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Rwanda gorilla trekking tours & safaris, Gorilla tours in Rwanda, Rwanda gorilla safari are one of the most enjoyable and adventurous activities that several travelers from different dimensions of the world engage in thus becoming the leading tourist activity in Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills.
WHERE TO TREK GORILLAS IN RWANDA?
Where to trek gorillas in Rwanda, the gorilla trekking permit, reasons for trekking gorillas in Rwanda, requirements for gorilla trekking safari and where to stay during the Rwanda gorilla trekking safari.
Taking Rwanda National park in a Gorilla trekking tour and safari while on a Rwanda safari is such a fascinating and breathtaking excursion that leaves several travelers especially primate lovers begging for more.
Gorilla trekking destination in Rwanda: Rwanda gorilla trekking tours & safaris / Rwanda gorilla trekking safari are carried out in only one national park known as Volcanoes national park strategically located within Virunga Massif that is shared amongst three national parks including Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in DRC and Mgahinga national park in Uganda.
Volcanoes national park harbors at least 12 habituated mountain gorilla families available for trekking at any given period of time. This implies that at least 96 gorilla trekking permits are issued out on a daily basis to allow a maximum number of 8 persons per habituated gorilla family.
How much is a Rwanda gorilla trekking permit?
The cost of gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda: Rwanda gorilla trekking permit costs $1500 per person allowing trekkers to spend just one hour in presence of endangered mountain gorillas observing their deferent manners while in their natural habitats.
Rwanda offers the most expensive gorilla trekking permit in east Africa as compared to other gorilla trekking destinations where the mountain gorillas are found.
For instance a gorilla trekking permit in Uganda for financial goes for $700 per person allowing travelers to trek gorillas in Mgahinga gorilla national park and Bwindi Impenetrable national park both in south western part of Uganda where gorillas lived with the Batwa in the same forest.
A gorilla trekking permit in DRC is as low as $400 allowing travelers to take part in gorilla trekking with in Virunga National park.
However travelers are got a lot of reason to trek gorillas in Rwanda even when their permits are high.
Reasons for trekking gorillas in Rwanda
Rwanda has become one of the most visited countries when it comes to Rwanda gorilla trekking tours & safaris due to several reasons as included in this article.
- Easy trails:The terrain in volcanoes national park is easy and passable making it easy for gorilla trekkers in Rwanda to penetrate through while searching for mountain gorillas in their natural habitats. This makes Volcanoes national park the best park for gorilla trekking in Rwanda and it’s still the best as compared to trekking similar gorillas in Uganda with in Bwindi impenetrable forest national park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and in Virunga national park in Virunga National park. The trails in volcanoes national park are easy and most of the gorilla families are close to the lodge taking few hours to reach. This has made it easy for different people even those who are less fit are in position to enjoy similar benefits of taking part in trekking mighty gorillas at ease.
- Availability of habituated families:Volcanoes national park in Rwanda is still the best place to engage in gorilla trekking due to the fact that the park has 12 habituated gorilla family available for trekking on a daily basis. These families include; Susa Family, Sabyinyo, Amahoro, Agashya Family, Umubano family, Hirwa family, Kwitonda family, Karisimbi family, Ugenda family, Bwenge family, and Titus Family.
- Easy access: Trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s volcanoes national park enables travelers to enjoy other activities in other countries such Uganda, DRC, Kenya, Tanzania and then connect to Rwanda to enjoy the breath taking and adventurous activity of spending a full hour in presence of mountain gorillas. Also, it is very easy to have a one day gorilla trekking safari is Rwanda which is Impossible with Uganda and DRC. This is because, the distance from Kigali to the volcanoes national park is short as compared to the distance from Goma to Virunga national park, and from Kampala to Bwindi impenetrable national park or Mgahinga national park to engage in Gorilla trekking tours and safaris.
- Security: trekking mountain gorillas in Rwanda is very safe and all travelers on a gorilla trekking safari in Volcanoes national parkare always protected by armed rangers, and even the police patrols around the park at all the time. Rwanda last faced instabilities in 1994 when they experienced a bloody genocide but as of now; it is the safest country one would visit for a fascinating gorilla trekking tour and safari.
Rwanda gorilla trekking tours & safaris/Requirements for gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Like any other gorilla trekking tours and safaris in Africa, there are particular requirements needed by trekkers in order to enjoy the one-hour spent with the mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park in Rwanda the land of a thousand hills.
