Rusizi National Park
Rusizi National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Burundi by international tourists as well as the locals. The park is officially known as Parc National de la Rusizi, and is found in the Rusizi plains in the north of Lake Tanganyika. Rusizi National Park is only 15km north-west of Bujumbura city. Rusizi Park is a few kilometres to the Democratic Republic of Congo border.
Rusizi National Park is divided into two significant areas that are separated by the Bujumbura-Uvira road. The larger part of Rusizi National Park go as far as the eastern bank of Rusizi River, from where the park derived its name. This part in particular consists of acacia trees, shrubs and grasslands dominating the wild vegetation. The other part of Rusizi Park is largely a delta of River Rusizi which drains into Lake Tanganyika. This part is largely dotted with small islands, water streams, channels and papyrus beds.
The Park is a Ramser Site that was first gazetted in order to protect the hippos that thrived at the River Rusizi delta, as well as other wild animals in the area that include among others sitatungas, Gustave as well as the Nile crocodiles. There are 200 species of birds estimated to reside in the park and some of them include Sharpe’s pied babbler, red-chested sunbird, baglafetch weaver, among so many others, including migrant birds like the white winged tern.
There are various activities that tourists could take part in while in Rusizi Park. The following are some of the activities in Rusizi;
Walking safaris in Rusizi Park are a great way to explore the park. Walking safaris in the park are done in the guidance of an armed ranger guide in addition to your safari guide. Walking safaris enable travellers to explore the park and see a number of flora and fauna in the park like antelopes, sitatungas, various monkey species as well as birds among so much more in the park. The guides will share their knowledge about the part greatly and answer all your questions that you may have at all times.
There are about 200 species of birds roaming Rusizi Park that travellers visiting the park can take time to see while on a bird-watching activity. Bird watching has travellers going through tracks and paths in the park while in search of various bird species. Having a bird guide with you as well as a pair of good binoculars has travellers spotting more colourful species of birds even those that are quite far off. Among the birds you will see in the park include among others Sharpe’s pied babbler, red-chested sunbird and baglafetch weaver, as well as migrant birds like the white winged tern.
Boat safaris can be done on Rusizi River in Rusizi Park. Boat safaris are a great way to spot more animals like serried ranges of hippos as well as the Nile crocodiles. Aquatic birds can also be seen, as well as other park animals at the shores as they come for a dip or drink to quench their thirst.
Sportfishing can be done on Rusizi River where travellers can let go of their catch or decide to have it cooked for them, or better yet cook it yourself or roast it. One needs a licence to be allowed to do sport fishing while in the park. Make sure to have your tour operator get you a licence to be able to take part in the activity while in the park.
How to get to Rusizi National Park
Rusizi National Park has a number of routes and roads that travellers can use to get to the park. Rusizi Park can also be accessed by air. The best way to get to Rusizi Park however is by a 4WD for it gives travellers an opportunity to explore the countryside extensively.
Where to stay in Rusizi
There are a number of accommodation facilities in and around Rusizi National Park that travellers can stay in. Booking in advance for lodgings nearest the park is advised. Some of the places to stay at include among others Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika and Hotel safari gate.
When to visit Rusizi National Park
Rusizi National Park can be visited all year long, depending on one’s preferred travel dates. The dry season that runs through June to September and December to February is the best time to visit Rusizi Park. The dry season makes walking safaris more enjoyable and possible given that the paths are less slippery and muddy. The rest of the months are considered wet and though some may consider them time to be indoors others prefer them to be their best time to take on safaris in Africa. Irrespective of the time you choose to go visit Rusizi National Park, be sure to that you will enjoy your stay.
Travellers interested in visiting Rusizi National Park should reach out to trusted tour operators who are knowledgeable about the park and Burundi in general. Take time to plan a memorable Rusizi Park safari, either solely or have it combined with other destinations like Kibira National Park, visiting Rwanda for various activities like chimpanzee tracking as well as gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park or better yet, gorilla trekking in Bwindi which provides relatively cheaper gorilla trekking permits. Irrespective of what you choose, enjoy your stay in Rusizi National Park.