Akagera National Park
Situated in the north-east of Rwanda, stretching along the border with Tanzania, this 1200km² park is one of the most scenic to be found in Africa. It is also one of the oldest, having been established in 1934. It consists of varied eco-systems including papyrus swamps, lush savannah plains, lakes surrounded by forests and stunning rolling highlands. All this includes the biggest protected wetland found in the central African region. Of course, with this incredible biodiversity, expect a range of animals and birdlife, all protected by strictly enforce anti-poaching measures.
Although the park had no predators at first, Lions have recently been introduced. Black rhinos are a distinct possibility as well, meaning Akagera could soon house Africa’s Big 5. Animals in the park at present include buck such as Defassa waterbuck, bushbuck, sable impala, topi, eland, and oribi. Expect to see Masai giraffe, zebra, hippo, and crocodile, while if you travel further north, buffalo and elephant are prevalent. The park includes the famous Mutware, a 50-year old elephant known for his grumpy and sometimes aggressive behaviour.
For bird lovers, the park is a haven for close to 480 species, all attracted by the varying habitats. These include a host of Savannah bird species, raptors, red-faced barbets, as well as water birds such as cormorants, herons, egrets, cranes, storks and the truly majestic African fish eagle. Nothing beats seeing one of these predators grab a fish out of the water for its evening meal.
As far as activities go, the park offers a varied range. Of course, game drives top the list, not only for the chance to see the animals of the park but for its sheer beauty as well. Bird safaris are particularly popular while other pursuits include camping, nature trails, hiking and boat trips on Lake Ihema.