- A Rwanda gorilla trekking permit: A gorilla trekking permit is an authorized document that is issued out by Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to act as a gate pass to get close to the endangered mountain gorillas. A Rwandan gorilla trekking permit costs $1500per person and it’s valid for one day. The permit is given to a person aged 15 years and above which is the minimum age limit for gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Uganda & DRC. Below 15 years, you will not be allowed to obtain a Rwandan Gorilla trekking permit and take part in Gorilla trekking.
- A backpack:A backpack is also a crucial requirement for almost every traveler on a gorilla trekking safari. A backpack of gorilla trekkers includes Lunch box, enough drinking water, Insect repellant, some snacks and other small items that are needed in trekking gorillas in Rwanda.
- A good gorilla trekking attire:To enjoy gorilla trekking in Rwanda, one needs to obtain the best gorilla trekking attire which include Waterproof hiking boats, long attire both heavy and light attire, a rain jacket, garden gloves, sun glasses, scuff among others that are very comfortable for a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda.
- Hire a porter before setting off to trek gorillas:Porters are very important in gorilla trekking safari as they help in carrying the backpack, and offer a push and pull during the hard trails.
- A hiking stickis always provided at the head office during meeting. A hiking stick helps trekkers to stay firm during slippery trails and slopes.
Gorilla trekking Safari Lodges & accommodations/Where can one stay during the gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda?
Rwanda has the best lodges with the best amenities situated in close vicinity to Volcanoes national park thus travelers on a gorilla trekking tour and safari in Rwanda have a sure deal of staying at some of the best lodges around volcanoes national park home for mountain gorillas and golden, monkeys.
These lodges offer both budget, midrange and luxury facilities depending on the travelers choice of budget and they include; Gorillas Nest Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Virunga Safari Lodge, Le Bambou Gorilla Lodge, Kinigi Guest House, Hotel La Palme, Hotel Muhabura, Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel among others.
Rwanda National Parks
NYUNGWE FOREST NATIONAL PARK
Nyungwe forest national park: Nyungwe forest National park is one of the most beautiful national park in Rwanda the land of a thousand hills with the best scenic view of the montane forest, ranges of mount Rwenzori, and known as the home to 13 species of primate species in Rwanda that is equivalent to the primate species in Kibale forest national park in Uganda.
Nyungwe forest park is situated in southwestern part of Rwanda and is amongst the most visited national parks in the both Rwanda and east Africa at large due to its unique activities and attractions.
Nyungwe forest park covers a landscape estimated at 1,020km2 and was gazette in the year 2004 in order to preserve the endangered chimpanzees and other species that inhabit the tropical forest of the park.
Top 5 tourism activities in Nyungwe national park
Nyungwe forest has a lot of tourism activities that are always included on the travelers Itinerary however; only the most common 5 activities are included within this article;
- Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe national park
Chimpanzee trekking is the most common activity carried out in Nyungwe national park.
This is due to the nature of the Nyungwe forest that provides plenty of food to the endangered chimpanzee species for survival. Nyungwe forest has two large troops of habituated chimpanzee families available for trekking by different primate lovers all year round though the dry months are always the best for travelers to enjoy a fascinating chimpanzee trekking adventure with in cyamudongo forest.
Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe forest park usually starts early in the morning with the briefing before commencing the trek. While trekking the chimpanzees, trekkers are in position to spot other wildlife with in the forest including fauna and flora species such as different species of primates since Nyungwe forest national park is known as the home to 13 species of primates including Chimpanzees, Grey cheeked Mangabey, Silver monkey, Red-tailed monkey, Vervet monkey, Olive baboon, L’Hoest’s monkey, Colobus monkeys, Bush babies among others that are normally seen while on a canopy walk, & chimpanzee trekking. During the chimpanzee trekking, you will also be in position to spot mammals since Nyungwe forest national park is a home to about 70 species of mammals including forest hogs, elephants, and buffaloes among others as will be spotted during the chimpanzee trekking safari. Other species to encounter are the bird species since Nyungwe forest national park is a home to about 300 species of birds including water birds, birds endemic to Albertine rift, forest birds among others.
This implies that Nyungwe forest national park has some best birding grounds.
