Akagera National Park

Akagera NP is located in the east of Rwanda along the Akagera river which is the natural border with Tanzania. The park was created in 1936 and was once in terms of natural beauty, landscape, scenery and animal life, one of the best national parks. The National Park has been de-gazetted by two-thirds of its original territory due to human pressure.

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Safaris featuring this park

Wildlife has also been considerably reduced during the war by heavy poaching. The park has still a remarkable selection of birdlife with over 500 bird species in its swamps and wetlands along the Akagera River.

Set at a relatively low altitude on the border with Tanzania, Akagera National Park could scarcely be more different in mood to the breezy cultivated hills that characterise much of Rwanda. Dominated scenically by the labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River, the most remote source of the Nile, this is archetypal African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open grassland.

By the 1960s, the Park formed part of a much larger ecosystem that included Uganda's Kikagati Game Reserve, Lake Mburo National Park, and rangeland areas north to the Katonga River (Uganda). Across the Akagera River to the east, the ecosystem extended into Tanzania's Ibanda and Rumanyika Game Reserves, with corridors of relatively unsettled wood and bushland linking these areas to the Biharamulo and Burigi Game Reserves farther south, between Lake Victoria and the Rwanda border.

Today, the Akagera-Lake Mburo ecosystem is fragmented and its wildlife populations are confined to small, disturbed enclaves. Akagera NP and Lake Mburo NP, which are surrounded by cattle ranches, have been both reduced. Uganda’s Katonga WR is also isolated by surrounding villages, and its wildlife populations have been virtually extirpated.  On the Tanzania side, human settlements block wildlife corridors to Biharamulo and Burigi. Thus, the protection of Akagera is critically important for the conservation of the remnants of this unique and diverse biotic community.

Camping alongside the picturesque lakes of Akagera is a truly mystical introduction to the wonders of the African bush. Pods of 50 hippopotami grunt and splutter throughout the day, while outsized crocodiles soak up the sun with their vast jaws menacingly agape. Magically, the air is torn apart by the unforgettable high duetting of a pair of fish eagles, asserting their status as the avian monarchs of Africa's waterways. Lining the lakes are some of the continent’s densest concentrations of waterbirds, while the connecting marshes are the haunt of the endangered and exquisite papyrus gonolek, and the bizarre shoebill stork - the latter perhaps the most eagerly sought of all African birds.

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