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Rwanda

Akagera National Park

For a national park, Akagera is tiny in size. Measuring just over 400 sq miles and clinging to Rwanda’s eastern edge, it’s staggering the wealth of landscapes that it squeezes in. Grassy mountains, Rwanda’s only corner of protected undulating savannah, gentle woodland and lakes, marshland and swamps all fed by the Kagera River are all found within this natural wonderland and with them comes a rich variety of wildlife.

It’s the only place in the country where you can spot the Big Five, all the more impressive when you take into consideration that poaching and human encroachment during the 1990s and early 2000s nearly wiped the wildlife of Akagera out. Lions were reintroduced in 2015 and black rhinos in 2017 in one of the continent’s biggest conservation success stories, restoring the Big Five, and game drives are great opportunities for spotting them, as well as the likes of monkeys, baboons and sable antelopes. The joy of Akagera is its diversity, with its protected wetlands – the largest of its kind in Africa – as good for spotting animals as its sweeping plains, and a boat cruise across one of its lakes will bring you up close with hippos, crocodiles and thirsty game. That’s not all – peering skywards means you’ll glimpse nearly 500 species of bird-like the red-faced barbet, bateleur and African fish eagle, too.

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