Akagera National Park is one of Rwanda’s extraordinary miracles. Nearly lost during the Rwandan genocide, and affected by years of poaching and resettlement, Akagera was rescued from the brink of destruction in 2009, when the Rwandan government launched an ambitious conservation programme to restore Akagera – and transform it into the beautiful park of today.

Today the Akagera National Park, which lies in eastern Rwanda, on the border of Tanzania, boasts a diverse variety of wildlife, including the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, Cape buffalo and rhino). It’s characterised by woodland, swamps, low mountains and grassy savannah. In the southern part of the park, Lake Ihema is home to hippos and crocodiles.

The partnership between the Rwandan government and African Parks (a South African-based non-profit organisation) has seen remarkable results. Tourism is increasing. Animal densities are increasing. In 2010, there were only about 600 buffalo and 600 hippos within the park. Today, both species have multiplied to more than 3 000. In 2015, Phinda Game Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park in South Africa donated seven lions to the park, and by 2017 their numbers had increased to 25.  The goal is now to focus on “low volume, high value” tourism and tourists are reaping the benefits. The lush park is quiet and tranquil – far removed from the hordes of tourists in neighbouring Uganda, or Kenya. It is both a lesson in conservation and an unforgettable destination.

Highlights In Akagera National Park

  • Enjoy a rich game viewing experience from the comfort of a 4×4 safari vehicle
  • Akagera is a twitcher’s paradise. Tick off some of the park’s 750 bird species, including raptors, shoe bill storks and migrant birds such as the lesser kestrel and the great snipe, Arnot’s chat and Souza’s shrike
  • Set out on a guided nature walk, learning more about the park’s exotic plants, colourful butterflies and smaller animals
  • View the park from the water (and spot elephants on the shores of Lake Ihema) during a memorable boat cruise – or try your hand at a spot of fishing
  • A night-time game drive is a must, an exciting excursion in the Akagera National Park when nocturnal animals (like civets and bush babies) come out to play