Akagera
National Park

One of Africa’s most exciting post-millennial conservation success stories, Akagera protects a lush and scenic landscape of hilly savannah lapped by a labyrinthine network of swamps and lakes associated with the Kagera River. Much of the park’s wildlife was devastated by poaching and encroachment in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, but since 2010, when management was taken over by an NGO called African Parks, Akagera has been transformed into a quality Big Five reserve that provides the ideal foil to Rwanda’s other two (predominantly forested) national parks. 

Discover Akagera National Park

Akagera is now a fully-fledged Big Five safari destination. Visitors are almost certain to see elephant and buffalo, while lion and black rhino, reintroduced in 2015 and 2017 respectively, are encountered with growing frequency. The ever-elusive leopard is sometimes observed on night drives. 

Akagera protects a tremendous diversity of other large mammals, including zebra, giraffe, warthog, olive baboon and 11 antelope species, ranging from the hulking eland to the tiny oribi. 

The bird checklist of almost 500 species is largely complementary to Nyungwe, the country’s other top ornithological destination. Aquatic and woodland-associated birds are particularly well represented and include the country’s largest concentrations of raptors as well as the bizarre shoebill, exquisite papyrus gonolek and localized red-faced barbet. 

Boat trips on Lake Ihema not only offer great birding but also usually yield close encounters with hippos and crocodiles. 

Educational activities offered to those seeking deeper insights into the park’s human interface include a community cultural experience in a bordering village, a behind-the-scenes conservation tour, and a 7km walk-the-line excursion with the rangers who patrol the boundary daily

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