Some of the bird species encountered in Nyungwe forest national park include; wood peckers, Cuckoo, Handsome franklin, Great blue Turaco, fly catchers, Ruwenzori Turacos, sun birds among others that offer that catching sight to the travelers during chimpanzee trekking.
- Birding in Nyungwe forest park
Bird lovers while on a Rwanda safari yet amongst the best activities enjoy birding.
As mentioned earlier, Nyungwe forest national park is a home to over 300 species of birds making it one of the best birding destination while on a Rwanda safari.
Birders are advised to carry along with them a pair of binoculars and a camera while on a birding safari in Nyungwe forest park in order to watch and take several pictures of different bird species.
The best birding ground in Nyungwe national park include the area around Lake Kivu, the forest such as Cyamudongo & Nyungwe forests, around the tea plantations, near Rwenzori Mountain ranges and many more.
Amongst the bird species seen in Nyungwe national park include Red- Throated Alethe, Dwarf Honeyguide, Rwenzori turaco, Kivu Ground Thrush, fly catcher among others.
- Nature walks and hiking trails in Nyungwe national park
Most of the walks and hiking trails in Nyungwe national park are carried out with in Nyungwe forest which has several and well designated hiking trails that start and lead to different destinations while offering lots of attractions along the way.
Different travelers chose to walk via different trails depending on what they intent to sight along the way and the time they have since these trails range from few minutes to several days. Some of the walks and hiking trails include;
The canopy walk: This is one of the best Hiking trail that allows travelers to walk on a canopy raised at 50m above the ground that is slightly the height of the tree.
While on a canopy walk, visitors / tourists are rewarded with a scenic view of different wildlife with in the forest including elephants, monkeys, chimpanzees, beautiful butterflies, birds and many more. Hikers are also in position to view the entire Nyungwe national park from above and all the attractions within.
This canopy walk is mainly known as the Igishigishi trail that lasts between one and a half hours to two hours. The canopy walk is the most common and enjoyed walk while in Nyungwe national park.
Apart from Igishigishi trail (canopy walk trail), Nyungwe forest has other well designated walking trails including Karamba hiking trail, Imbaraga hiking trail, Irebero hiking trail, Umugote hiking trail, Umugote hiking trail, Uwinka hiking trail, Rukuzi hiking trail Ngabwe hiking trail, Muzimu hiking trail, Kamiranzovu hiking trail, trail , Bigugu hiking trail , Congo – Nile divide hiking trail among others.
All these trail lead to different destinations including Lake Kivu, water falls, wetlands, swamps, camping sites and many more.
- Monkey trekking in Nyungwe national park
Since Nyungwe has several species of primates including monkeys, traveler is able to enjoy a monkey trekking safari with in the montane forest of Nyungwe. A walk in the forest is such a rewarding excursion enabling travelers to encounter several monkeys including grey cheeked Mangabey, Colobus monkey, L’Hoest’s monkey, silver monkeys and many more species of monkeys.
- Accommodation facilities in Nyungwe national park
Nyungwe forest national park like any other park has got different accommodation facilities ranging from Budget for travelers on a budge safari, midrange facilities for average travelers and luxury lodges for luxurious travelers.
Some of these accommodations include; camping sites for budget travelers and Gisakura guest house, Nyungwe top view lodge for average travelers and Nyungwe forest lodge for luxury travelers
Getting to Nyungwe national park
The best way to get to Nyungwe national park by road is by landing at Kigali international airport and then driving on road for about 6-7 hours on the road to Huye and then to Nyungwe forest national park. A drive to Nyungwe forest national park is rewarding and more fun with different stoppages along the way to visit some tourism attractions along the way including some genocide memorial sites.
Rwanda Air offers flights from Kigali international airport to Kamembe then travelers spend one hour of drive to Nyungwe forest national park.
Volcanoes National park Rwanda
Volcanoes National park Rwanda, Volcanoes national park Volcanoes national park – Park National des Volcans is one of the best and most visited national park in Rwanda situated in the North western corner of Rwanda the land of a thousand hills in Kiningi, Ruhengeri present Musanze and it occupies a land scape of 160km2. Volcanoes national park was first gazette in 1925 for tourism purposes. Later on, Rwanda faced a genocide that affected tourism sector and led to closure of the park in 1991 but fortunately when everything finally came back to normal, volcanoes national park was later on re opened in 1999 and up to today it’s the best destination for primate lovers.
