Akagera National Park has a troubled history. The local population hardly accepted the existence of this natural area and has been fighting for the land since the beginning. It all started in 1934 when a large natural area – 2500 sq km – was closed in order to protect the precious local fauna. The many farmers and shepherds of the region, though, lost the territory they used for their animals and cultivations, so they started protesting.
Protests never stopped, in years, and today the park’s surface is reduced to 900 sq km only. It is large enough, anyway, to keep wild animals in safe conditions, and free. The tragic civil war of Rwanda, in the 1990s, led many refugees to settle inside the protected area of the park. Today, tourism is the new economic engine that is trying to recover Rwanda’s life, but people still pretend to stay inside the Akagera Park.
Akagera and its territory
The territory of Akagera National Park stretches along the shores of river Kagera, in the eastern part of Rwanda. It consists of rain forests, mountain forests, rain plateaus, savannahs and many small lakes. This is the habitat for most of the typical wild African animals tourists come looking for. This is why Akagera is the perfect place for safari, in Rwanda.
Not too far from the capital city, Kigali, the park is set at the end of a state road that goes through stunning landscapes. So your perfect safari will start immediately, as soon as you leave the International Airport. This is maybe the only place in Africa that offers such a privilege to its visitors.
What to see at Akagera
Akagera is the typical landscape for safaris. People come here in order to admire animals, and they will meet many: spotted hyenas, leopards, lions (reintroduced in 2015). There are many groups of elephants, and zebras are also very common over here. You will also see: topi, antelopes, impalas, giraffes, black rhinoceros and especially hippopotami – the greatest number in Africa!
Over 500 birds have their habitat at Akagera as well, so birdwatching is one of the main activities. Tourists can also: explore the beautiful lakes, especially Lake Ihema; go sailing on the lakes; go fishing; enjoy night safaris. There is a special corridor created in order to avoid animals’ attacks: tourists will walk along a large strip, protected by solar energy electrified fences, and admire the wildlife around.
Local tribes keep on living at the park, so foreigners can meet the people and share experience, taste their food, listen to their stories and have a nice community experience.
More information about Akagera Park
There are entrance tickets in order to visit Akagera National Park, you can check the long list here.
To get to Akagera, you must drive for 2 and a half hours, from the capital city Kigali. There are special taxis operating everyday services from the airport to the park, or from your hotel to the park. Many tour operators organize safaris that start from Kigali and will take tourists to the park on their 4×4 jeep cars.