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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Rwanda

Boats, balloons, birds and the Big Five at Akagera National Park

This was an ecosystem about to disappear, and it is now one of thriving biodiversity…

By Ian Munyankindi
Tourism and Hospitality Manager at Akagera National Park

Akagera is a great story of revival. It was an ecosystem about to disappear until African Parks took over the park management in 2010 in partnership with the government of Rwanda and local communities, and it is now one of thriving biodiversity, including the Big Five. It has beautiful and unique scenery, including central Africa’s largest protected wetlands, which can be explored by boat. The birdlife is excellent, and even the shoebill is returning.

Game drives are best in the early morning or late afternoon into the evening; however, in our plains areas wildlife is fairly visible throughout the day. We have good numbers of zebra, buffalo, topi and impala. Two large herds of elephant roam in the north and south of the park, and are often encountered by guests. Lions tend to be more active outside of the heat of the day, so the ideal chance for viewing them is early morning or evening. 

We also have night game drives, which is the best time to catch sight of one or more of our numerous leopards. Recently, I had the incredible luck to see five leopards altogether while driving along the lakeshore road near Pecherie –  I don’t know that many people have ever seen so many leopards together. I thought perhaps it was a female with two of her cubs of different ages, and then perhaps two males looking for a mate. 

For something different, there are regular boat trips on Lake Ihema. Being on the water is fun and relaxing and offers great viewing opportunities for Akagera’s waterbirds, as well as hippo and crocodile, of which the park has many. We also have hot-air balloon flights, which last up to 60 minutes and operate in the south of the park; as with the boat rides, they give a different way of seeing the park, with high-level views over Akagera’s beautiful landscape. 

Our behind-the-scenes visit at the park headquarters helps guests appreciate the incredible story of Akagera – where we have come from, where we are going, and how. Guests can learn about the effective use of sophisticated technology alongside manpower for law enforcement and the equally important community engagement work we have done over the years to ensure economic and social benefits are provided by the park. Everyone also enjoys a demonstration of the K9 unit, another important component of the law enforcement team.

Walk the Line is a walk along the fence line ‘in the shoes’ of one of our fence attendants. The activity demonstrates the interaction between conservation and community, quite literally, as you see the people and park living alongside each other.

Categories

  • Places to go
  • Scenery
  • Wildlife

Available in these itineraries…

Alfred & Ian Munyankindi

Rwandan-born Ian Munyankindi has been with African Parks since 2012. Prior to this, he gained his hospitality expertise in some of Rwanda’s best hotels and worked as a freelance guide. He joined the Akagera team as manager of Ruzizi Tented Lodge and has worked his way up to Tourism and Hospitality Manager. Ian’s passion for wildlife ensures that guests depart with a deep appreciation of the beauty of Akagera National Park – which he jokingly refers to as his wife!

Alfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Vicki, who's travelled extensively in Rwanda. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the guides who track mountain gorillas day and night to ensure you get the best sightings, the Kigalians who'll give you a real insight into their vibrant city and the coffee-growers who'll tutor you in the art of tasting.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656