Volcanoes national park is also located within Virunga Massif which is shared amongst three national parks and three countries including Volcanoes national park in Rwanda, Virunga national park in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda the pearl of Africa. All the 3 national parks are known for harboring the endangered mountain gorillas available for trekking and alongside volcanic mountains available for hiking safaris which include 5 out 8 volcanic mountains in Virunga massif including Mount Sabinyo, Mount Gahinga, Mount Karisimbi, Mount Bisoke, & Mount Muhabura that are hiked by several hiker all year round.
7 best tourism activities in Volcanoes national park
Volcanoes National Park has plenty of tourism activities enjoyed by several travelers time after time as elaborated in this Article.
Mountain gorilla trekking,Rwanda
Mountain gorilla trekking ,Rwanda is always the major tourism activity that made volcanoes national park famous alongside other activities. Gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park became a frequently done activity after the release of the movie “Gorillas in the Mist” that was achieved by the American primatologist Dian Fossey that dedicated her life to ensure that the endangered mountain gorillas were free from Poaching, hunting and many other park attacks thus helping in an increase in their population. Unfortunately, dian Fossey was later on murdered by poacher on her research center known as Karisoke that derived its name from two beautiful volcanic mountains of Karisimbi and Bisoke.
Therefore a hike to summit dian Fossey grace is also an activity done by several travelers while on a gorilla trekking safari in volcanoes national park.
Habituated mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national park has 12 habituated mountain gorilla families available for trekking at any given period both during low season and high season.
However to be able to trek mountain gorillas, one needs a gorilla trekking permit that costs $1500 per person that is abit high as compared to a Uganda permit at $ 600 and DRC permit at $400 & $200 consecutively during high and low season. Below are 12 habituated mountain gorilla families in volcanoes national park:
- Hirwa gorilla family:Hirwa gorilla family is one of the best and most visited mountain gorilla family due to its unique characters of some family members. However Hirwa gorilla family is found of migrating every now and again within virunga massif with its recent migration in 2019 where it crossed over to Uganda’s Mgahinga gorilla national park in Uganda where it spent some months and finally return back home to volcanoes national park in April 2020.
- Amahoro gorilla family: From the Kinyarwanda word amahoro, which means peace, thus Amahoro gorilla family is known to be the most peaceful gorilla family without any trouble at all. However, to trek this family, trekkers have to really hike up the hill where amahoro gorilla family resides. It’s a tiresome adventure but once you get closer to the family, you will not regret your hike as it’s worth it.
- Sabinyo gorilla family: Sabinyo gorilla family was named after Mount Sabinyo where it was first spotted .the advantage of trekking this particular gorilla family is that it doesn’t require long hike as it’s always seen meandering along the volcanoes park headquarters.
- Susa (A) mountain gorilla family: For trekker who prefer encountering a huge family of gorillas, then Sasa (A) got you covered. It is the largest gorilla family in Volcanoes national park with twins in it. This gorilla family however is usually trekked by adventurous trekkers who prefer longer hikes since it needs endurance as it spends most of its time up on the highest range of the mountain that requires a particular level of fitness to trek it.
- Susa (B)mountain gorilla family: Like Susa A, Susa B is also difficult to trek as it resides up on mount Karisimbi and it was split from Susa A.
- Kwitonda mountain gorilla family:Obtained its name from a Rwandese word kwitonda which means humble thus it is the most humble mountain gorilla family that resides on mount Muhabura. Kwitonda mountain gorilla family migrated from Virunga national park in DRC as up to date it is still being trekked in volcanoes national park. Other mountain gorilla families in volcanoes national park include Bwengye gorilla family, Agashya gorilla family, Umubano gorilla family, Titus, and Ugenda gorilla family all trekked on a daily basis.
Gorilla trekking Guidelines, rules and regulations in Volcanoes national park
Like any other mountain gorilla trekking safaris around Africa, Rwanda Development Board stipulated guidelines, rules and regulations that are used to ensure the safety of both mountain gorillas, and the trekkers while on a gorilla trekking safari in volcanoes national park and they include;
First and foremost, trekkers must book their permits in advance and later on pick them from the park headquarters plier to gorilla trekking day. A gorilla permit can either be bought directly from RDB or via a trusted tour operator at a fee of $1500.
