Location of Akagera National Park
Location of Akagera National Park; Akagera National Park in Rwanda is located in the eastern part of Rwanda, about 2-3 hours from the country’s capital Kigali. The park that covers an area of 1122 sq kilometers is next to Kibungu city, west of the famous Akagera River.
The park is a protected area and is along the Rwanda-Tanzania border (Location), that is separated by Lake Ihema which feeds on water from the Akagera River. To get to the park you have to, first of all, be in Rwanda, the entry points for Rwanda are either by air through the Kigali international airport or through the Uganda Rwanda border.
From your entry point you will travel by road to Rwanda’s capital Kigali and from Kigali you will travel by road still; 2 – 3 hours east to Akagera National Park. Road is the only option for you to get to the park; as they are no domestic flights to the park.
Akagera National park was founded in 1934 but because of the genocide that happened in the 90s the park was damaged and lost most of its animals. After the genocide the park continued to deteriorate because as people returned to the area, they settled in some of the parkland, encroaching on the wild animal’s habitat. This further chased away the animals and most of them died because of lack of food or being killed by the locals as they protected themselves.
In 2009 through a partnership with Rwanda Development Board, African parks took on management of the park and has since been in efforts to revived it to its original glory. Through the Akagera management company that was formed after the partnership, the park has seen several face-lifting and wildlife projects that have boasted the park’s facilities and activities to make it one of the top wildlife destinations in East Africa.
The works on the park have also boasted the conservation of wildlife in the park and the nature of the park, through enforcing laws on poaching and trespass on the park plus constructing a fence around the park that keeps intruders away from the park. This had helped keep animals in the park and also keep their habitat suitable for them to survive.
Furthermore, more animals have been introduced in the park; since 2015, the park has received lions, rhinos, elephants among other animals. The introduction of these animals has greatly grown the variety of animals in the park, with animals that were not in the park before introduced in the park. Also the number of animals in the park has grown from 4000 animals in 2010 to about 13,500 animals living in the park as of end of 2018.
The park is made up of savannah and montane vegetation, papyrus swamps and several water bodies that all contribute to the beauty of the park. The park is the perfect home to a wide range of animal species, bird species and tree species. The park’s most famous feature is Lake Ihema which is the second largest lake in Rwanda and the largest lake in Akagera National park. Lake Ihema is feed by waters from river Akagera the flows into the river and continues on to Tanzania.
AKagera National Park was famously known for its numerous wild dogs that used to live in the park, at one point it was known as the hub of wild dogs, however to the park’s dismay an epidemic in the 1980s and killed the wild dogs to extinctions, it is reported that by 1984 the park had no wild dogs.
9 years after the creation of the Akagera management company, Akagera National Park, is now a tourist hub, with thousands of tourists travelling to the park for different activities like game drives that take place in the morning, afternoon or for the whole day. The game drives, give a tourist an opportunity to see all the 13,500 plus animals that live in the park and depending on the game drive you do, you will see the majority of the diurnal animals roaming around or hunting for food in the wild or you will majority of nocturnal animals running into their sleeping nests after a night’s hunt; this is id for the afternoon and morning game drives respectively.
On a morning game drive you will also see the over 500 bird species, flying out their nests heading to the eating hubs or hunting hubs look for food. Birding in Akagera can also be done on while on a boat cruise on the lake Ihema; these boat cruises give you a relaxing ride on the lake as you view several water birds, water animals, and other wildlife as they stand along the shores of the lake or as they take water from the lake.
While in the park, you can also engage in sport fishing, nature and community walks that will enrich your knowledge and understanding of the Rwandan cultures of the people around or next to the Akagera National park, plus if you are up to it you can also engage in the cattle keeping activities with the locals to add more spice to your Akagera Rwanda safari.
The communities around Akagera National Park are cattle keeping communities that engage in traditional cattle keeping activities that include, grazing, cattle spotting, cattle keeping, milking, traditional milk processing and preservation, milk storage among other activities.
You will be sure to take some milk and other dairy products when you visit the communities around the park and you will learn more and new things about cattle keeping and milk production that will blow your mind.
All these features make Akagera National Park, a top destination for wildlife viewing and bird watching especially for birding enthusiasts.
With the well-furnished accommodation facilities around the park or a few minutes from the park; that that cater perfectly for all your sleeping, feeding and other needs, you are assured of not only having the best wildlife safari in the Akagera national park but also the best places to rest after the exciting activities in the park.