Lake Ihema – Rwanda’s second largest lake.

Rwanda may be small, but it has great biodiversity and beauty. The country has numerous rivers, hills, mountains (5 volcanoes), forests, and 23 lakes. All this makes the country truly breathtaking and Lake Ihema is one of the magnificent 23 lakes in Rwanda.

The lake is in the south of Rwanda’s only savanna park-Akagera National park and it is Rwanda’s biodiversity-rich lake. It is one of the many lakes fed by the Akagera River. Lake Ihema is Rwanda’s second largest lake covering an area of 90sqkm after Lake Kivu that is shared between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The lake sustains a beauty and number of wildlife (birds, plants, big mammals, and reptiles) that are part of the life in the Akagera National park.

Seasonal and perennial swamps surround the lake and these are important habitats for protected wildlife in the park. They provide a permanent water source for animals during the dry seasons, it is an important bird sanctuary in the park (for water birds) and now a fishing area after the restriction that was decreed in 1934 was ended by the park management.

The greatest highlights of a safari in Akagera National Park are seen while on a boat on Lake Ihema. The 2 and a half hour’s 45USD boat trip puts on display the aquatic life of the park, like the hippos, crocodiles, and the beautiful water birds that are part of the 550 bird species in the park.

It is one of the many lakes in Akagera National park, the largest of all and it is a special one offering different activities and experiences. Apart from the boat cruise, visitors to the park can take part in the birding session and tick off some water birds from their checklists. Bird species here include the elusive Shoebill, Herons, Kingfishers, the African Jacana, Fish eagles among others. Sport fishing is also an interesting activity at the lake. Due to conservation reasons, anglers or those engaging in the sport, take part in the licensed catch and release fishing. At times, after fishing, guests are rewarded with one amongst the fish caught. Mostly it is tilapia that is caught on this lake.

The location of the lake guarantees visitors on a safari in Akagera, the chance to sight some of the over 50 species of wildlife in the park in just a few minutes’ drive. So if you are a traveler planning a safari to Rwanda’s Akagera national park, don’t miss the exclusive boat safaris on Lake Ihema for an up-close encounter with the park’s wildlife.