Akagera National Park Rwanda: Amazing Wildlife Safaris in Rwanda
Akagera National Park is a giant African wetland in Rwanda that acts as a safe haven for hippos, lions, leopards, and giraffes but this wasn’t always the case. The park has a long, grim history and has only recently bounced back to resemble its prior self.
First established in 1934, Akagera National Park is one of Africa’s oldest national parks, according to National Geographic; the expansive wetlands drew poachers, and in the early 1990s became a battleground. Following the war, new settlements including an estimated 700,000 cattle convened on the park, straining the ecosystem. In an effort to preserve the park while accommodating human life, the Akagera National Park was reduced by two-thirds in 1997 marking one of the largest reductions of conservation area size in modern African history.
In 2009, after the park continually struggled to return to its former state, the Rwandan government partnered with African Parks, an Africa-based nonprofit, to launch an ambitious conservation program. Today, Akagera is one of a select number of parks in Africa that boasts the Big Five including leopards, lions, Cape buffalo, elephants, rhinoceros and tourism are increasing. Visitors to the park can see wildlife and different bird species and get the African safari experience without dealing with the crowds that come with popular parks like Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
“Rwanda didn’t know what they had here,” said Jes Gruner, the park’s manager, to National Geographic. “It’s a little gem.”
Travelers can access Akagera National Park via the Kigali International Airport in Kigali, Rwanda. Entrance fees are $50 per person, per day for international visitors. To have a guide accompany you on the game drive the cost is $25 for a half day and $40 for a full day. So it depends on what you’re interested in and your budget. But once visited it will be an unforgettable experience.
A one day Akagera safari trip itinerary
Leave Kigali at 6am and drive for 2 hours to Akagera National Park, check in via the southern gate in Kayonza district and right away start your 5+ hour’s safari drive through the park. You explore different habitats as you drive from the south of the park to the north and along the way see a variety of wildlife and enjoy wonderful views. The north is the main animal watching area of the park where you will see more animals roaming the plains. It also has an exit gate, so after safari you shall have picnic lunch in the park, exit and drive back to Kigali, a 3 – 3.5 hours’ drive from the north of the park (Nyagatare District) to Kigali
Price of tour depending on number of people:
|Number of pax||1||2||3||4||5||6||7|
|Price per person||$490||$311||$253||$226||$208||$196||$188|
Price covers for: transportation
The Akagera National Park (French: Parc National de l’Akagera) covers 1,200 km² in eastern Rwanda, against the Tanzanian border. It was founded in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation in three eco-regions: savannah, mountain and swamp. The park is named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes the largest of which is Lake Ihema. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over 1/3 of the park and is the largest protected wetland in central Africa.
Much of the savannah area of the park was settled in the late 1990s by former refugees returning after the end of the Rwandan Civil War. Due to land shortages, in 1997 the western boundary was regazetted and much of the land allocated as farms to returning refugees. The park was reduced in size from over 2,500 km² to its current size. Although much of the best savannah grazing land is now outside the park boundaries, what remains of Akagera is some of the most diverse and scenic landscape in Africa.
In 2009 the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the African Parks Network entered into a 20 year renewable agreement for the joint management of Akagera. The Akagera Management Company was formed in 2010 as the joint management body for Akagera National Park.
Over the next 5 years a US$10 million expenditure is planned for Akagera including the construction of a 120 km western boundary fence and the reintroduction of lion and black rhino.