Akagera National Park was founded in 1934, and then in 1997 much of the park was re-allocated as farms; reducing the size from 2,500 square meters to 1,112 square meters. The park is named after the Akagera River that flows along its eastern boundary. The park is located in the north east of Rwanda, bordering with Tanzania; a 3 hour drive from Kigale. The park has exceptional levels of biodiversity; forest fringed lakes, papyrus swamps, savannah plains and rolling highlands. The plains game include Elephant, Buffalo, Topi, Zebra, Waterbuck, Roan Antelope and Eland. The primates in the park include, olive Baboons, Vervets, Blue Monkey and Bushbabies. The larger predators include leopard, hyena, side-striped jackal and Lion; Black Rhino are being re-introduced into the park to restore the Big 5 status. There are over 500 bird species, including the rare and elusive shoebill, gonolek and countless other water birds that inhabit the wetlands.There is a two-tiered system of guides; 10 park-employed guides and 15 community freelance guides. The park supports both choices; the hiring of the community guides promote the relationship between the park and the local community, by stimulating economic development and allowing community members living along the park to benefit from the tourism growth in Akagera.
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