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Akagera - one the most scenic of reserves in Africa

Akagera National Park

A stunning National Park where the past has been revived Akagera National Park is located in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. Although founded in 1934, much of the park was re-allocated as farms and in 1997 the park was reduced in size from more than 2,500 sq km (nearly 10% of the surface area of Rwanda) to its current extent of 1,122 sq km. Since 2010, a joint venture with African Parks has seen Akagera return to its former glories.

It is named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. The forest fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands combine to make Akagera amongst the most scenic of reserves anywhere in Africa. It has exceptional levels of biodiversity and forms the largest protected wetland in central Africa.

Akagera combines well with Nyungwe and the Volcanoes NP to offer a great safari element as it is home to many large plains game species as well as species restricted to the papyrus swamps such as the Sitatunga and the sought-after Shoebill Stork. Notable plains game include elephant, buffalo, topi, zebra, waterbuck, roan antelope and eland. Other antelope are duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck and impala. Of the primates, olive baboons, vervets and the secretive blue monkey are seen during the day, with bushbabies often seen on night drives.

Of the larger predators leopard, hyena, side-striped jackal and lion, which was re-introduced last year are present. Plans are underway for the reintroduction of the black rhino too, and this will restore Akagera’s ‘Big 5’ status

Due to its wide variety of habitats, Akagera is an important ornithological site with nearly 500 bird species. The rare and elusive shoebill shares the papyrus with other rarities such as the exquisite papyrus gonolek and countless other water birds that inhabit the wetlands in large numbers.

OVERVIEVIEW
  • POVINCE: Eastern
  • AREA: 2,700 km
  • ELEVATION: 1,200 km²
  • ESTABLISHED: 1934
  • TOURISM ACTIVITIES:Day & night Game drives, Boat rides, Birding, Community excursions, Behind the scenes - conservation.
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General Information

Time: GMT + 2 hours
Weather Rainy seasons: mid-February to mid-June, mid-September to mid-December Dry seasons: mid-June to mid-September, mid-December to mid-February Average temperature: 24.6°C (76.3°F) – 27.6°C (81.7°F); hottest in August and September
Area Code International country code: +250
Visas
A free 90-day visa will be granted to citizens from the USA, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Can-ada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and the Demo-cratic Republic of Congo and all African countries can get there visa on arrival and free for one month. Other nationals are required to purchase a visa. The first option is to apply at a Rwandan embassy or diplomatic mission where processing is usually efficient and takes less than a week (frequently as little as two days). Costs are USD 60 plus a handling fee – please check for the exact amount on the respective website of the embassy or diplomatic mission. Alternatively, foreign nationals can fill an “entry facility document” online and then obtain a visa upon arrival at Kigali airport or an overland border post (please note that the entry facility document is mandatory and you can be refused entry into Rwanda if you do not carry such a document!). This costs USD 30, to be paid at the airport or border, and is valid for a single entry and 15 days. For stays of more than 15 days or for multiple entries, an additional 90-day visa can be obtained after arrival from the Immigration authorities in Kigali. The costs for this are RWF 25,000, i.e. a bit less than USD 50.Passports must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you plan to leave Rwanda.
Elecetricity 230/240 volts at 50Hz Adapters/converters have to be brought as they are not readily available in all hotels.
Transport Airport: Kigali International Airport, 7 km from the city center Public transport: Minibuses and taxis are available throughout all major cities.
Do's & Dont's Handouts and donations: Please do not give anything to people you meet randomly – no sweets, cookies, empty water bottles, pens or even money – since this encourages a culture of begging and hassling. Our desire is to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship, service provision and targeted help rather than uncoordinated handouts. If you would like to make a donation (e.g. school toys, medicines etc), please talk to us prior, during or after your tour. We have created a variety of special funds and micro-credit opportunities for financial dona-tions.
Environmental protection: Our company has a strong sustainability policy, and we encourage our guests to respect some basic rules. Upon arrival, your guide will provide you with an extensive briefing.
Photography: It is generally permissible to take pictures – exceptions are military personnel and property as well as public buildings, such as the airport. But please do so in a sensitive and dignifying way. Children tend to enjoy photos. If in doubt regarding the comfort of someone you wish to photograph, ask your guide whether it is appropriate.
Vaccination Yellow fever vaccination is required. You may be asked for an international health certificate at the border. Other vaccinations, such as hepatitis A/B, typhoid, meningococcal meningitis and rabies, as well as tetanus, diphtheria and polio are advisable but will depend on the design and duration of your trip. Visit your doctor at least 8 weeks before departure to arrange necessary vaccinations.
Malaria pre-vention: It is recommended to take a prophylactic drug (seek professional advice to find the drug most appropriate for you) and prevent mosquito bites between dusk and dawn by using DEET-based insect-repellent and a bed net.
Useful items: First-Aid Kit, sunscreen, contact lens fluid, sanitary pads / tampons, hand sanitizer and toilet paper
Travel health insurance: Appropriate health insurance and insurance for the return transport are recommended. Re-member to carry the insurance card and policy details with you.
Hospitals in Kigali: King Faisal: Kacyiru, Kigali Tel.: 582421/585397/582469, open 24 hours
Ambulance: Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm (078-8690438), all other times (078-8530351)
Polyclinique du Plateau: Boulevard de la Révolution, Nyarugenge, Kigali
Tel.: 578767/572125, open 24 hours, consultations from 8am to 9:30pm


Money

Payment: Bring enough cash for personal spending as credit cards and traveler’s checks are not widely accepted, and there are no ATM machines for international credit cards in the entire country. It is further important to know that new $50 or $100 bills (2006 or newer) result in the best ex-change rate, while older bills or smaller amounts result in worse exchange rates.
Currency & exchange rates (June 2014): 1 Euro ~ 820 Rwandan Francs
1 US Dollar ~ 600 Rwandan Francs
1 British Pound ~1020 Rwandan Francs
Exchange fa-cilities: New dawn associates Rwanda personnel can generally help with currency exchange throughout your trip. Forex bureaus and banks are available in Kigali and other major cities.


Travel Planning

Clothes: Light clothing for the warm days and mild evenings and heavier clothing including solid walk-ing shoes for Volcanoes and Nyungwe National Parks are appropriate. A hat and sunglasses provide protection against the sun. A waterproof jacket may come in handy in the moist mountains or during the rainy season.
Rwanda is a rather informal place. Microfiber pants and shirts are appropriate for most official visits. Dress clothes (suit coats etc) are not frequently required, unless you need to participate in a formal conference or business meeting.
Gorilla per-mits: Gorilla trekking excursions must be planned far in advance as gorilla permits are limited. Please notify New dawn Associates Rwanda as early as possible if you would like to go trekking.


Safety

Security situation: Rwanda is widely known as one of the safest and most stable countries in Africa. While you should take the usual precautions for petty theft and pickpockets, more serious crimes are very rare. It is generally safe – also for single women – to walk in the streets of Kigali and other major cities. Traveling in the rural areas is also unproblematic. Furthermore, it is always advisable to consult your country’s travel advisory, even though we desire to point out that there are far-reaching differences and not every country has equally positive descriptions of Rwanda’s security situation. A money belt or secure handbag is recommended to keep your money, passport and other important items safe. Avoid bringing expensive jewelry and other valuables. Hotels do not always provide safes.
The police can be reached at 112 or 078-8311112/ 113/ 114.

ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES

     

                

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