Akagera National Park is one of the national parks in Rwanda and the only place for wildlife tours or game drives in the country. The protected area is in eastern Rwanda covering 1,122 square kilometers (433 sq mi) along the border with Tanzania.
Akagera National Park is named after the Kagera River which flows along with its eastern boundary feeding into Lake Ihema and several smaller lakes. With the complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps, this is the largest protected wetland in Eastern-Central Africa.
During the time of the formation of Akagera National Park for Rwanda wildlife safaris, it used to have a large population of African wild dogs. However, an epidemic diminished the population, and the last wild dogs were sighted in 1984. With the loss of lots of wildlife in the park, reintroduction programs were set up and these have been very successful making the country a top Rwanda tour destination and Big Five host. In 1957, black rhinos were introduced from Tanzania, and Masai giraffes were reintroduced from Kenya in 1986.
In 2009 the Rwanda Development Board and the African Parks Network entered into a 20-year renewable agreement for the joint management of Akagera National Park for Rwanda wildlife safaris. Akagera Management Company was formed in 2010 as the joint management body for the park. In July 2015 seven lions from South Africa were introduced and released in the park. Since then the lion population has grown to more than 40 of them in the park.
In 2017, 18 Eastern black rhinoceroses were reintroduced into the park from South Africa. Three more eastern black rhinoceros were introduced into the park in 2019. Today Akagera National Park is home to all of the sought-after African Big Five wild animals which are the Buffaloes, Rhinos, Elephants, Lions, and Leopards.
Akagera is a much preferable East African destination since it is one of the closest wildlife parks to the country’s national Airport-Kigali International Airport. It is just about a 3-hour drive to the park from the Airport. You also spot other wild animals like giraffes, zebras, and hippos.
During Akagera National Park wildlife tours and game drives, tourists are accompanied by knowledgeable driver guides. Always ensure to remain in the safari car all through the game drive. For long game drives, carry snacks and enough drinking water.
A very scenic and beautiful land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is one of the increasingly popular African safari destinations. Known as a small and beautiful country formed of several scenic hills, the country may not be that typical African safari destination but still home to several wild species that can be spotted on safari.
Other activities that can be done during a safari in Rwanda include gorilla trekking Rwanda, golden monkey trekking and hiking in the Volcanoes National Park, chimpanzee trekking, canopy walking, and nature walking in Nyungwe National Park, birding in all of the parks, and cultural tours.
In case you want to have an experience of sighting millions of wildlife then Tanzania wildlife safaris and Kenya safari tours are a great pick with visits specifically to Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara Game Reserve respectively.
This is because these two habitats host the wildebeest migration which is the largest concentration of wildlife ever seen in the world. These are not the only destinations, other parks can also be visited all through the country as well as Uganda safari destinations.