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Rwanda

Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park
Giraffe on Akagera plain
Sunset over an Akagera lake
Akagera Boat
Akagera Wildlife

Situated in north-eastern Rwanda, spanning 2,500 square kilometres, Akagera National Park is unlike any other wildlife sanctuary in Rwanda. While it does possess a range of mountains, they are low, wooded and hardly dominate. Composed mostly of plains and swamp, it is much more reminiscent of the kind of wildlife habitats found in Kenya and Tanzania.

Giraffe on Akagera plain

First established in 1934 by the Belgian authorities, the park takes its name from Akagera River. Understandably, it has not always been at the top of Rwanda’s list of concerns, and suffered heavy bouts of wartime poaching, as well as losing a great deal of land to local communities. However, the park is recovering, and remains a fine location.

Especially good during the dry season, when great numbers of impala, giraffe, giant eland, duiker, antelope and zebra are drawn to its lakes and waterways, Akagera National Park is home to lion, spotted hyena and leopard. Indeed, such is the richness of its plains, it quite easily supports good sized populations of elephant, buffalo and hippo. More, it is worth noting that Akagera’s marshes attract an extraordinary range of birdlife, and are known for the relatively rare Shoebill Stork.

Sunset over an Akagera lake

The park has recently taken great steps towards the re-introduction of species temporarily extinct in Rwanda; in 2015 seven lions were released into the park (they had been absent from the country for 15 years) and in 2017 twenty Eastern black rhinoceroses were introduced, the first in 10 years.

Best visited May through to November, Akagera National Park brings a distinctly east African feel to an itinerary that might otherwise appear too heavily weighted in favour of mountains, apes and the city.

Climate Information

Rwanda is a landlocked country. Bordered in the north by Uganda, to the west by Tanzania, in the south by Burundi, to the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it consists of a plateau that falls from west to east, from 4,500m at its highest point to around 1000m at its lowest, and is characterised by two tropical climate types: moist and wet-dry.

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