Akagera National Park celebrates 80 years

As the only protected savannah environment in the country, Akagera is unique in Rwanda. Along with the usual East African savannah game; large herds of buffalo and impala, zebra and topi on the open plains, smaller antelope such as oribi, klipspringer, bushbuck and reedbuck, as well as elephant and large populations of hippo and crocodiles, Akagera is also home to more than 480 bird species and it encompasses some of the most scenic and diverse environment in the region; rolling hills of Acacia bush with panoramic views across scattered grassland, patches of thick forest and a mosaic of swamp-fringed lakes along the meandering Akagera watercourse.

Five years ago, Akagera came under a 20-year management partnership between the Government of Rwanda and the conservation organization, African Parks. Together they formed Akagera Management Company, the organization responsible for total management of Akagera from conservation initiatives to tourism development and law enforcement.
As part of the tourism development for Akagera, Ruzizi Tented Lodge was built. Opening at the end of 2012, it has already made its mark among Rwanda’s tourism offerings. Due to its success within the first year of operation, two additional tents were recently developed; a family and a luxury tree-top tent, opened this year. With the expansion, Ruzizi now accommodates a maximum of 20 people in 9 tented rooms.

Found deep in the riverine forest, nestled on the edge of Lake Ihema, Ruzizi location is unique, and although a well-proven concept elsewhere in Africa, Ruzizi Tented Lodge is the first of its kind in Rwanda. The lodge was developed with an eco-ethos: a comprehensive system of solar provides 24 hour power and hot water; use of local materials and raised boardwalk leave a ‘light footprint’, weaving between trees directing movements through the lodge, leading to secluded individual tents. Unique construction features include a tree growing through the main dining area! Where possible furniture items were made on site, or purchased locally from artisans and cooperatives.

Each secluded tent sleeps two people, spaced out along the lakes edge, with ensuite bathrooms and private verandahs at the front. The new family tent can accommodate 4 people while the new luxury tree-top tented suite is set on stilts four metres above the ground, with views overlooking Lake Ihema. The luxury option boasts polished wooden floors throughout, draped fabric ceilings, a double hammock on the deck, a luxurious king-sized bed, a freestanding bath, double sinks and an outdoor shower with spectacular views.

The entire lodge was designed, built, and is fully operated by park staff, which means that 100% of the profits go towards the long-term sustainability of Akagera. Every stay directly contributes to the protection and conservation of Rwanda’s only savannah park, funding law enforcement patrols, community development in areas surrounding the park and conservation initiatives such as the planned re-introduction of lion and black rhino in the near future.

Ruzizi has proved to be a very popular option for overnight visitor to Akagera, to read some of the visitor reviews on Trip Advisor, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g3871726-d3871734-Reviews-Ruzizi_Tented_Lodge-Akagera_National_Park_Eastern_Province.html
 “The whole experience and lodge was so beautiful and special we just stayed there for the rest of the day! … A must for everyone when coming to Rwanda!”
“This was surely one of my favorite lodges with a great service and just a unique atmosphere. I would highly recommend this.”
“The rooms are secluded and charming, clean and the perfect combination of rustic and luxury.”
“We have stayed in many tented camps in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. This simply ranks at the very top.”

For more information, please visit the websites www.akagera.org or www.ruzizilodge.com

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