Established in 1934 to conserve animal and vegetation cover in eastern Rwanda, Akagera national park is the largest Savannah protected habitat that supports Savannah dwelling species in Rwanda and forms the largest protected wetland system in the whole of central Africa. Akagera National Park found in North Eastern Rwanda borders with Tanzania and derives its name from River Akagera that feeds the remarkable water eco system at the floor of Akagera national park dominated by swamps, small lakes plus Rwanda’s second largest Lake Ihema. Akagea River flows from the Eastern border and is considered one of the sources of the longest River Nile in the world.

Akagera national park also is comprised of rolling hills dominate in Rwanda, papyrus swamps, wetlands, open savannah patches, acacia woodland, and lakes which work together to form aastonishing eco system and spectacular scenery while on a Rwanda safari.

Facts and history about Akagera National park

Akagera national park now covers 1112sqkm in size but initially covered 2500sqkm but this all changed following the Rwanda genocide war. As a result in 1997, much of the land was lost to encroachment from Rwandans settling in from the war. Akagera lost much of its impressive biodiversity to refuges who harmed the conversation area with cultivation and poaching for food. Wildlife was killed for protein, the savannah plains for cattle, forests cut down for timber and much more. Much biodiversity was lost, rhinos which flourished in the park where hunt down to total extinction and lions disappeared.

In 2010, Akagera management company (AMC) was established consisting of the Rwanda Development Board and African parks to assume management of the park. This has brought about rise in the wildlife population through species reintroduction thanks to the new management.

In 2015, seven 7 lions where reintroduced in the park from South Africa and 2 male lions in 2017 to the growing pride which had tripled from 2015, 18 black rhinoceros where reintroduced in 2017, 26 Elephants from Bugesera also saw their return to the park and have increased to 90, Masai Giraffes were also introduced from Kenya and count over 60 in number which can all be seen on a Rwanda safari. Due to good management, reduced poaching and effective law enforcement now wildlife has seen arise in the park and tourism as well.

Biodiversity in Akagera National park on a Rwanda safari

Akagera national park hosts a variety of wildlife species which can be missed out of a Rwanda safari due to its diverse habitats. The range of mammals in Akagera national park include the Cape buffaloes, bohor reedbuck, zebras duiker, the topi, savannah dwelling elephants, klipspringer, bushbuck, deffassa waterbuck, the impala, oribi, roan antelope, eland , stitunga antelope the swamp lover antelope, predators such as the hyenas, lions, jackals, serval, leopards, and other species.


Akagera national park also house primates which include the vervet monkeys, olive baboons, bush babies, the rare blue monkeys, all which can be seen on a trip to Akagera.

The park is also a birder’s paradise since it hosts more than 500 bird species ranging from forest birds, Savannah birds, migratory birds, water loving birds some which are endemic to this place. Bird species include the swamp fly catchers, red faced barbets, rare papyrus gonolex, all found in Akagera national park.

What activities to do in Akagera National park

Game drives for anyone taking on a Rwanda safari to Akagera national park open to the treasures of the park and the wildlife mentioned above. Night game drives are also available to explore the nocturnal animals while they are searching out for dinner.

Birding in Akagera national park since the park hosts over 500 bird species.

Fishing can also be done on Lake Shakani with it countless fish, it an interesting activity since you fish alongside hippos in the waters of the lake and the catch can be used as a meal for the day.

Boat safari on Lake Ihema. A safari to Akagera national park rewards which a boat trip to the second largest lake in Rwanda Lake Ihema. The lake has one of the largest concentration of hippos in East Africa, see nile crocodiles and lots of water loving animals.

Getting to Akagera National park        

The main entry in Rwanda by air is through Kigali international airport. Akagera national park lies about 110km from the capital city Kigali. The park can be accessed by road which is about a 2 ½ hour drive. The drive takes you east to Rwamagana Kayonza to Kabarondo town. You then drive the last 28km on a dirty road heading to the park. The park gate is 500m from Akagera game lodge.

A 4X4 safari game drive is recommended from this trip. Contact Bowi Africa tours and travel to book your safari trip to Akagera national park.


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