Game drives in Akagera National park

Explore the savanna grasslands, mashes and wood lands and enjoy game viewing and birding in the Akagera national park

Rwanda game drives happen in the only Savannah park – Akagera national park. Game drives are the best way to explore a big area of savannah national parks while on safari. Explore the park in the custom-made safari vehicle i.e. Safari jeeps which are comfortable enough while on safari. The game drives provide opportunities of sighting the different animals, birds and beautiful scenery while in the comfort of the custom made safari cars.


The Akagera National Park attracts a large number of visitors who come to perform game drives as their major activity. Akagera’s game drives are divided into three sessions: a morning half-day game drive, an afternoon game drive, and a night game drive. Morning game drives go from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., afternoon drives run from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and night drives run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The night game drives are only available in the park’s southern section. Night game drives are conducted by AMC cars, which pick you up from your hotel and return you to your hotel at the end of the safari.

Game drives in Akagera National Park are priced on a half-day or full-day basis. Full-day game drives are available from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park admission costs include a self-drive game drive, but if you prefer a guide from Akagera, you may pick one up at the Akagera reception before 9 a.m. and be left off after 5 hours for a half-day game drive. You will be charged the full day amount if you take up the guide after 9 a.m. and return it before midday. Guides picked up after noon will also be charged the half-day cost.

Game watching is best done in the mornings and evenings when the temperatures are low and the animals are on the quest for food. Adults and children, as well as citizens and foreign residents, must pay entry fees. Children under the age of five are free to enter the Akagera National Park and participate in all activities. To qualify for an exemption, your status must be documented; otherwise, regular costs will apply.

The AMC-operated day game drives are priced as follows: the half-day game drive, which is a 5-hour trip that includes a driver guide, costs 180 USD, and the full-day game drive costs 280 USD with a maximum of seven persons. The night game drive is a two and a half hour game drive that costs $40 USD for adults and $25 USD for youngsters aged 6 to 12. The self-drive game drive in Akagera National Park is included in the park admission price, but if you want a guide from Akagera, you will have to pay 25 USD per guide for a half-day (5-hour) game drive or 40 USD for a full-day game drive.

Game drives in Akagera National park


Rwanda may not be the ultimate Africa safari location for wildlife safaris, but Akagera National Park should be on your list if you want a picturesque tour in a gorgeous wildlife setting. The park is home to the big five – buffaloes, rhinos, leopards, lions, and elephants. Other wild animals in the Park include giraffes, zebras, and hippos. The park is one of the closest wildlife parks to the country’s national airport—Kigali International Airport, approximately 3-hour drive from the airport.

Akagera National Park is located in eastern Rwanda with beautiful scenery  plains and several animal sightings while on game drive. The park hosts the entirety of Lake Ihema within its borders which provides opportunity to take on a boat safari.

The park is home to about 500 bird species and several mammals, and recently is home to the Big 5 – Lions, leopards, Rhinos, Elephants and Cape Buffalo.  Animals to look out for include; Giraffes, Elephants, Bushbucks, Hippos, Impalas, Topi’s, Zebras, Buffaloes and many more. The game drives happen in the northern part of the park because of the terrain there but animals are all over the park. The park entrance is in the south and the northern gate used for exit.


Following lion and rhino reintroductions, Akagera officially became a “Big Five” park in May 2017. It now boasts thriving populations of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo, as well as zebra, giraffe, and hundreds of bird species.


Before the reintroduction of lions, the park’s only large predators were leopards and spotted hyaena. A founder population of seven lions was reintroduced in 2015 after the species was hunted out in the 1990s. Two additional males were translocated to the park in 2017 to increase genetic diversity and the park’s lion population has since quadrupled in size. Small predators are also abundant: serval, side-striped jackal, and several mongoose and viverrid species are thriving.

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Of the primate family, olive baboons and vervet monkeys are common in Akagera. Far rarer is the secretive blue monkey that, until a few years ago, was believed to be extinct in the park.


Elephant, rhino, giraffe, and hippopotamus are the largest mammals found in the park. They join several naturally occurring large plains game species, including buffalo, topi, zebra, defassa waterbuck, the elusive roan antelope, and the statuesque eland. Smaller herbivores include duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck, and impala. The endangered Masai giraffe was introduced to Akagera from Kenya in 1986, and the current population contains an estimated 78 individuals.

Elephants have always naturally occurred in Akagera, but poaching wiped them out until an initial reintroduction returned a young group of 26 individuals—all under the age of eight—in 1975. The founder population has since grown to roughly 100 individuals. In 2021, the biennial aerial census counted 11,891 large mammals including 133 elephant who enjoyed a 20% increase in population since the 2019 aerial census.

2017 saw the historic return of 18 eastern black rhinoceros to Akagera—and Rwanda—after a 10-year absence. The first calves were born in 2018, and five black rhinos translocated from European zoos in June 2019 promise to boost genetic diversity. In partnership with the RDB and andBeyond, we successfully translocated 30 Southern white rhinos to Akagera from Phinda Private Reserve, in an effort to expand their range state and provide a species safe haven.

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Other activities to do in Akagera National Park

Bird watching

In Rwanda, Akagera National Park is a renowned and important birding destination. Bird watchers will like visiting Akagera National Park since it allows them to see both endangered bird species such as the papyrus gonolek and the shoebill as well as more common species such as weavers, egrets, and various Kingfishers. Birding is done on game drives, nature walks with a ranger escort, and boat safaris on Lake Ihema. Birding on Lake Ihema allows you to witness aquatic species that you would not see on a game drive on the Savannah grassland. Overall, we encourage birding at Akagera National Park because of the diversity and convenience with which you may view the species.

Boat Tour

Exploring Akagera National Park by boat is a thrilling and daring experience. The majority of Akagera’s boat tours take place on Lake Ihema. The lake is located in the southern section of the national park and is one of the largest of the park’s ten lakes. Lake Ihema has a surface size of roughly 90 square kilometers and a depth of about 5-7 meters. The lake’s eastern end is on Rwanda’s border with Tanzania. The lake is fed by the famed River Kagera, which also supplies the majority of the national park’s lakes.

A boat tour on Lake Ihema allows you to discover the abundant wildlife in and around the lake. Visitors may witness wildlife such as hippopotami and crocodiles while taking a boat tour on Lake Ihema in Akagera National Park. The lake is well recognized for having the highest number of hippo in East Africa. Visitors may also see a variety of bird species such as the Papyrus Gonolek, jacanas, herons, sandpipers, malachite kingfisher, hawk, and the uncommon shoebill stork, among many more.

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Cultural Encounters

Experience rural Rwandan life near Akagera National Park’s cattle herding settlements. You may see and/or participate in traditional cow grazing, milking, and milk storage in calabashes for preservation. You next go through the process of transforming milk into various products such as traditional yogurt and ghee and finally participate in the preparation of a dinner using some of the milk products’ ingredients. This is a real cultural experience enjoyed by the villagers who live near to the park, and they may supplement their agricultural income with it. This eventually benefits conservation culture and the park’s wild creatures.

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