Set at a relatively low altitude on the border with Tanzania, Akagera National Park is different than the 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. Created in 1934 it covers an area of 2.500 kms.

Species. Akagera offers big game viewing, with herds of elephants and buffaloes emerging from the woodland to drink at the lakes, then other mammals include leopards, spotted hyenas and lions. Giraffes and zebras haunt the savannah, and more than a dozen types of antelope inhabit the park, most commonly the chestnut-coated impala, but also the oribi and bushbuck, as well as the ungainly tsessebe and the world’s largest antelope, the statuesque Cape eland. The lakes of Akagera are inhabited by hippos and crocodiles, a part from some of the continent’s densest concentrations of waterbirds. The connecting marshes are the haunt of the endangered and exquisite papyrus gonolek, and the bizarre shoebill stork.

Activities. The Park offers well developed trials for game drives. Also possible to arrange boat trips on the lakes along the Akagera river.