Big Five Animal Safari in Rwanda is mostly undertaken in one national park for a chance to see the Big Five animals that are sought after by wildlife enthusiasts. These are the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo.
Akagera National Park is one of the national parks in Rwanda and the only place for the Big Five safari and game drives in the beautiful land of a thousand hills.
The protected area is in eastern Rwanda covering 1,122 square kilometers (433 sq mi) along the border with Tanzania.
Akagera National Park is named after the Kagera River which flows along with its eastern boundary feeding into Lake Ihema and several smaller lakes.
With the complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps, this is the largest protected wetland in Eastern-Central Africa.
During the time of the formation of Akagera National Park, it used to have a large population of African wild dogs. However, an epidemic diminished the population, and the last wild dogs were sighted in 1984.
With the loss of lots of wildlife in the park, reintroduction programs were set up and these have been very successful making the country a top Rwanda tour destination and Big Five host.
In 1957, black rhinos were introduced from Tanzania, and Masai giraffes were reintroduced from Kenya in 1986.
In 2009 the Rwanda Development Board and the African Parks Network entered into a 20-year renewable agreement for the joint management of Akagera National Park. Akagera Management Company was formed in 2010 as the joint management body for the park.
In July 2015 seven lions from South Africa were introduced and released in the park. Since then the lion population has grown to more than 40 of them in the park. In 2017, 18 Eastern black rhinoceroses were reintroduced into the park from South Africa.
Three more eastern black rhinoceros were introduced into the park in 2019. Today Akagera National Park is home to all of the sought-after African Big Five wild animals which are the Buffaloes, Rhinos, Elephants, Lions, and Leopards.
Akagera is a much preferable East African destination since it is one of the closest wildlife parks to the country’s national Airport-Kigali International Airport. It is just about a 3-hour drive to the park from the Airport. You also spot other wild animals like giraffes, zebras, and hippos.
During Akagera National Park wildlife tours and Rwanda game drives tourists are accompanied by knowledgeable driver guides. Always ensure to remain in the safari car all through the game drive. For long game drives, carry snacks and enough drinking water.
A very scenic and beautiful land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is one of the increasingly popular African safari destinations.
Other activities that can be done during Rwanda safaris include gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekking and hiking in the Volcanoes National Park, chimpanzee trekking, canopy walk, and nature walk-in Nyungwe National Park, birding in all of the parks, and cultural tours.
Neighboring Uganda is also home to the Big Five which can be seen on a short tour or customized with other activities like gorilla tracking in Uganda on a long safari.
In case you want to have an experience of sighting millions of wildlife then Tanzania wildlife safaris and Kenya safari tours are a great pick with visits specifically to Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara Game Reserve respectively.
This is because these two habitats host the wildebeest migration which is the largest concentration of wildlife ever seen in the world.
To have Uganda Wildlife Tours of a kind, you need to have a well-planned trip. Here are sample itineraries to help you better plan your next trip to see wildlife in their natural habitat;