Prepare best hiking attire including waterproof shoes, long sleeved shirts, sunglasses, cap, a rain jacket, a warm sweater etc.
The minimum gorilla trekking age is 15 years thus below 15 years, a person is taken to be a minor and unable to experience the hard trails in search of mountain gorillas.
A maximum number of 8 trekkers is allowed to trek a particular mountain gorilla family per day
A hiking stick is usually provided at the office while on a gorilla trekking briefing
While in the park on trekking day, follow all the gorilla trekking rules and regulations as advised by the ranger, which include;
- Keeping at least 22ft distance between the gorillas and the trekkers for safety purpose
- Avoid littering the park; in case of a long call, there are always bush toilets ensure that the waste is buried under the ground.
- Ensure that the camera’s flashlight is switched off all the day while in the home of mountain gorillas
- Sick people are not allowed to trek gorillas
- An only hour is allowed with the mountain gorillas per day
- The lower your voice is, the more the sightings
- No eating, drinking and smoking while with the mountain gorilla
Other activities carried out in Volcanoes national park
Apart from gorilla trekking, volcanoes national park has other different activities that make it the best national park to visit while on Rwanda safari.
Golden monkey trekking safari in Volcanoes national park
Being a home to primates, Volcanoes national park is the only destination where golden monkey trekking safari is conducted in Rwanda.
Like gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking also starts in the morning with a briefing.
Golden monkey trekking is such a fascinating safaris in the way that for this case, travelers’ are allowed to take photographs with the flash light on.
Since volcanoes national park has only two trooped of habituated golden monkeys, only two groups of trekkers are allowed to trek them on a daily basis at a cost of $100.
This safari lasts between 2-6 hours depending on the movement of the golden monkeys and the fitness of the trekkers. However, only one hour of close contact is allowed with these beautiful primates.
Birding in volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national park is one of the best national park where both primate lovers and birders can have maximum satisfaction.
All you require for a birding safari in volcanoes national park is a pair of binoculars and alongside the local birding guide travelers are in position to visit the best birding grounds to spot several species of birds including those endemic to Albertine rift, water birds among others since the park is a home to over 200 species of birds such as Rwenzori Batis, Rwenzori turaco, handsome francolin, dusky crimson wing, red-faced warbler etc.
Volcanic Mountain hiking safaris in Volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national park is a home to 5 volcanic mountains however only two mountains (Karisimbi & Bisoke) are hiked from Rwanda side, the remaining 3 (Sabinyo, Muhavura & Gahinga) are best hiked from Ugandan side with in Mgahinga gorilla national park each with different sightings and attractions along the way and the summit. Below are the two volcanic mountains that are hiked via Rwanda side in volcanoes national park while on a Rwanda safari;
Mount Karisimbi hiking safari:
For instance a hike to summit the top of Mount Karisimbi at 4507m above the sea level enables hikes to sight out primates such as Gorilla Mountains, different mammals at the base of the mountain and lots of bird species. Mount Karisimbi is situated between Rwanda & DRC border shared with volcanoes national park and Virunga national park.
Mount Bisoke hiking safari:
Most hikers with limited time on their safari normally hike mount Bisoke, which takes about half a day to summit the Crater Lake and return.
All these hiking activities start early in the morning with briefing before embarking on the volcano-hiking safari.
Hiking Dian Fossey grave in volcanoes national park
A hike to summit the grave of Dian Fossey is such a rewarding expedition that allows hikers to learn more about the life of Dian Fossey who was murdered in 1985, her works and many more.
Dian Fossey’s grave is situated at Karisoke research center overlooking mount Karisimbi and Bisoke.
A hike to this tomb also enables hiker to view the grave of the most loved gorilla called digit that was buried close to Dian Fossey since they were best friend.
Nature walks in volcanoes national park
Volcanoes national park has some well-defined walking trails that lead to different destinations including the walk to visit the twin lakes of Burela and Ruhondo, a walk to visit Musanze caves among others.
Visit to Ibyiwacu cultural village is one of the most interesting activities enjoyed by travelers who are interested in learning about the Rwandese culture. Ibyiwacu cultural village is best known for the breath taking cultural traditional dance and drama.
The cultural center was put in place with an aim of encouraging poacher and sensitizing them about the importance of gorilla conservation.
