MORE LIONS MAKE AKAGERA EVEN MORE ATTRACTIVE FOR VISITORS
(Posted 13th May 2016)
When Rwanda some three years ago floated the idea to relocate lions to the Akagera National Park after years without any of them seen, were critics in particular from among some Kenyan conservationists swift to argue that the country was ill prepared and the park not ready for such a translocation, shooting down plans between KWS and RDB in flames.
Undeterred though by such attempts to stop the project did the Rwanda Development Board go ahead and sought alternatives, which were last year found when two private South African game reserve, Phinda and Tembe Elephant Park in Kwa Zulu Natal, agreed to send five females and two males to Rwanda, where African Parks is managing Akagera under a joint venture with the Rwanda Development Board.
The relocation, reported here at the time, went extremely well and a site visit to Akagera last year in September provided more than enough evidence that African Parks had done what was needed to keep the lions inside the park boundaries. The fences had been strengthened, separating the park from the neighbouring farms and ranches and todate, over a year since the relocation, has not one report emerged of either lions or other game breaking through the fence.
(Picture courtesy of RDB / African Parks)
Now did news come in from Akagera that one of the lionesses had given birth to three cubs and that apparently at least two more are in the family way too, giving the lion population a boost and providing exciting new sightings for ever more visitors streaming into the park. Notably are local Rwandans now in the majority of visitors, giving credibility to RDB’s efforts to promote domestic travel.
Besides the original Akagera Game Lodge, located on top of the escarpment overlooking the lake and plains, did African Parks last year also establish the Ruzizi Tented Camp while an additional ‘fly camp‘ which shifts location after every season, is now also available for tourists.
Akagera is one of now four national parks in Rwanda, together with Nyungwe Forest, Volcanoes – the gorilla park and Gishwati Forest which was made a park by an act of parliament in September last year.
For added information about Remarkable Rwanda – where incidentally today the World Economic Forum on Africa 2016 ended in the capital Kigali – click on www.rwandatourism.com