Akagera is Rwanda’s biggest wildlife destination and over the years, there has been an increase in the number of tourists visiting this national park which is a home to several wildlife species thus making it the best place in Rwanda to visit if you want watch different wildlife species from their natural habitats. Their survival is supported by the vegetation which around these months looks its best because of the fact that the rains have reduced, the plants are green and the sky is blue. This is probably the best time to visit these parks when plants are flowering, trees bear fruits therefore attracting plenty of birds and butterflies. During this second quarter, this park has registered some success and carried out a number of developmental activities for instance;
A group of 50 students from the popular Ndego Primary and Secondary School did kick off the 2018 environmental education program that runs every year. These were accompanied by their 8 teachers and will be followed by many more others who are expected to visit in the coming months. More than 1,600 students are expected to visit Akagera and will come from neighboring schools so they can have a chance to have firsthand experience in the park. In addition to visiting the park, students will also get the opportunity to visit the community centre where the briefing before visiting the park will be done and then get a short tour around. Before entering the park the children arrive at the community centre for a briefing and short tour. This community centre was setup in an effort to make a conducive education centre from where kids can get some practical experience about environmental conservation before going into the park.
In regards to infrastructure and accommodation facilities, Akagera national park recently acquired a new luxury facility which is owned Wilderness Safaris and it is a tented camp located in the northern parts of Akagera Park. It has about six-tents in the Magashi peninsula along Lake Rwanyakazinga shores and it is expected to be open for business before the year 2018 ends. The establishment of this new lodge speaks volumes regarding the progress registered by Akagera in the past few years since the park has such an amazing tourism potential. According to Jes Gruner who is the Akagera national park manager, this project only succeeded because of the tremendous support received from organizations like Buffett Foundation to African Parks who have greatly helped protect and push the park to achieved its economic potential. In just about eight years, this park is about 75% self-sufficient and also supports the neighboring communities. The number of tourists that visit the park in a year increase up to 36 000 visitors in 2017 and what is amazing is the fact that half of these visit were Rwandese. The fact that Rwandese get engaged in activities like these is amazing and a great way of recognizing how important Akagera is and the Rwanda’s heritage at a large. Their participation plays a good role in the sustainability of the country extraordinary cultures and landscape.
There was also an increase in the number of tourists in the very first quarter of 2018 to a 40% increase compared to last year. This increase in the number of visitors led to an increase in the demand for safaris drivers/guides thus and increase in the job opportunities for the community freelance guides who are under a program that was started in 2014. The Akagera national park together with the cooperative of guides do recruit and then train people from within the local communities as guides and by the end of April, more than 356 people had turned up for training in the Rwinkwavu offices and out of those, 15 were selected to undergo an intensive training for 3 week training. These freelance guides operate under the community freelance guides cooperative and are trained to serve efficiently especially during the low high season when tourists are very many.
For an amazing gaming viewing adventure, please visit the Karenge bush camp which opened it’s zips for yet another new season. The camp has been open since 1st June and it will remain functioning until end of month August which means there is still a chance to visit Karenge camp which is overlooking the Kilala Plain in the northern part. This is the best part of the park where wildlife viewing can be done as there are thousands of wildlife species including hyenas which are commonly seen close to the lodge and deep in the plains. This camp has got 6 tents with double occupancy therefore can only accommodate 12 people per night, all rooms are self contained, there is a bar and kitchen where meals are prepared and the light is provide through solar system. The camp is basically eco-friendly. Akagera national park is basically the only wildlife sanctuary therefore a great destination for game viewing, birding and many other tourism activities.
Planning to visit Akagera park, watch the space for updates about Akagera national park.