BOAT TRIPS & TOURS IN AKAGERA
Boat Trips & Tours in Akagera : Akagera national park is the only savannah park in Rwanda and Central Africa’s largest protected wetland found in the Eastern Rwanda, the park is named after the Akagera river that flows along Rwanda’s Eastern boundary with Tanzania, the river also finds the Lake Ihema and other small lakes found in the park.
Akagera national park was established in 1934 and covers an area of 1,122 square kilometers of land which makes it of the largest and oldest national park to be established in Rwanda.
Boat trips are one of the exhilarating Rwanda safari activities offered in Akagera national park.
BOAT TRIPS IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
In Akagera national park, there are 3 pre-scheduled boat trips (day, morning and sunset boat trips). A boat trip is one of the best ways to enjoy the water levels and its cool breeze and the crocodiles, hippos and birds. Boat trips generally last for about one hour on a public boat carrying a maximum of 11 people, the boat costs about US$ 40 per person. In case you wish to schedule your own trip with a private group at your time , you have to rent the whole boat costing about US$180.
A boat safari in Akagera national park is done on Lake Ihema the second largest lake after Lake Kivu where you will be able to see many hippos and crocodiles. Boat trips depart at 7:30 am, 9 am, 3 pm and 4:30 pm.
A boat cruise on Lake Ihema offers tourists a chance to have a good view of more game living in the savannah plains of Akagera national park including elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, giraffes and many others that gather at the banks of the lake in order to drink water. You also get an opportunity to see more beautiful birds including the shoebill stork, fish eagles, kingfishers, papyrus gonolex, and herons among others.
Akagera national park has a beautiful landscape filled with abundance of wildlife and during the boat cruise you will be amazed by the splendid views and the wildlife.
THE EVENING BOAT CRUISE
The evening boat cruiser in Akagera national park sets off at 17:30 and it just 5 minutes’ drive from Ruzizi folks, this spectacular cruise lasts for one hour sailing on the lake and you will visit an island which is full of birds. You will also pass by the hippos and crocodiles living in the waters of the lake, on the cruiser you are escorted by professional guides who will explain and give you more information about the animals and birds you will encounter.
Evening boat cruise in Akagera national park costs US$40, as the sun starts to set and all the stress rushes out of you, you will feel the tiny peace of the calmness of the lake and in Rwanda as a country.
Boat cruise in Akagera national park’s Lake Ihema are arranged by the authorities of the park, the cruise is the best way of viewing the huge Nile crocodiles that are hard to observe and the park’s abundant water birds including the breeding colonies of noisy, the smelly cormorants and the open bills storks among others.
Lake Ihema is the second largest lake in Rwanda found in the south region of Akagera national park’s savannah region in the Eastern province of Rwanda, the lake is located on an altitude of 1,22 meters and covers an area of about 90 square kilometers making it the biggest lake in the park. Lake Ihema has a depth that varies from 5 to 7 meters depending on the area and season, the eastern lake shore forms the border between Tanzania and Rwanda.
Lake Ihema is fed by Akagera River which also feeds a complex of a dozen of other lakes, the lake is surrounded by large seasonal and the perennial papyrus swamps. These wetlands are important habitats protecting several species of animals found in the park, they are also a source of drinking water for large mammals. They also form an important water bird sanctuary for birds such as the shoe bill stork, herons among others.
Lake Ihema is rich in biodiversity apart from the fish, the lake is a home to several wildlife species including crocodiles and hippos. The lake inhabits over 550 species of birds include the shoebill stork, the papyrus Ganolex and endemic species such as the jacanas, Ibis, plovers, herons, malachite kingfisher, Hawk and many more.
As a result of the royal decree of 34 on creation and management of the park, fishing at Lake Ihema was restricted as well as other lakes in Akagera national park. however, recently a new policy on management of the park has authorized the fishing activities.
THE THREATS TO LAKE IHEMA
Lake Ihema is one of the many protected lakes in Rwanda more since it is located in the area of Akagera national park, the major threat at the lake is the water hyacinth that is so abundant. The occurrence of the water hyacinth on the area of Lake Ihema creates only a somber threat to the biodiversity of the region but also locally, the most damaging effects of the water hyacinth includes
- The degradation of the water quality, since it covers the water. It reduces the quantity of dissolved oxygen, temperature and phosphate which results in the direct reduction and disappearance of the biodiversity of the affected water body.
Additionally, Lake Ihema is connected by the Akagera swamps eith the Akagera River which means the hyacinth could easily be spread in the nearby water ways such as Lake Victoria and River Nile.