The park got its name from the river that runs along its eastern boundary. The Park is Rwanda’s only Savanna reserve.  In comparison to the rest of the country, the area is relatively warm and low-lying, and plains support a cover of dense, broad-leafed woodland with lighter acacia woodland and patches of rolling grassland studded eloquently with stands of the superficially cactus-like Euphorbia candelabra shrub.

In the west of the plains lays a chain of low mountains, which reach the elevations of between 1,600m and 1,800m.  The eastern part of the Akagera National Park is covered with wetland. The mighty Akagera River feeds a complex of a dozen of lakes linked by extensive papyrus swamps and winding water.Poaching in this area has greatly reduced wildlife populations in recent years, and what was formerly the north of the park is now a settlement area for returned refugees. The lakes that remain within the national park are routinely used to water domestic cattle – indeed, the long-horned Ankole cow is far and away the most commonly seen large mammal. Apart from all that, Akagera is definitely worth visiting.  There is plenty of game around, like buffalos, elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos and various antelope all reasonably visible.  The lakes support some of the highest concentrations of hippo you will not find anywhere in Africa, as well as numerous large crocodiles, while lion, leopard and black rhino are still in small numbers.  The Park is one Africa’s game reserve where you can drive for some hours without passing another vehicle, and without knowing what wildlife encounter you might find around the next corner.  Akagera is also among the most scenic of savanna reserves, with its sumptuous forest-fringed lakes, tall mountains and constantly changing vegetation.

Visitor activities and attractions Akagera National Park
Boat trips are available on Lake Ihema, and are worthwhile.  You should Book in advance through ORTPN in Kigali.  Close encounters with outsize crocodiles and large pods of hippo are all but guaranteed, and you will also pass substantial breeding colonies of African darter, cormorant and open-bill stork.  Other water birds are abundant:  the delicate and colorful African jacana can be seen trotting on floating vegetation, fish eagles are posted in the trees at regular intervals, jewel-like malachite kingfisher hawk from the needs, while pied kingfishers hover high above the water to swoop down on their fishy prey.  Of greater interest to enthusiasts will be the opportunity to spot marsh specialists such as blue-headed coucal and marsh flycatcher.

Wildlife viewing (game drives)
Game drives are available if you ideally have a 4×4 unless if you are staying at the lodge. Guides are provided at no extra charge and they will help you to find your way around.  The game-viewing circuit is in essence limited to one main road running northwards from the park headquarters at Lake Ihema.  Most of the lakes are passed by this road, or can be approached using a short fork.  North of Lake Hago, the road branches into two main forks, one of which heads west into the Mutumba hills. The possibilities for game drives are restricted by the fact that the park can only be entered near Lake Ihema and the Game Lodge.  In a long half-day, you could realistically travel from the entrance as far north as the Mutumba Hills, and back.  To head further north requires the best part of a day, with the option of using the exit-only route north of Lake Rwanyakizinga emerging on the main tar road to the Uganda border.  The tracks in the far north are very indistinct, and should be attempted only in the company of a guide.  Once back on the main road, the guide can be dropped at Kayonza or Kabarondo junctions with enough money to make his way back to the headquarters by motorbike-taxi.
Starting from the entrance gate, a hilly road through very thick scrub leads over about 5km to Lake Ihema.  It is on a humid and mosquito-plagued island near the eastern shore of Ihema.

Getting to Akagera National Park
By public means , Akagera can be accessed from Kigali in a two hours long drive and from Kibungo or Rwamagana in about one hour.  The only usable entrance gate, 500m from the new Akagera Game Lodge, is reached through a 27km dirt road which branches from the main surfaced road at Kabarondo, 15km north of Kibungo.  This dirt road is in fair condition, passable by any vehicle except after rain.  Within the park, however, a 4×4 is advisable, though any vehicle with good clearance should be okey in the dry season..