Akagera National Park

AkageraNational Park found in eastern Rwanda covers an area of 1,200 km², along the Tanzanian boarder. Founded in 1934 to conserve plants and animals in the three Eco-regions of Savannah, Mountain and Swamp, the park is named after the Kagera River that flows along its eastern periphery into several lakes, the biggest being Lake Ihema.  The multifaceted structure of lakes and connecting papyrus swamplands make up about three quarters of the park qualifying it as the biggest conserved swamp in central Africa.

Subjugated to the east by the warren of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River,  the most distant source of the Nile, this is a diverse scenery of twisted acacia forest interspersed with  open grassland, high rolling hills along the western boundary and patches of thick forest.

Akagera Park is a home to large herds of buffalo, giraffe and zebra move across the savannah, by chance, visitors may hook a glimpse of elephants emerging from the forest to take water at the lakes. Other animal species at the park include dozens of antelope, oribi and bushbuck, as well as the topi, the world’s largest antelope and the cape eland. Spotting leopard and hyena is also possible on a night game drive as well as other nocturnal animals. Hippos and crocodiles are certainly seen on a boat trip in Akagera lakes, Ihema.

The biggest part of the savannah zone of the park was settled in the late 1990s by former refugees returning following the end of the Rwanda Civil War. As a result of land shortages, the western boundary was degazzated in 1997 and the biggest portion of the land was converted into farmland for returning refugees. This therefore made the park to reduce in size by slight above a half from over 2,500 km² then to its present size of 1,200 km². Even though much of the best savannah grazing land is now outside the park margins, the remaining part that makes up Akagera National Park is one of the most diverse and attractive sceneries in Africa.

In the year 2009, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and African Parks Network went into a 20-year renewable contract for the dual administration of Akagera National Park and as a result, the Akagera Management Company was set up in 2010 as a joint management entity for the park.

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