Home to more than 8,000 large mammals and 500 bird species, wildlife populations are flourishing in this spectacular landscape due to effective law enforcement and community engagement. African Parks successfully reintroduced seven lions into the park in 2015, bringing the species back to Rwanda after being extirpated for almost 20 years; and plans are in place to reintroduce rhino after an almost ten year absence, making this Rwanda’s only Big Five park.

Government Partner:

In 1997, following the Rwandan civil war, much of the park was reallocated as farmland for returning refugees, leaving it considerably smaller at 1,122km². The war had taken its toll on the national park, completely decimating Akagera’s wildlife and wiping out its lion population. This, coupled with the highest population density in continental Africa, meant that Rwanda had suffered extensive biodiversity loss.

In late 2009, African Parks signed a joint management agreement with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) establishing the Akagera Management Company (AMC) in 2010 with board members from both the RDB and African Parks jointly managing the park. 

This collaborative partnership has overseen a number of flagship projects, which have not only created employment for local communities, but also enhanced the park’s tourism appeal and mitigated human-wildlife conflict. 



© African Parks
Akagera is home to more than 8,000 large mammals and 482 bird species.


  • 7 lions were reintroduced into the park in 2015 after a 20-year absence and the population has since doubled with the birth of seven cubs in 2016.
  • Plans are in place to reintroduce black rhino, a species that has not been seen since 2007.
  • The number of animals poached has decreased significantly, from 180 in 2012 to just 5 in 2015.
  • Canine dog units have been trained and deployed to counter poaching.
  • Infrastructure development has included the renovation or construction of park facilities such as staff housing, workshops and a new park entrance, as well as social infrastructure for local communities. 
  • 220 locals are employed by the Akagera Management Company.
  • A 120km-long electrified, predator-proof and solar-powered perimeter fence was constructed - the first of its kind in Rwanda.
  • A number of successful livelihood diversification projects have been implemented, such as the development of bee-keeping businesses and a freelance community guiding programme.
  • In 2014, the park celebrated its 80th anniversary and in the same year, tourism revenue exceeded US$1 million.
  • Well over 1,000 school children visit Akagera each year along with local leaders and educators.
  • Tourism developments include the construction of a Day Visitor Centre and Ruzizi Tented Lodge – both of which opened in 2013.
  • Visitor numbers to Akagera show strong year-on-year growth, with Rwandan nationals comprising more than 50% of visitors to the park.