Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park was founded in the year 1934 to protect nature and wildlife, it acquired its name from the Kagera river which flows along the park’s eastern boundary pouring in lake Ihema and other lakes. Akagera national park covers 1200 square kilometers (120,000 ha) in eastern Rwanda along the Tanzania border.Akagera national park today has earned recognition compared to 20 years ago when it was almost being lost forever. When peace was finally restored in the 1990s after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis, Akagera’s demise was just the beginning. Refugees returning to Rwanda after the genocide were still battling for their own survival and turned to the forests for timber, wildlife for protein and the wild savannahs for their livestock. Lions were hunted to local extinction, rhinos disappeared, and the park’s wildlife was displaced by tens of thousands of long-horned cattle. Biodiversity was practically lost, and with it so was employment and tourism. The park’s value was diminished to the point of not existing at all. Which makes where Akagera is today.
The government of Rwanda has put too much efforts in reintroducing wildlife into this national park. This has been able under the efforts of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the African Parks Network. Rwanda has also reintroduced over 20 eastern black rhinos from South Africa in 2017 which have been absent for 10 years due to poaching. More wildlife like the lions, leopards, elephants and buffaloes have also been reintroduced to this national park.
Why Visit Akagera National Park
Akagera has a touching inspiring conservation story as it is now home to lions and rhinos, and is the only Big Five park in the country.Akagera is a two hours’ drive from Kigali, it is a beautiful and convenient savannah landscape to visit, and an easy site to add on to before or after visiting the gorillas.It’s diversity of habitats is unique including lakes, marshes, savannah, mountains and woodland makes for spectacular scenery.
Akagera offers an exceptional birding experience to passionate birders with more than 482 bird species documented including the rare and prehistoric shoebill and some Lake Victoria endemics.Tourism is growing with a new day visitor complex and the opening of Ruzizi Tented Lodge and Karenge Bush Camp. Proceeds from tourism revenue are invested back into the park and the local community.