The park’s other claims to fame are that it’s the largest protected wetlands area in Central Africa, and it’s Rwanda’s only refuge for savanna-adapted wildlife.
Covering approximately 1,120 square kilometres, Akagera is situated in the east of Rwanda, adjacent to the country’s border with Tanzania. The national park can be accessed via road transfer from Kigali International Airport, a journey of about two-and-a-half hours.
The park was gazetted for the first time in 1934. At that time, it comprised 2,500 square kilometres. The loss of land occurred from 1997, when refugees from Rwanda’s civil wars returned to the area to set up farms and to poach game species. This led to the regazetting of Akagera, a substantial size reduction.
Fortunately, the year 2009 brought change for the better, in the form of a renewable 20-year agreement to manage the park. Entered into jointly by the Rwanda Development Board and the African Parks Network, this agreement includes, most significantly, financial assistance to ensure the security of the national park and to reintroduce species that had become extinct due to poaching.
Today, Akagera’s beautiful highlands, sprawling plains, swamplands, and lakes are home to a real wealth of wildlife. Seven lions were reintroduced in 2015, followed by 18 eastern black rhinos two years later to complete the Big Five group. Safarists can also expect to see hyenas, jackals, Maasai giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, and an excellent assortment of antelopes including eland, oribi, sable, roan, bushbuck, reedbuck, and waterbuck. The park’s waters contain both hippo and crocodile. And the birding is pretty special too, with highlights such as storks, eagles, herons, egrets, and the majestic crowned crane among its 480 or so species!
Understandably, activities in Akagera focus on observing all of these predators, herbivores, and birds, via game drives, walking safaris, and boat trips. At present, we sell just one property in the park – Ruzizi Tented Lodge. This is a classic safari property, offering comfortable accommodation and superb service.
Ruzizi provides cultural visits to local villages and communities too, as well as behind-the-scenes tours of the national park headquarters. You can even learn about Akagera’s fence line, in an activity called ‘Walk the Line’, accompanied by an armed scout and a trained guide. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in the running of the park.
If you are interested in visiting Akagera, please get in touch with a member of the YZ team!