“Akagera, with its complex mix of terrain, vegetation and animal life… is a very special place on earth, a place to preserve at all costs for future generations.”
(- Jean Pierre Vande, writing in the award-winning conservation magazine Africa Environment & Wildlife).
Akagera comes as a thrilling amazement after the steep cultivated hills and windy climate that characterizes the rest of the country. Set at a relatively low altitude along the Tanzanian border, this beautiful game reserve protects superior African Savannah scenery of snarled acacia and brachystegia bush, interspersed with patches of open grassland and a dozen swamp-fringed lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River.
Akagera is essentially a big game country where herds of elephant and buffalo emerge from the woodland to drink at the lakes, while lucky visitors might limp across a leopard, a spotted hyena laughing or even a stray lion. Giraffe and zebra frequent the Savannah, and more than a dozen types of antelope inhabit the park, most commonly the handsome chestnut-coated impala, but also the diminutive oribi and secretive bushbuck, as well as the ungainly tsessebe and the world’s largest antelope, the statuesque Cape eland.
Linings of the lake are some of the continent densest concentrations of water birds, 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.
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.
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.