Akagera Game Lodge

Akagera Game Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
60 rooms, suites and cottages
Traveller's rating
Good (80%) From 2 reviews
Children
Best for aged 8+
Open
All year

Akagera Game Lodge is one of the few accommodation options within Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, adjacent to the Tanzanian border. More of a hotel than a traditional safari lodge, it has fantastic views over Lake Ihema, with a big swimming pool perched on the edge of the savannah. The hotel is popular with families from Kigali who come to enjoy the park at weekends.

Guest accommodation at Akagera Game Lodge encompasses a range of bedrooms, suites and cottages, all fairly simple and largely soulless.

The 58 standard bedrooms are in one long double-storey terrace, on our most recent visit here over half the bedrooms were closed for refurbishment. Inside they are fairly simple, with African print cushions and throws on the beds. Each room also has a writing desk and chair, satellite TV, phone and a small balcony or patio with a couple of chairs overlooking the lake or the savannah. The en-suite bathrooms are functional as opposed to stylish, and come with complimentary toiletries. All of the rooms can interconnect, so are suitable for families.

The two suites were our favourite rooms at Akagera Game Lodge. They're the last rooms on the terrace – one on the top floor and one on the ground floor. Each has a lounge area with a sofa, solid green-marble table and dining table, TV and minibar (which is filled on request). African artefacts such as traditional drums lend some character, which is lacking in the standard rooms. The en-suite bedroom has a four-poster king-size bed with mosquito net, a dressing table, and a balcony overlooking the lake.

Furthest away from the reception are two cottages, two storey- circular buildings constructed of stone and thatch. On our last visit, in 2017, these were closed for renovation, with no date set for re-opening, but on our previous visit, one of the cottages had three en-suite bedrooms (one twin and two king-size), while the other had two: a king-size and a twin. Each had shiny polished floors, a kitchen area with large dining table, and a lovely wraparound terrace affording beautiful views.

The large reception area at Akagera Game Lodge is dotted with African carvings and pieces of art, and incorporates a small curio shop. Up a spiral staircase you'll find the bar – with chunky wooden bar stools lining a long wooden bar, some chairs and tables, and a TV. The bar opens out onto a wooden terrace which overlooks the pool below. The large restaurant also has an outside decked area where meals can be served.

Outside, set in extensive tropical gardens, are two floodlit tennis courts that guests can use for free, a children's play area, and a small children's pool, as well as a lovely big circular swimming pool with sunloungers overlooking the lake. A small massage area completes the picture.

Activities at Akagera Game Lodge concentrate on game drives in Akagera National Park. These are usually conducted by your own driver-guide, accompanied by a wildlife guide provided by the Rwandan National Parks (who are generally quite knowledgeable and fairly communicative). With woodland, savannah, lakes and papyrus swamps, the park has plenty of different habitats to explore with a variety of flora and fauna. Hippo, buffalo, Burchell's zebra, impala, bushbuck, Maasai giraffe, oribi, tsessebe, elephant and crocodile are frequently seen; lion and sitatunga are at present restricted to more inaccessible areas and are rarely sighted. Birding is particularly good and a short boat trip will give you the opportunity to get close to waterbirds that include numerous African fish eagles, marabou stork, crowned cranes, open-billed storks, cormorants, herons and egrets. If you are lucky you may even get to see the elusive shoebill stork.

Our view

Although Akagera Game Lodge has a good location from which to explore Akagera National Park, it seems to have been built for practicality rather than aesthetics, and is sorely lacking in character. It also feels quite dated and in need of an upgrade. That said, the service is friendly and the tropical gardens are expansive. If you are looking for somewhere family-friendly with a few more facilities than your average safari lodge, then it may be worth considering.

Geographics

Location: Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Ideal length of stay: 1–2 nights

Directions: Akagera Game Lodge is about three hours' drive from Kigali: the first two on a good tarmac road; the last on a dirt road.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Although we did not eat at Akagera Game Lodge on our last visit in 2017, we have done on a previous visit, when the food was surprisingly good and tasty.

Breakfast consists of fruit, followed by eggs cooked to order.

Lunch is from an à la carte menu that includes items such as grilled chicken and chips, pizzas, burgers, samosas and salads.

Dinner, too, is usually à la carte, but the manager told us that if they get very busy they may put on a buffet. On our previous visit we enjoyed grilled tilapia (a fish found in Lake Kivu) with chips and salad.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15

Drinks included: Drinks are an extra cost at Akagera Game Lodge. These are typically around US$3 for a soft drink and US$5 for a beer or a glass of wine. Complimentary bottles of water are provided in the rooms.

Further dining info: Room service is available at an extra cost of around US$4.

Children

Attitude towards children: Akagera Game Lodge welcomes children.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.

Special activities & services: There is a children’s play area and small pool, with tennis and a larger pool suitable for older children. All the bedrooms interconnect.

Equipment: They have cots and high chairs.

Notes: We recommend that children are supervised when using the swimming pool.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is a backup generator

Communications: Akagera Game Lodge has WiFi in the reception and bar area and internet terminals for guests who don't have their own laptops.

TV & radio: There are TVs in the bedrooms and in the bar.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: All rooms are fully plumbed, but the water is not suitable for drinking.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: One of the staff members at the hotel is a nurse, and there is a small hospital in a village just 15 minutes’ drive away.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: Akagera Game Lodge has security guards on the gate 24 hours a day. There are no safes in the rooms, but valuables can be kept in the manager’s safe.

Fire safety: There are fire hoses throughout the hotel; these are checked and maintained on a regular basis.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Laundry can be done for an extra charge. Items are machine-washed and dried.

Money: There are no safes in the rooms, but valuables can be kept in the manager’s safe. The hotel can exchange only small amounts of money if really necessary.

Accepted payment on location: Akagera Game Lodge accepts all major credit and debit cards with the exception of American Express. Cash payments may be made in Rwandan francs, US dollars, euros or British pounds.

X  Close