A few years ago, Rwanda came up with the plan of reintroducing lions into the famous Akagera National Park which is among the commonly visited destinations on a Safari in Rwanda. This decision was made after a year without seeing any single lion moving around in this park which meant that they had either been killed or died natural death to extinction. The plan was to get lions from Kenya but this did not happen because there were so many critics that came along more so from some Kenyan conservationists who argued that Kenya was not really prepared to let go of their lions and Akagera national park in particular was not ready at all to receive those animals therefore shooting down this great plan between KWS and Rwanda Development Board.
Following such setbacks, RDB sought other alternative sources which included South Africa. And just last year, two private game reserve from South Africa namely Phinda and Tembe Elephant Park located in Kwa- Zulu Natal agreed to have 5 female lions and 2 males sent to Rwanda’s Akagera national park which is managed by the African Parks together with Rwanda Development Board. The relocation was very successful and Akagera provided all the necessary evidence supporting the fact that African Parks did all that they were required to do to ensure that they these lions stay within the boundaries of this park. A stronger fence was built separating the reserved areas from the neighboring farmland and ranches to avoid incidences of human and domestic animals being killed by the lions.
Today, it’s a year or so since the relocation program was done and Akagera has finally started seeing the fruits of this program following the new addition to the originally relocated lions’ family. Akagera recorded a birth of 3 cubs and these are the very first ones since the relocation process. One of the lionesses gave birth to these cubs and at least two more lionesses are expected to give birth to more cubs therefore increasing on the number of lions in this park. An increase in the number of lions in Akagera is amazing news to the management of Akagera because then, more tourists will be attracted to the park once there are some lions to see while on a tour. This will be one great competitive advantage at the end of the day.
The existence of the lions in this park might also attract more local people especially now that there is a steady increase in the number of locals that are participating in tourism. This increase is as a result of RDB’s persistent efforts towards promoting domestic tourism in Rwanda.
You can expect to have a lot of fun, spend the night is some of the best hotels in the park like the Akagera Game Lodge which is built on top of the escarpment, overlooking a lake and the beautiful plains. There is also the Ruzizi Tented Camp which is similarly a great place for any tourists to spend the night.
You can visit Akagera which is one of the four beautiful national parks/ conservation areas that Rwanda has any time of the year. Other hotels include the Nyungwe Forest which is popular for primates, Volcanoes national park which is well known for the mountain gorillas and there is the Gishwati Forest located very close to Lake Kivu and very good for nature walks. The parliament of Rwanda announced Gishwati as a park just last year in September.