Akagera National Park

Rwanda is currently recognized as East Africa’s top safari and tour destination. The famous gentle gorilla apes in volcanoes national park, chimpanzees in Nyungwe national park, and the outstanding various wildlife in the beautiful plains of Akagera national park are equally great attractions for all wildlife, landscapes and primate lovers to encounter on their Africa safaris.

HISTORY.

Akagera national park is among Rwanda’s 4 only protected national parks in the country. The park was founded by the Belgian government in 1934. It was formally named Parc aux Lycaons by the Belgian government that was in existence and control in those years.

The park covered an area of 2500km with a high population of African wild dogs. These were high populous in Akagera national park in the year 1984. These were later eroded and were last seen in the park in the year 1984.

However, in the later years of 1957, 1986 other wildlife species were introduced into the park. With Black rhinos and Masai giraffes from Tanzania and Kenya respectively. Lions whereas well introduced into the national park in the year 1990.

Unfortunately, due to the Rwanda civil war, the wildlife population in Akagera national park was eroded for human settlement. The glory of the park was restored when wildlife conservation bodies such as the Rwanda development board, Akagera Management Company, Howard Buffet Foundation, and others.  The bodies Joined efforts in restoring the former glory of the park.

In the later year of 2015, wildlife such as lions, Black rhino, African elephants to mention but a few were seen re-introduced to Akagera national park. To boost the wildlife population in this protected area.

Currently, Akagera national park is Rwanda’s top wildlife destination, nevertheless hosting all the big five. That includes the lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and rhinoceros.

LOCATION.

Akagera national park is located in Rwanda, one of Africa’s smallest countries in the central Africa region. The park is found along the western border side of Tanzania and on the eastern side of Rwanda. The park derived its name from the river Kagera, a major water stream in the park. This river imputes its water into Lake Ihema, which is found in Akagera Park as well.

The park currently covers an area of 1122km of savannah, swamp, and montane habitats making it the largest national park in Rwanda. A third of the park is made up of papyrus swamps and lakes, making it the largest protected wetland in eastern central Africa.

ACTIVITIES IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK.

Wildlife viewing.

The Park is home to over 8000 wildlife species distributed in the savannah plains of the national park.  The game drive experience in Akagera national park offers a great chance to sight the various wildlife species in the park that include: lions, African buffalos, leopards, African savannah elephants, black rhinos, hyenas, zebras, impalas, duiker waterbucks, klipspringer, cape eland giraffes and many more.  The wildlife of Akagera national park can as well be sighted while on kale Ihema.

Lake Ihema is the only large water body located in Akagera national park. A boat cruise on this lake is another great opportunity for wildlife viewing while on a Rwanda wildlife safari.

Bird watching.

With a bird population of over 500 different bird species, Akagera national park is Africa’s bird haven worth encountering for all bird lovers, on an African birding expedition. The park is a resident of a number of Palearctic migrant birds, Zambezian biome bird species, water birds, papyrus endemics, over 40 raptor species, and more.  The morning and evening hours during the drive along the park’s savannah tracks are a great chance to view the cocktail of birds in Akagera national park.

Birds such as the grey crowned crane, goliath heron, African fish eagle, black-headed weaver, lilac-breasted roller, African jacana, white-browed coucal, fork-tailed drongo, saddle-billed stork, African grey hornbill, long-crested eagle, white-faced whistling duck, woodland kingfisher, palm nut vulture, cattle egret, little bee-eater, marabou stock, grey crowned crane, helmeted Guinea fowl, bare-faced go-away bird, goliath heron, spur-winged goose, little Egret, Osprey, Pin-tailed whydah and many others.

Sport fishing

For fish lovers, sport fishing is one activity not to miss on a Rwanda safari. The park is mainly served by water bodies that include rivers, papyrus water streams, and Lake Shakani. These are breeding grounds for a number of fish species. Fish lovers can hook up the various fish species found in the recreation centers. Common fish species caught in Lake Shakani include catfish, tilapia, and more.

Nature walks and hiking,

The beautiful flora and fauna of Akagera national park are fully witnessed while on a hike and nature walk through the savannah plains of the park. The beautiful wildlife and landscape are closely felt while on a walk through the park’s trails. The unreachable parts of the park are accessed while on a hike through the national park.

Cultural encounters.

Immerse in the cultural traditions of the surrounding communities around the national park. The surrounding communities are mainly dominated by cattle keepers.  Activities and processes regarding cattle grazing, milking and milk processing, and more. All are enjoyed by tourists that go beyond the physical attractions and wildlife of Akagera national park.

How to access Akagera national park?

Akagera national park can only be accessed from the southern gate, with the northern used only for existing. A road drive from Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda to Akagera national park takes approximately 2 hours using the Rwamagana – Kabuga road.

An air transfer is another option for tourists that prefer faster means to reach the national park.

Accommodation in Akagera national park.

A variety of accommodation facilities are available for the ranging tourists, from the Budget, midrange to luxury.  Some of these include; Akagera rhino lodge, Ruzizi tented lodge, Akagera Transit lodge, Akagera game lodge and Karenga Bush camp.

Related:

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