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Akagera National Park

The Rwanda’s Akagera National Park located to the east of the country with the views of the plains of Tanzania stretches over a geographical size 1122 km2 and it is being managed under the arrangement of public private partnership arrangement of the Rwanda Development Board and the African Parks from 2010.

The park derives its name from the famous Akagera River considered as one of the remote sources of River Nile the world’s longest River. The Akagera River traverses the park  feeding into an extensive lake system that mark the floor of Akagera National Park among which include the Rwanda’s second largest Lake Ihema explored on Rwanda Safaris.

Map of Akagera National Park
Map of Akagera National Park

The remarkable rolling hills dotted by Brachystegia and acacia Woodland intercepted by the patches of open grassland and series of Lakes fringed by swamps offers magical views in the park. Akagera National Park is considered the largest National Park in the destination Rwanda and most importantly the major savannah habitat that supports species of flora and fauna that dwell in the savannah habitats. Akagera National Park is not exceptional to the trend of the Rwanda’s hilly landscape that has earned it the naming as the land of thousand hills. The Park features the rising Mutumba hills that stretch to 2,000m in elevation presenting the scenic views of the features like lakes, rivers, open plains and the swamps below.

Established in 1934, the Akagera National Park was initially 2,500km2 in size but faced considerable encroachment following the Rwandan civil war. As a result, the park was degazetted settle the Rwandans who were returning home after the war. The Akagera National Park features impressive levels of biodiversity which is greatly favored by the varied vegetation zones. The extensive systems of fresh water coupled by Papyrus swamps form one of the extensive wetland systems in Central Africa. The aspect of Species re-introduction has also played a considerable role in in enhancing bio-diversity in the park including the following;

A count of seven (7) lions were re-introduced to the park from South Africa And Beyond Phinda Reserve and the Tembe Elephant Reserve and arrived in the Akagera National Park at the onset of July 2015. This was after fifteen (15) of lion’s absence in Rwanda following their extinction as a result of poisoning by cattle herders that had returned to the country after the genocide.

The Masaai Giraffes were also introduced to Akagera National Park from Kenya in 1986 and are apparently over 60 in population and are encountered on safaris in Rwanda.

Seven Black Rhinos were introduced to the park in 1958 and 1959 and though they had flourished to over 50 in the 1970s, they suffered total extinction in 1980s.

The Elephants had got extinct in the year 1961 from Akagera National Park but were later restocked by trans-locating those that were at Bugesera since the population in Bugesera was steadily increasing threatening their continued existence. The 26 elephants were trans-located especially young ones as the technology was not all that advanced to facilitate the relocation of adult ones as well. In return, the adult ones were phased out. The elephants have increased to 90.

Attractions in Akagera National Park encountered in Safaris in Rwanda

Wildlife in Akagera National Park explored on Safaris in Rwanda

The two consecutive Ariel counting were conducted by the park management at Akagera National Park in the years 2010 along with 2013 accordingly and the results showed a positive trend in the increase of wildlife populations in the park. The Akagera National Park is notably a destination with rich habitat that supports extensive plain thriving Species along with Species that are restricted to papyrus wetlands including the elusive Sitatunga scientifically referred to as Tragelaphus spekei along with the Vulnerable Shoe bill Stork referred to as Balaeniceps rex.

akagera national park wildlife
akagera national park wildlife

The Akagera National Park supports a range of other wild including the savanna elephant scientifically referred to as Loxodonta africana, the topi scientifically referred  to as Damaliscus lunatus topi, the Cape buffalo scientifically referred to as Syncerus caffer, the zebra scientifically referred to as Equus quagga boehmi, the roan antelope scientifically referred to as Hippotragus equinus, the defassa waterbuck scientifically referred to as Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa along with the eland scientifically referred to as Taurotragus oryx. The counts of other Species include; the duiker scientifically referred at Sylvicapra grimmia, the bohor reedbuck scientifically referred to as Redunca redunca, the oribi scientifically referred to as Ourebia ourebi, the klipspringer scientifically referred to as Oreotragus oreotragus, the impala scientifically referred to as Aepyceros melampus along with the bushbuck scientifically referred to as Tragelaphus scriptus.

akagera national park baboons
akagera national park baboons

The Akagera National Park features considerable species of primate including the olive baboons scientifically referred to as Papio Anubis, the vervet monkeys scientifically referred to as Chlorocebus pygerythus. The Sights of blue monkey scientifically referred to as Cercopithecus mitis exist but rare, the night dwelling Galago or the Bush babies exist in the park and can be viewed in Rwanda safaris.

The Akagera National Park supports a range of large predators which include the lions, the Hyenas, the leopards along with small predators like side-striped jackal, the mongoose species, serval (Leptailurus serval) along with the viverrid species.

Birds in Akagera National Park explored on Safaris in Rwanda

akagera national park birds
akagera national park birds

The Rwanda safari destination of Akagera National Park supports about 500 bird species among which include the impressive papyrus gonolek (Laniarius mufumbiri) and a range of other water dwelling birds. There are 44 species of raptor; the Palearctic migrants like the Gallinago media, Falco naumanni and the Glareola nordmanni have been recorded. The Akagera creates the northern top most extension of Zambezian biome species including the Myrmecocichla arnotti, Lanius souzae and Cisticola angusticauda. The park features one Guinea – Congo Forest biome Species and the 7 Afro-tropical Highlands biome Species.

Water bodies in Akagera National Park explored on Safaris in Rwanda

Water bodies in Akagera National Park
Water bodies in Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park features a range of swamp fringing lakes and the Akagera National Park supports a range of aquatic thriving fauna and the most extensive protected wetland system in Central Africa. The range of lakes include the Rwanda’s second largest Lake Ihema, the beautiful Lake Shakani known for its counts of fish, Lake Gishanju, Lake Rwanyakizinga along with Lake Mihindi. These water masses support aquatics like the concentration of Hippos, the second largest Reptile in the world – Nile crocodile and great counts of fish.  Akagera National Park is also traversed by River Akagera which flows along its eastern boundary before penetrating Tanzania and Uganda to empty its waters in Lake Victoria which is the largest lake of its stature on the African Continent

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