Akagera National Park – Wildlife Park in Rwanda

Akagera National Park is located at a relatively low altitude in the eastern part of Rwanda along the Tanzanian border, the park could barely be more different in mood to the breezy cultivated hills that portray much of Rwanda. The park is dominated to the east by the labyrinth of swamps and lakes that follow the meandering course of the Akagera River, the most remote source of River Nile, this is the diverse landscape of tangled acacia forest scattered with open grassland, high rolling hills along the western boundary and patches of thick forest.

wildlife-akagera-parkAkagera is Big Game Park. Big herds of buffalo, giraffe, and zebra move across the savannah, lucky tourists may get a chance to see elephants emerging from the forest to drink at the lakes. The National park is home to thousands of antelopes, most commonly the wonderful impala, additionally oribi and bushbuck, and in addition the ungainly topi, the rare roan and the world’s biggest antelope, the Cape eland. Leopards and hyena might also be seen on a night game drive as well as other secretive animals of the night. Also, hippo and crocodile are almost ensured on a boat cruise in Lake Ihema the Akagera’s biggest lake. Lining the lakes are some of the continent’s densest concentrations of water birds and with over 525 species, Akagera National park is really birders paradise.

Camping alongside the beautiful lakes of Akagera, or on Muyumbu edge overlooking the lakes and Tanzania in the distance, is a genuinely mystical introduction to the wonders of the African bush.

giraffe-akagera-parkThe African Parks has been in charge of managing the Akagera National Park since early 2010 after signing a 20-year agreement with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) in late 2009. The Akagera Management Company (AMC) was formed in 2010 with board members from both Rwanda Development Board and African Parks in a joint management initiative for Akagera National Park. African Parks is responsible for the daily administration of the national park, while the Rwandan Government retain all statutory rights.

Financing for the operational costs of Akagera National Park has been effectively secured with generous financial contribution from the Walton Family Foundation, Stichting DOEN, Stichting African Parks Foundation and the Rwanda Development Board. The Rwandan Government is different among the African Parks portfolio as the only Government supporting financially towards the management of the national park. Over USD 10 million has been secured for the restoration and improvement of Akagera National Park over the initial 5 years of the project, including a USD 2 million 120km boundary fence project financed by Rwanda Development Board.

akagera-national-park-zebrasInfrastructural development has seen huge progress since AMC’s involvement. The Akagera Management Company has completed the construction of a new office block, fully functioning mechanics workshop and stores facility, three management houses and a law enforcement operations room. Renovations have been done to different staff housing blocks and a community center. A new Day Visitor’s Center and Reception with cafe, shop, and Education Center is presently under construction and also new tented camp accommodation facility on the edge of Lake Ihema.

Noteworthy improvements have been made to the state of the roads and the road network developed with new loops and signage in place. New vehicles, a tractor, and motorbikes have all been bought to facilitate national park management activities. One of the aims for the new management company is law enforcement and securing the national park against illicit activities like poaching. Advanced training has been done and new communication equipment, uniforms, boats and motorbikes, GPS and watch equipment has been provided to increase in law enforcement activities in the national park.

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