Akagera national park is located in the northeastern region of rwanda and its found along the border of Tanzania and Rwanda with an area cover of 1,122 square kilometers. The national park obtained its name from the akagera river which feeds the small lakes within the national park. The national park was once called Parc aux Lycaons a home to African wild dogs where the Belgian government saw them as pests. Later the dogs were affected by a disease which led to the deduction in their population. The Belgian government in 1934 decided to gazette the area and named it Akagera national park.
The national park has gone through a reintroduction of animals as follows;
The black rhinos were brought into the park from Tanzania in 1957.
The Masai giraffes in 1986 were introduced in the park from Kenya.
In July 2015 7 lions were brought from south Africa.
The eastern black rhinoceros were brought into the park in 2017.
Later in June 2019 more 5 eastern black rhinoceros were brought into the park from 3 countries that is Czech Republic, United Kingdom and Denmark.
ATTRACTIONS IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
The national park is dominated by the savannah vegetation which makes the forest a habitat for the various wildlife species. The wildlife species include buffalo, elephant, zebra, roan antelope, eland, bushbuck, impalas, mongoose species, serval, viverrid species and many more. Besides wildlife the forest is as well a home to primates such as vervet monkeys, blue monkeys that are seen around the swamps, lakes and the savannah plains.
The national park has many waterbodies that are scattered in the national park. The national park consists of swamp fringed lakes such as lake Ihema, Shakani, Rwanyakazinga, Mihindi and Gishanju. The lakes are good at spotting wildlife because animals as well as birds live in the water bodies and others come to drink water. Animals that are seen around the waterbodies include hippopotamus, crocodiles and fish species. Bird species that are found on the lakes include shoebill, grey backed fiscals, fan-tailed widowbird, long-crested eagle among others
Akagera national park is known as a birding site which is favorable for a birding safari in Rwanda. The national park is a home to over 500 bird species which are seen in the savannah plains, hills, forest, swamps and shores of lakes as well as rivers. Birds within the national park are many and are categorized such as Zambezian biome species which include cisticola angusticauda, lanius souzae, myrmecocichla arnotti. The raptors are 44 species, balaeniceps rex and palearctic migrants which include falco naumanni, glareola nordamanni and gallinago. Afro-tropical highlands biome, Congo Forest biome, threatened bird species which include papyrus gonolek and localized red-faced barbet. Over all bird species within the national park include shoebill, hammer kop, fish eagles, sacred and hadada ibis, long-crested eagle, black-headed among others.
ACTIVITIES IN AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
The national park is a good place for game drives where tourists who would love to see wildlife species such as the big five animals. The national park has over 8000 wildlife species such as elephants, lions, rhinos, leopards and buffalos, impalas, Topi, sitatunga, jackals, hyenas among others.
The national park has both day and night game drives where the night guided game drives offer tourists to spot nocturnal animals such as leopards, lions, civets, hyenas, bush babies and serval cats among others.
The tourists within akagera national park enjoy boat cruise experiences on lake Ihema the second largest lake in rwanda. Tourists can as well get an opportunity to spot the aquatic animals such as hippopotamuses and crocodiles. The boat cruises take place 4 times a day that is at 7;30am, 9am, 3pm and 4;30 pm. The national park has non-scheduled boat cruises for tourists who want to have private trips on the lake. Tourists can as well spot various bird species while on the boat cruise.
The national park has over 500 bird species which makes it a better place for a birding safari in Rwanda. While on a birding safari in the national park tourists can spot bird species such as marabou stocks, egrets, red-faced barbets, crowned cranes, swamp fly catcher and the showbill
Fishing within the national park takes place on lake shakani which is famous for having a variety of fish species especially tilapia and catfish. Tourists can spend the whole day fishing and cook what they catch at the camp site.
The national park organizes fishing tournaments within the park. Tourists that are interested in the catch and release fishing tournaments can take part. The tournaments are carried out on specified dates and thus tourists who are interested can get in touch with management.
HIKING AND GUIDED NATURE WALKS
Tourists in the akagera national park engage on hikes as well as guided nature walks where they get a chance to spot the flora and fauna species which includes tree species, butterfly and bird species
A safari in rwanda is never complete without a visit to the community. Community cultural trips near akagera national park offers tourists a chance to tourists to learn and explore the Rwandan culture and her people. Tourists get to mix up with the locals and get to know more about their lifestyle, learn how to milk, make local banana brew and honey and many more