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Akagera National Park

The Akagera National Park, known as Parc National de l’akagera in French spreads 1,200 km² in eastern Rwanda near the town of Kibungu, against the Tanzanian border. It was established in 1934 to protect wildlife and vegetation in three eco-districts: Savannah, mountain and swamp. The park is named for the Kagera River which streams along its eastern boundary nourishing into some lakes the biggest of which is Lake Ihema. The complex system of lakes and joining papyrus swamps makes up over 1/3 of the park and is the biggest protected wetland in central Africa.

A great part of the savannah region of the Akagera National Park was settled in the late 1990s by previous evacuees returning after the end of the Rwandan Civil War. Because of land deficiencies, in 1997 the western boundary was regazetted and a significant part of the area allocated as farms to returning refugees. The park was decreased in size from over 2,500 km² to its current estimate. Despite the fact that a great part of the best Savannah grazing land is presently outside the park limits, what remains of Akagera is a percentage of the most diverse and beautiful landscape in Africa.

In 2009 the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the African Parks Network entered into a 20-year renewable agreement for the joint administration of Akagera. The Akagera Management Company was framed in 2010 as the joint administration form for Akagera National Park.

Through the following 5 years, US$10 million expenditure is budgeted for Akagera incorporating the construction of a 120km western boundary fence and the reintroduction of lions and black rhino in the park.

The park is blessed with a variety of wildlife and is the home for over 500 different species of birds. There are accommodation facilities on the edge of the park at Gabiro, 100km (60 miles) to the north. It is best not to visit the park in the rainy season (December, March, and April) since many of the routes become impassable.

Akagera national park also is above all, big game country! Herds of elephant and buffalo emerge from the woodland to drink at the lakes, while lucky visitors might stumble across a leopard, a spotted hyena or even a stray lion.

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