Visit Akagera National Park
Akagera National Park is located in the northeast of Rwanda, around a 2.5-3 hour drive from Kigali, along the border with Tanzania and named after the river that flows along the eastern boundary. Since 2010, a joint venture with the African Parks organization has seen Akagera start to return to its former glories and in our opinion is emphatically worth visiting for at least 2 or 3 nights!
Although it would be a mistake to compare the wildlife viewing at Akagera to nearby Kenya and Tanzania, there are plenty of animals to see and a variety of activities. The largest attraction is certainly the fact that you are certainly off-the-beaten-track and safari in Rwanda means this is one reserve where you can happily drive for hours without seeing another vehicle. Akagera is without doubt also one of the most scenic African reserves, with a labyrinth of lakes of which the largest is Lake Ihema. It's forest-fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, rolling highlands, and savannah plains combine to make Akagera an unmissable part of this beautiful country.
It has exceptional levels of biodiversity and forms the largest protected wetland in central Africa. It houses a diversity of habitats in one park including lakes, marshes, savannah, mountains and woodland, which makes for spectacular scenery. Although founded in 1934, much of Akagera was re-allocated as farms and in 1997 the park was reduced in size from more than 2,500 sq km (nearly 10% of the surface area of Rwanda) to its current extent of 1,122 sq km.
Akagera combines well with Nyungwe and Volcanoes to offer a great safari element to any trip and as it is home to many large plains game species, as well as species restricted to the Papyrus swamps such as the Sitatunga and the sought-after Shoebill. Akagera plays host to larger predators such as Leopard, Hyena, Side-Striped Jackal and Lion, which was re-introduced last year and we encourage you to read the story of Akagera's lions. We reintroduced them in 2017 of the Black Rhino too, and this restored Akagera’s ‘Big 5’ status.
As a park under the guidance of African Parks Akagera has so much potential and by visiting you will be aiding in growing an important area of the country. We feel strongly about promoting the Rwanda safari industry and with camps like Ruzizi Tented Camp, Karenge Bush Camp and the new Magashi Camp (opening May 2019) these are a massive step forward in terms of offering a quality and authentic safari experience.