Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is a protected land that covers about 1,222 square kilometers of Rwandan land. It is situated in the northeastern part of Rwanda bordering the Tanzania border on the Eastern side of the park. This park was founded in 1934 by the then Belgian government that was the ruling government and was covering 2,500 square kilometers but is currently managed by the African parks network. It was named after the Kagera river also known as the Alexandra Nile that feeds the lake Ihema and other different lakes of Akagera park. The Kagera River forms the upper part of the River Nile flowing into Lake Victoria to a confluence with Ruvubu River. Akagera national park is the largest protected wetland in the whole of Eastern and Central Africa and is comprised of a number of lakes and swamps.
The first animals to be introduced t this park were the black rhinos in 1957 from Tanzania and later in the 1970s, the park saw up to 50 more black rhinos in the park. This growth was mainly from the conservation efforts of the park authorities and stakeholders however in the following decades there was a great decline in the black rhinos as the poaching rates were high and the last spotted rhino was in 2007. The park in 1986 welcomed the Masai giraffes that were brought in from Kenya whose numbers have greatly increased to around 80 individuals over the years. In the year of 1990, the lion population was estimated at around 250 to 300 individuals. All these animals had a great decline after the Rwanda Civil war in 1994 where the park was a hiding ground for rebels so most of these animals lost their lives in the fights and also there were some refugees who returned home and took up some of the lands for settling and rebuilding their life in Rwanda. It is in 2009 that the African Parks Network along with the Rwanda Development Board signed a 20-year renewable contract to jointly manage the Akagera national park. The main point of this agreement was to foresee the conservation of the park to restore its biodiversity and animal presence. A 120-kilometer wall fence was erected on the western boundary along with an air surveillance helicopter, a rhino tracking expert training, a canine anti-poaching unit, and a protection team.
Over the years, the park has been welcoming animals into their boundaries for example in 2015, they saw seven lions from South Africa joining them making them the first lions in Rwanda in the last 15 years and as of today, the population has increased to over 20 of them. Also in 2019, 5 eastern black rhinos from Europe were welcomed in the park and this means the big 5 animals that is the lion, leopard, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo can all be seen at Akagera on a game drive. These relocations have been a success and the animals have since adapted to their new home and even multiplied. As of 2018, the headcount of the large animals in Akagera was estimated at more than 13,500 individuals living in Akagera national park.
On your visit to Akagera National park, you can take part in a half-day game drive, full day game drives with an experienced guide at 25 and 50 dollars respectively. For the bird lovers, you are also in luck as there are a number of bird species to look out for on your visit to Akagera. There is also a popular boat trip on Lake Ihema that lasts 2 hours for about 35 USD but should be booked in advance to avoid last-minute disappointments. Lake Ihema is in the northern sector of the park and on lake Ihema shores, one can do camping. Yes! There is camping in Akagera as well and you would pay only 25 USD for the campsite and security however you will need to have your own equipment, tents, and meals. There are 3 campsites in Akagera that is Camp shakani, Camp Muyumbu and Camp Mutumba. If you are looking for a more comfortable night then you can opt to stay in the hotels of the park that is Ruzizi Tented camp and Magashi Camp for luxury option or the Akagera Game lodge for the midrange and budget travelers.
The best time to visit Akagera is the drier seasons where the roads are smooth and clear and that is in December to January then again from June to September. The temperatures vary from about 20 to 30 degrees all throughout the year so in your packing, you can pack clothes accordingly.
Explore Rwanda tours along with the experienced team of driver guides has successfully conducted a good number of tours to Akagera so why not reach us now and let us handle your desires in regards to visiting Akagera.