AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
This a protected area in the eastern part of Rwanda with an area of 1122 square kilometers, 433 square miles bordering Tanzania.it was established in 1934 and include, savannah, montane and swamp habitants. It was named after the River Kagera that flows along the eastern boundary into Lake Ihema and other lakes until Uganda. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over a third of the park, which is the largest protected wetland in Eastern and Central Africa.
What you have to know about this national park
The national park was founded in 1934 by the Belgian government that had occupied Rwanda. The park was 2500kms at the start. The national park used to have the largest number of the wild dogs and it was called ‘’Parc Aux Lycaons’’ and wild dogs were so many in this area that the Belgium government considered them as pests. Though there is a disease that killed all of them and the last dog was seen in 1985. The black Rhinos were then introduced from Tanzania by 1957 and in 1970s more than 50 black Rhinos were introduced in this national park. Due to poaching the number reduced and the last kind was seen in 2007. The Masai giraffes were introduced from Kenya and the number had grown in the previous years. By 1990 this national park was said to have over 280 lions though after the civil wars they were killed by people who came back as farmer and settled in these parks. The protective organization was formed in 2010 called Akagera Management Company. Over 10 million US dollars has been spent to increase security on the park with the help of the Howard Buffet Foundation and the main aim was to increase the security, re-introduce the locally extinct species. The fence was constructed of 120km, trained rhino trackers, protection of the canine anti-poaching unit.
In 2005 seven lions were introduced from South Africa, there has been introduction of lionesses as donation from a private game reserve Phinda Game Reserve, and the Zwazulu’s Tembe Elephant Park also donated two male lions. This effort was described as the ground for the opening of the conservation effort for both park and the Country. By 2015, the lion population has grown to 40 animals.
By 2017 the 18 black Rhinos from South Africa were introduced by the joint operation of the Rwandan Development Board and African Parks and because these are present it makes it home for both big 5. Lions elephants, buffalos, Rhinos, leopards. By 2019 the park also got 5 eastern black Rhinos from different zoos from Europe UK and Denmark that’s 3 females and 2 males and by 2021, 30 white Rhinos were also introduced from South Africa largest single Phinda Private Reserve and this made it a super National Park
The latest animal survey found out that the number of big animals in Akagera National Park has increased in 2010, 4000 to 13500 by 2018 animas and a total number of 44000 visited the park by 2018
Attractions in Akagera National Park
The attractions in this national park include
Attractions in in Akagera conducted in 2010 and 2013 and the outcome indicated that a positive trend in the rise of this national parks wildlife species has increased. And the animal species include, lions, elephants, black and white Rhinos, zebras, giraffes, Sitatunga antelopes, roan antelopes, duikers water bucks, cape buffalos and may others
This area is also known for over 500 different bird species including Papyrus gonolek and the shoe bill stork. The park supports 44 raptor species, the Palearctic
Because it’s a swamp and mostly located in a river passing through it watering a number of lakes like lake Ihema, River Kagera, Lake Rwanyakiziga, lake Shakani, Lake Mihindi lake Gishanju from the wetland system
ACTIVITIES AT AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
This the top activity and if someone doesn’t get involved in this action, then he/ she has seen nothing. You will see different animals like antelopes, zebras, lions, elephants, rhinos and many others
For the one who want to see the animal hunting or the predators, you should get involved in the night drives where animals like lions, hyenas, are seen hunting for prey at the nigh.
This national park recorded over 500 different bird species that can be seen within the swamps and the vegetation of the park where they establish their nest and some are seen on the water bodies looking for food. Some of the animals here include, African fish eagle, open billed stork, egrets, cormorants, Senegal lapwing, African dater and many others. These are also seen at lake Shakani and Ihema.
This is so interesting when you hire a boat and get involved in this activity. This is done on lake Shakani, lake Ihema and others and the activity can be done in the morning and the evening. Here you can watch the animals mostly herbivore at the plains and others at the swamps, like buffalos, rhinos and many others you can still watch the birds in the boat cruise including those mostly concentrating on water to pick food like African fish eagle, African jacana, American dipper and many others. Some animals are also seen at the shores of lake taking water like elephants.
There are other many activities carried out at the park including, cultural experiences, nature walks, sport fishing and many others
How to get to Akagera National Park
The national park is situated in the eastern region of Rwanda with Kibugo as the Nearest city, the park is reached by both air and road transport.
Road Transport: from the Kigali the capital city, its 135 kilometers and this may take 2-3 hours and from Kibungo Rwamagana it is a 1-hour drive straight to main gate of the Akagera National Park.
It’s safer to use the 4x4d cars to help navigate through the slippery routes to the park. There is no domestic flight to Akagera straight though Akagera Aviation offers helicopter that may take less than 30 minutes straight to Akagera National Park.
This national park has a variety of accommodation facilities with well trained workers with both local and international foods though some foods are being prepared on odder. Some of these include, Shakani Campsite at the shores of lake Shakani, Mulumba Camp site, Mulumba Campsite on a ridge close to Kayonza park entrance with views of lake Ihema and lake Shakani.