products are made.

All revenues generated by these visits are shared with members of the communities you visit. Each of these safaris give a glance into the life in communities around the park.

You can help in preparing a local meal, engaging in a traditional Rwandan dance. Each of the cultural tours will take you only three hours and will cost only US$30 per person with a minimum of three people.

The income from these activities and is shared with the participating community members and it gives additional revenue, directly through tourism to the families living along the boundary of the park, showing the benefits of tourism and thus creating long term support for the conservation of Akagera National Park.

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