Akagera National Park

Overview

Introduction

The largest of Rwanda's national parks (formerly 625,000 acres/252,900 hectares but reduced in area by two-thirds to accommodate returning Tutsi cattle herders after the war), Akagera is also East Africa's oldest—it was founded in 1934. It lies on the border with Tanzania in eastern Rwanda and is best known for its six lakes, which are fed by the Kagera River as it runs along the border before emptying into Lake Victoria. The park, 60 mi/100 km north of Kigali, also has a variety of other environments such as savannah, riparian forest and mountain meadows.

Once it was one of the most relaxed, uncrowded game parks on the continent, but it still has to recover fully from the poaching associated with the civil war. All the same, it supports a fair number of elephant and buffalo, a conspicuous variety of antelope and other grazers, and a somewhat secretive selection of predators including lions. The lakes support an excellent assortment of birdlife, notably marsh dwellers such as the papyrus gonolek and shoebill stork, as well as hundreds of hippos and some huge crocodiles.

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