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Lake Ihema is situated in the Southern side of Akagera National Park in the Savannah region in the Eastern province of Rwanda. The Akagera River drains into a number of Lakes with Lake Ihema inclusive. This Lake is situated at an elevation of 1292 meters/ 4238 feet above sea level.  It is the largest freshwater Lake within Akagera National Park and extends for an area of 90 square kilometers/35 square miles and measures a depth of about 5-7 meters/16-23 feet depending on the area and the season of the year. The Eastern shores of Lake Ihema forms the boundary between Tanzania and Rwanda.

This wonderful Lake is abundant in biodiversity and is a home to several wildlife species such as Crocodiles and Hippos among others. Not only that, there are over 550 bird species around Lake Ihema including the elusive Shoebill stork-scientifically known as the Balaeniceps rex and the rare papyrus yellow warblers and the papyrus gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri). Some bird species are endemic to the area and they include the Jacanas, the Ibis (Threskiornithinae), the Plovers (Charadriidae), the Malachite Kingfishers (Alcedo Cristata), the herons, the Pied Kingfishers, the Sandpipers and the Hawks, to mention but a few.

The spectacular Lake Ihema is surrounded by vast seasonal and permanent papyrus swamps. These swamps are very significant habitats to the wild animals of Akagera National Park since the Lake provides a permanent source of drinking water for the large mammals such as Buffaloes, Hippos and Buffaloes in addition to being an important aquatic bird sanctuary. Just like other freshwater Lakes within Akagera National Park, fishing within Lake Ihema was restricted by the Royal decree of 1934, the same year the national Park was gazzeted. However, of recent a new policy on the management of the National park has embraced and authorized fishing activities within the Lakes.

Just like other Lakes, Lake Ihema is being threatened by both natural and human activities and the main threat being water hyacinth that are numerous within the Lake. The presence of water hyacinth on the area of the Lake creates a somber threat to the biodiversity of the region. Some of the most adverse effects of these water weeds include the reduction in the quality of the water since it covers the water and affects the quantity of dissolved Oxygen, temperature and phosphates leading to direct reduction and eventual vanishing and extinction of the exceptional biodiversity of the affected water body.

Not only that, Lake Ihema is linked to the spectacular Akagera wetland found within the Akagera River, which means water weeds/hyacinth can easily strewn to the nearby waterways like River Nile and Lake Victoria. Nonetheless, the Lake is a popular for interesting activities such as boat rides (the commonest). There are four scheduled boat trips on this Lake that include from 7:30am, from 9:00am, 3:30pm and from 5:0pm but you can opt for the Private boat trips.

This rewards tourists with the views of several aquatic wildlife species such as several Nile Crocodiles and school of giant hippos at the shores of the Lake as well as several aquatic bird species such as the Cormorants, the Pink-backed Pelicans and the Open-bill storks.

In conclusion, the Lake Ihema is a testimony that Rwanda is not only a destination of Mountain gorillas, Chimpanzees and the golden monkeys but also water resources that reward tourists with aquatic bird species such as the open-bill storks, Pink-backed pelicans and cormorants among others.