facts about Akagera national park

facts about Akagera national park: A Brief History of Akagera National Park.

  1. Akagera National Park is by far the biggest national park in Rwanda, covering an area of 1,122 square kilometers. The national park previously covered 2,500 square kilometers but later reduced following the return of Rwandan refugees who had fled the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.
  2. Akagera National Park was first established in 1934 by the Belgian colonial government in order to protect and conserve most of the wildlife species that roamed in the national park. The national park lies along Rwanda’s border with Tanzania.
  • The national park derives its name from the famous River Akagera which flows through the national park and in to Uganda. There are approximately 10 lakes situated within Akagera National Park.
  1. Akagera National Park is the only national park in Rwanda with the Big Five wildlife animals. It is also the only refuge for savannah wildlife in the country. The national park was formerly known as ‘Parc aux Lycanos’ because it had a very large number of wild dogs.
  2. In 1957, black rhinos were introduced in Akagera National Park from a game reserve in Tanzania. By 1970, over 50 black rhinos were reported to be roaming the savannah grasslands of Akagera national park. As a result of excessive poaching of the species, a huge population of these species was killed to the point of extinction by 2007.
  3. In 1986, Masai giraffes were introduced in Akagera national park from Kenya. Since their introduction in the national park, their numbers have greatly increased to over 80 individuals.
  • About 50% of Akagera national park was destroyed by 1997, as much of the park land was allocated to refugees, who later encroached on the forests in the park and hunted down most of the wild animals in the national park.
  • As a result of this, mush of the forest in Akagera was lost and a large number of wildlife animals in the park were killed. Some wildlife species like Rhinos, Lions and wild dogs were reported extinct in the Akagera National Park.
  1. Around 1990, there were over 250 lions roaming Akagera National Park, but the species later became extinct due to widespread poaching in the national park.
  2. In 2009, the Rwanda Development Board together with African Parks, signed a joint agreement to take over the management of Akagera National Park. Later in 2010, the two organizations formed Akagera Management Company which is currently overseeing the management of the national park.

Following the formation of the Akagera Management Company, a lot has been done to restore Akagera national park back to its former glory. Some of the steps taken to improve the national park include;

  • The reintroduction of seven lions in Akagera National Park from a national park in South Africa. These marked the reintroduction of the species after 15 years of their absence in the national park. Since then, the population of lions in Akagera has increased to over 25 individuals.
  • The reintroduction of 18 black eastern rhinos in 2017 in Akagera from a national park in South Africa. Later in June 2019, five more black rhinos were translocated to Akagera national park from various zoos located in Europe.
  • The population of large mammals in Akagera national park has increased from 4000 individuals in 2010 to over 8000 in 2018.
  • An anti-poaching unit has been introduced in Akagera National Park and this canine unit has been extensively trained to tackle issues of illegal poaching in the national park.
  • A 120 kilometer solar powered predator-proof fence has been constructed in the national park in order to prevent intruders from entering the park, and also reduce on human-wildlife conflicts.
  • Acquisition of a helicopter in order to carryout aerial surveillance of the national park, as well as wildlife animals living within the park.
  1. Akagera National park is home to over 482 species of birds and more than 100 African Bush Elephants. The national park is a haven for wildlife safaris in Rwanda.
  • Since the formation of AMC (Akagera Management Company), the number of tourists visiting the national park has increased from 8,000 registered visitors in 2010, to 44,000 in 2018. This tremendous improvement has allowed the national park to become 75% self-sustaining.
  • Activities offered by Akagera national park include; game drives, guided nature walks, boat trips, fishing, camping, behind the scenes tour, walk the line, community cultural tours, and birding.
  • There is accommodation available within Akagera national park for visitors who wish to spend a day or more in the national park. These accommodation facilities range between budget, mid-range and luxury. They include; Akagera Game Lodge, Magashi Safari Camp, Ruzizi Tented Camp and Karenge Bush Camp.
  1. Akagera National Park in Located in the district of Kayonza and located about 110km from Kigali City, which is about a 2½ hour’s drive.

with the above facts about akagera national park,  one should be able to derive insights on making a trip to this amazing national park.

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