Genocide memorial sites
Most travelers on Rwanda safari, after completion of the above activities such as trekking mountain gorillas, golden monkey trekking, hiking the volcanic mountains, and visiting Ibyiwacu, they normally close their safari with a visit to the genocide memorial sites where thousands of Rwandese were murdered in cold blood during the 1994 genocide that lasted about 100 years. However, this is usually included in a city tour.
Where to stay while on a safari to volcanoes national park – Rwanda/ Safari lodges & Accommodation facilities in Volcanoes national park.
Worried about where to stay while on your Rwanda safari to the park of mountain gorillas, Volcanoes national park?
Relax as Volcanoes national park has a wide range of accommodation facilities with different amenities such as swimming pool, SPA massage, Internet, and many more depending on the travelers’ choice.
These Accommodations in Volcanoes national park range between Budget, Midrange an Luxury accommodations such as Hotel Muhabura, Kiningi guest house, La Palme, Villa Gorilla, Garr Hotel, Gorilla volcanoes, Le Bambou Gorilla lodge, Da Vinci gorilla lodge, Garden place hotel, Best view hotel, Bisate lodge, Mountain Gorilla view lodge, Five Volcanoes Boutique hotel, Sabinyo silverback lodge, Mountain gorilla nest lodge among others. Some of these lodges are located in the park while others are located in nearby cities.
- Getting there
The distance from Kigali the capital city of Rwanda to volcanoes national park is about 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours road drive while a drive from the Rwanda Uganda boarder via Cyanika border it takes about 45 minutes’ drive.
Security of Volcanoes national park/ is it safe to visit volcanoes national park?
The answer is yes. It is very safe to visit volcanoes national park. However much Rwanda received some instability especially in 1990s that led to closure of the parks, since the end of genocide in 1994, Rwanda has not recorded any other form of instability thus the best and safe destination to visit.
Akagera National Park, Rwanda
Akagera National Park Wildlife, Akagera National Park is one of the top national parks in Rwanda and is the only savannah national park in the country that harbors the big 5.
Situated in the Eastern part of Rwanda is Akagera National Park one of the most beautiful and scenic national park in East Africa.
The Akagera National Park is strategically situated in border with a neighboring country Tanzania and it obtained its name from river Akagera that traverses through the park from the east to Lake Victoria and Lake Ihema.
The Akagera National Park was the first gazette in 1934 under the government of Belgian and later on due political disputes that arise in Rwanda the park was dismantled until the nation stabilized and the park was again re gazette attracting several tourists from different corners of the world to engage in different park activities.
Recently, the Akagera National Park is considered the best destination to be visited by the nature lovers on an African safari due to the fact that the park has the best vegetation cover filled with savanna grassland, water bodies such as lakes and rivers, lots of wildlife species including primates such as olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, different mammals, birds, butterflies among others.
Top attractions in Akagera national park
Attractions in Akagera national park are the things that attract travelers to visit the park. Akagera National park is best known for harboring a lot of tourist attractions in its vegetation cover of savanna filled with blush, water bodies, and wildlife that call the park their home as explained below;
Akagera National Park Wildlife:
the beautiful vegetation cover of Akagera national park with thick blush and green savanna grassland, papyrus plants, swamps, among others is best known for harboring several wildlife species including;
Primate species such as Olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, red tailed monkeys among others
Mammal species such as Elephants including Mutware elephant the oldest elephant in the Akagera National Park, king of the jungle, Giraffes, Impalas, rhinos, Sitatunga, leopards, Topis, duikers, Hyenas, among others. In fact Akagera national park is home to all the big 5 games.
The Akagera National Park is also known for harboring several species of birds including water birds such as the rare shoebill stork.
In fact, the park is the place to find water birds in East Africa. Other bird species include species endemic to Albertine rift, Raptor birds and the forest birds among others.
Top 5 things to do in Akagera National park
Akagera national park is a small park but beautiful with lots of tourist activities to taking place and these top 5 things to do include Game drives, boat cruise, birding, cultural tours and sport fishing among others.
Game Drives Akagera National Park
Game drive is the most common and one of the top 5 things to do in the park. Akagera national park offers both day game drives and Nocturnal game drives both offering different wildlife sightings. Opting for a morning game drive is one of the most fascinating and adventurous activity where travelers spend about 5-6 hours driving amidst wildlife while sighting out most of the wildlife species including primates such as Red monkeys, Vervet monkeys, Sitatunga, Olive baboon, mammal species including Big5 such as Elephants in fact during the morning game you will encounter with the oldest elephant known as Mutware who is 50 years of age and usually encountered almost on every game drive.
