Akagera National Park Rwanda

Akagera National Park is located in the north east of Rwanda along the border with Tanzania. The journey is about 2-3 hours drive on road.

Introduction

Akagera National Park is central Africa’s largest protected wetland and the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda. The rolling highlands, vast plains and swamp-fringed lakes of this north-eastern territory contain a rich biodiversity and are home to a number of rare species, such as the shoebill stork. With more than 12,000 large mammals and 482 bird species, this breath-taking landscape is every nature lover’s wildest dream.

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.

As Rwanda’s only Big Five Park, Akagera provides important opportunities for local employment. This life-giving revenue stream not only strengthens ties with surrounding communities, but ensures the very survival of the park and its wildlife.

History

Although founded in 1934, much of the park was re-allocated as farmland during the Rwanda Civil war in the 1990s 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. The park was renamed after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary and feeds into a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema.

Attractions

Akagera national park is a 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 includes 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 bush babies often seen on night drives. Of the larger predators leopard, hyena, side-striped jackal and lion, which were re-introduced in 2015 are  present and the black rhino too were reintroduced this year, restoring Akagera’s ‘Big 5’ status. Due to its wide variety of habitats, Akagera is an important ornithological site with nearly 500 bird species.

Activities in the park include; Game viewing, boat cruises, birding, behind the scenes.

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