AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
Hugging Rwanda’s eastern border with Tanzania, Akagera National Park covers about 1,120km² and is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, first gazetted in 1934.
The north of Akagera is mostly fairly low-lying grasslands and savannah plains, similar in feel to the ‘traditional’ safari areas of East Africa. To the west are rolling hills and valleys more typical of Rwandan countryside while to the east, the Akagera River feeds into a series of lakes, marshes and papyrus swamps that constitute central and eastern Africa’s largest protected wetlands. So, for a fairly small National Park, an Akagera safari can be extremely diverse with a variety of habitats, wildlife and birds, and some lovely scenery.
Akagera National Park has had a troubled past, with refugees from Rwanda’s civil wars returning to live in the area in the late 1990s, harming the environment through cattle-grazing and poaching.
Today, Akagera National Park is managed in conjunction with the conservation organization African Parks, which is bringing it back to life. New perimeter fences and anti-poaching measures have made a huge difference to its animal populations and the national park is now well on the way to being restored. While its wildlife isn’t quite on the same scale as better-known East African parks, there is still plenty to see on an Akagera safari in some very beautiful scenery.
Set at a relatively low altitude on the border with Tanzania, Akagera National Park is characterized by sweeping grasslands and rugged acacia woodland, interspersed with a labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the Akagera River, the most remote source of the Nile. This breath-taking landscape is an exhilarating change from the magnificent rainforests that dominate most of Rwanda.
Akagera provides a real eye opener to the wonders of the flora and fauna of the African bushland, with herds of elephant and buffalo emerging from the woodland to drink at the lakes. An observant visitor may also spot a stealthy leopard, hyena or pride of lions resting in the cool shade provided by the feral acacia trees.
Akagera National Park is almost bursting with more than a dozen species of antelope, most commonly the handsome, regal impala, but also oribi, bushbuck, tsessebe and the world’s largest antelope, the striking Cape eland are resident within the park.
Activities in Akagera National Park
Known as one of the most scenic savannahs in East Africa, the game drive in Akagera provides you with the opportunity to also view gentle hills blending beautifully with lowland swamps and water bodies.
Boat trip on Lake Ihema
The boat trip in the Akagera at Lake Ihema will reward you with a large number of Hippos,Nile crocodiles, plus many water birds and correction of reptiles.
Camping in the Akagera.
Camp sites in Akagera for the more adventurous or for those traveling on a budget with beautiful views and night wildlife songs.