Akagera National Park


This nation­al park is locat­ed in East­ern Rwan­da. It acquired its name from the Riv­er Kagera. Riv­er Kagera is equal­ly sit­u­at­ed in East­ern Rwan­da to which it drains its water in Lake Ihe­ma and oth­er Rwan­da small lakes. It is a large nation­al park and great­ly a savan­nah land which spans 2,500 square kilo­me­ters. The savan­nah in Akagera Nation­al Park is com­prised of scat­tered aca­cia trees with vast lands cov­ered by savan­nah grass. Scat­tered wet­lands and lakes are also present in the nation­al park.

·       His­to­ry.

This Nation­al Park came to be known as Akagera Nation­al Park in 1934. Akagera Nation­al Park was sta­ble until 1994 when the Rwan­da geno­cide occurred. Hun­dreds of Rwan­da res­i­dents sought refuge in these aban­doned wild lands to escape the cru­el inhu­mane per­pe­tra­tors of the geno­cide. The cri­sis led to mas­sive destruc­tion of the Park’s veg­e­ta­tion such as wood­lands as the vic­tims of the geno­cide looked for tim­ber to build new hous­es. The small woods were sim­i­lar­ly on high demand for fire­wood for cook­ing. The herders had migrat­ed with their cat­tle which they start­ed graz­ing with­in the nation­al park. This grad­u­al­ly occa­sioned push­ing away of the sur­viv­ing wildlife with­in the park to far lands such as D.R Con­go. The gov­ern­ment of Rwan­da entered an agree­ment in 2010, with the Africa Parks Net­work. With sup­port from Howard Buf­fet Foun­da­tion, their role was to fur­ther wildlife con­ser­va­tion with­in Akagera Nation­al Park. It also rein­tro­duced the Rhi­noc­er­os and lions. The main admin­is­tra­tion of the Nation­al Park has been impor­tant in curb­ing the poach­ing activ­i­ties that had been ram­pant pri­or to 2010. The big five mam­mals have suc­cess­ful­ly been main­tained and pre­served. Akagera Nation­al Park gen­er­al­ly flour­ish­es and this is evi­denced in the high tourism lev­els annu­al­ly. Also to note, the co-oper­a­tion agree­ment led to works of regain­ing the lands of Akagera Nation­al Park that had been encroached.

·       Unique­ness.

It’s the only Savan­nah nation­al park with­in the coun­try. The savan­nah grass­lands are the home to hun­dreds of fau­na. The big five game ani­mals are sit­u­at­ed with­in this Nation­al Park and inter­est the hun­dreds of tourists that vis­it Rwan­da. Akagera is also the only nation­al park in Rwan­da with numer­ous scat­tered water bod­ies and this there­fore increas­es the avail­able tourist activities.


·       Attrac­tions.

Ø  Wildlife.

A tourist with a keen inter­est of tour­ing the big five mam­mals shouldn’t look any fur­ther while in Rwan­da. It’s the only nation­al park in the coun­try with the known Big Five. They are all present in Akagera. Buf­fa­los are in large num­bers. Ele­phants, Zebras, Giraffes, and lions alike. Leop­ards, Sitatun­ga antelopes, bush­buck, klip­springer, mon­goose, Cape eland, hye­nas, Side-stripped jack­als, top­is, duik­er, warthogs, oribis, impala, roan antelopes, and many oth­er land mam­mals are all present. The lakes with­in the nation­al park such as Lake Ihe­ma attract hip­popota­mus and a few croc­o­diles. The night dri­ves always sight bush babies as they hunt for food. There are equal­ly a few pri­mates and the com­mon ones are the Olive baboons, and blue monkeys.

Ø  Birds.

Being a savan­nah Park, most of its birds are low­land birds. The Park has over 400 bird species. The nation­al park also has water bod­ies such as wet­lands and Lakes. These also attract many of the water bird species. Some of these are the Shoe­bill, Pied Crow, Papyrus Gonolek, Fan-tailed Wid­ow­bird, Red-faced bar­bet, Egrets, Viellot’s Black Weavers, Papyrus Gonolek, Carruther’s Cis­ti­co­la, Swamp war­bler, Hada­da Ibis, Open-billed stork, Squacco herons, Blue tura­cos, Marabou stork, Grey crowned crane, Eagles, African Darter, and many more.

Ø  Lakes.

There are lakes with­in the Akagera Nation­al Park that inter­est the tourists such as Lakes Ihe­ma, Rwanakizin­ga, Gis­han­ju, Shakani, and Mihindi.

·       Activ­i­ties with­in Akagera Nation­al Park.

Ø  Sport fish­ing on Lakes Ihe­ma and Mihindi.

Ø  Game drives.

Ø  Bird watching.

Ø  Nature walks.

Ø  Boat cruis­es on Lake Ihema.

Ø  Cul­tur­al tours around Akagera Nation­al Park.



·       How to get there.

Get­ting to Akagera Nation­al Park for tourists from Kigali is by a dri­ve to Rwa­ma­gana. To reach the entrance of Akagera, tourists spend an aver­age of 2 hours dri­ving from Kigali. Tourists should be aware of which gate to enter Akagera from. Entrance into Akagera Nation­al Park is from the South­ern gate. As the bud­gets serve the tourist, they can resort to tak­ing flights with the Akagera Avi­a­tion to the nation­al park.

·       When to visit.

Being a savan­nah area, the best time to vis­it Akagera Nation­al Park is when the sun shines the bright­est. This often hap­pens twice annu­al­ly. There are two dry sea­sons in Rwan­da. The first being from July to August, while the sec­ond dry sea­son runs from Decem­ber to Feb­ru­ary. The game dri­ves with­in the peri­ods are excep­tion­al and the tourists get clear views of the park lands. Vis­i­bil­i­ty of all pos­si­ble ani­mals is there­fore amaz­ing as more ani­mals are drown to the open lands dur­ing these dry seasons.

·       Accom­mo­da­tion.

Ø  Akagera Game Lodge.

Ø  Ruz­izi Tent­ed Camp.

Ø  Mag­a­shi Game Lodge.

Ø  Karenge Bush Camp.

Ø  Dere­va Hotel.







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