Gorilla trekking takes center stage in Rwanda. But, it’s the rehabilitation of the once-famous Akagera National Park which promises to secure the country’s position as one of the finest wildlife hubs in Africa. Located in northeast Rwanda, the park once protected nearly 10-percent of the country. It was considered one of the best reserves on the continent after its founding in 1934. Following the conclusion of the Rwandan Civil War in the late 1990s, Akagera National Park saw its savannahs overtaken by refugees who resettled new villages. The refugees facilitated poaching and environmental degradation. As a result, they decimated Akagera’s wildlife population and reduced it by half.

Akagera’s Revival

Then in 2010, the Rwandan government began working alongside African Parks to return Akagera National Park to its former glory. They implemented strict conservation laws and invested in luxury tented camps. They reintroduced wildlife back into the park. The fruits of these efforts are evident: an estimated 90 elephants now live in the park, as well as healthy masses of buffalo and hippos. Of the primates, olive baboons and vervet monkeys are very common. The blue monkey—once thought to have been extinct in Akagera—was recently rediscovered. Akagera National Park also released seven Transvaal lions from South Africa into its boundaries. They are the first lions to live in Rwanda in 15 years. It is a conservation milestone for both the park and the country.

Wildlife populations of Akagera National Park are growing, but the park’s strongest draw remains its unique ecology. Akagera is among the most scenic and diverse reserves in all Africa. There you’ll find an African savannah landscape of tangled acacia woodland and open grassland. Between the savannah and chains of jagged mountains, forest-fringed lakes fill immense swamps. A complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps make up one-third of the park. As the largest protected wetland in central Africa, it provides a home to some of the continent’s densest concentrations of water birds.

Don’t Miss Akagera National Park

A visit to Akagera National Park compliments any gorilla trekking safari. Take a boat trip along the shores of Rwanda’s second-largest lake, Lake Ihema. Soak up the park’s splendid nature in complete peace and isolation. Akagera National Park has seen a revival, but the tourists have yet to arrive. Contact Ker & Downey today to book your next Rwanda safari in Akagera.