You will also encounter other mammals including buffalos, Lions, giraffes, waterbuck, oribi, reedbucks, Topis, eland, antelopes, Zebras, Duikers, elands, Rhinos, bird species, beautiful butterflies among others.
However there is also a night game drive opens the closed door to the Nocturnal primates and mammals that are always seen during the night with the aid of sport light. Some of the nocturnal mammals and primates sighted in the park include; Serval cats, Hyenas, Civets, bush babies, warthogs, Bush pigs, Leopards, and other carnivores including lions.
Boat cruise in Akagera national park
Boat cruise is yet another fascinating activity that can never miss out on the top 5 things to do in Akagera national park. Boat cruise safaris in the park are carried out on Lake Ihema one of the best lakes in Rwanda. Boat cruise on Lake Ihema takes about 2 hours and you will be cruising on top of the lake enjoying the cool breath while sighting out different wildlife species including schools of Hippos and crocodiles, as they bath in the lake.
Keep the eyes to the shores of Lake Ihema for possibilities of sighting out different mammals on the shore such as buffalos, elephants, and antelopes among others as they drink water. You will also spot different water birds such as crowned cranes, kingfishers, marabou storks, rare shoebill storks, and African fish eagles, among others.
Birding in Akagera National Park
Birding has always been the top thing to do by the birders while on a Rwanda safari. Akagera national park is one of the birder’s paradise in Rwanda harboring over 500 bird species including water birds which are usually seen during the boat ride along Lake Ihema, raptor bird species, endemic species, among others.
The most common species of birds seen in the park include the Little Bee-eater Goliath Heron, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Helmeted Guinea fowl, African Fish Eagle, African Jacana, White-browed Coucal, Fork-tailed Drongo, African Grey Hornbill, Long-crested Eagle, Saddle-billed Stork, Lilac-breasted Roller, Black-headed Weaver, African Darter, African Wattled Lapwing, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Squacco Heron, Crowned Lapwing, Eastern Grey Plantain-eater, Grey-backed Fiscal, Hamerkop, Lappet-faced Vulture, Cattle Egret, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Long-tailed Cormorant, Marabou Stork, Pin-tailed Whydah, White-backed Vulture, Grey-crowned Crane, Spur-winged Goose and many more. All that a birder requires is a pair of binoculars, sunscreen, a hat, gloves, and good attires of long sleeved shirts and pant and off to the forest to watch birders.
The best sports for birding in the park is near Lake Ihema, and river kagera thus birding is easily combined with a wildlife safari where birds are seen alongside other wildlife during the game drives and nature walks. Another best way to watch birds in Akagera national park is by taking a boat cruise safari on Lake Ihema.
Sport fishing in Akagera National Park
In Akagera national park, sport fishing is carried out on the shores of Lake Shakani, which is designated to offer sport fishing on a basis of catch and release. However, at the end of the day, travelers are allowed to take home at least a fish for enjoyment. Lake Shakani is situated in the far north east of the park and is the best place for sport fishing in the park. During sport fishing, travelers are in position to spot schools of bathing Hippos, crocodiles, and other mammals that flock the shore for water. Adding sport fishing on the list of top 5 things to do in Akagera national park while on a Rwandan gorilla tour is such a rewarding and adventurous experience as one is allowed to spend a day catching and releasing fish with one catch spared for eating.
Other than sport fishing, travelers are in position to camp at Muyumbu with a spectacular view of different lakes in the neighboring country, Tanzania.
Cultural tours in Akagera National Park,Rwanda
Cultural tours in the places close to the park are one of the top things to do while on a Rwanda wildlife safari.
This cultural tour enables travelers to visit the nearby places around the park encountering the local Rwandese cattle keepers and learn different practices such as milking, grazing, milk preservation, local ways of extracting ghee from milk.
- Getting there
There are different routes connecting to Akagera national park. From Kigali to the park, it takes roughly 3 hours’ drive in a 4×4 safari van.
From Rwamagana, its roughly 1-hour drive to Akagera national park.
There are both private and public transport means. Buses always take travelers on a daily basis from Kigali via Kayonza to kibungo and then take either a bike or a private car to the park.