Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Eastern Rwanda’s main national park is Akagera, which runs along the Tanzanian border. It was seriously degraded following the Rwandan Civil War and genocide in the 1990s, when much of the land was settled by former refugees, and cattle grazing and poaching were widespread.

Today, thankfully, Akagera is making a comeback. Under the far-sighted management of African Parks – a non-profit, South Africa-based organization that now manages six million hectares across ten protected areas in seven African nations – the last seven years have seen effective law enforcement, community engagement and infrastructure development mitigate human-wildlife conflict and significantly boost the reserve’s tourism appeal. Following the recent reintroduction of lions and black rhino, the park is now home to the “Big Five”, with over 8,000 large animals and nearly 500 bird species now calling its forest-fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, open savannah and rolling hills home.

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