A BOAT TRIP ON LAKE IHEMA IS A HIGHLIGHT OF ANY VISIT TO AKAGERA
AKAGERA NATIONAL PARK
The eastern border of Rwanda along Lake Victoria and Tanzania is the location of Akagera National Park – relatively warm and low-lying plains comprising savannah, woodland, wetland and a dozen lakes. The Park covers 1,200 km² and was founded in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation in three ecoregions: savannah, mountain and swamp. The largely open expanse is ideal for game viewing – giraffes, elephants, buffalos, baboons, gazelles & zebras. Lions originally inhabited the park but were exterminated by poisoning during and after the genocide. The park however reintroduced a family of lions from South Africa in 2014 together with eastern black rhinos which prompted fencing of the park to allow breeding. The park is named after the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes the largest of which is Lake Ihema. A boat trip on Lake Ihema is a highlight of any visit to Akagera with its large pods of hippos, Nile crocodiles and abundant waterbirds. 490 bird species have been recorded. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over 1/3 of the park and is the largest protected wetland in central Africa. The only way to explore the park is by vehicle, whether through a tour operator or self drive. The National Park also has a vehicle to hire, with individual spaces available on night drives. It is recommended to take up the services of a guide, which can be booked through the park.