Akagera National Park covers 1,200 square kilometres (120,000 ha) in eastern Rwanda, along the Tanzanian border. It was founded in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation in three ecoregions savannah, mountain and swamp. The park is named for the Kagera River which flows along its eastern boundary feeding into several lakes the largest of which is Lake Ihema. The complex system of lakes and linking papyrus swamps makes up over a third of the park, and is the largest protected wetland in Eastern-Central Africa
Much of the savannah area of the park was settled in the late 1990s by former refugees returning after the end of the Rwandan Civil War. Due to land shortages, in 1997, the western boundary was regazetted and much of the land allocated as farms to returning refugees. The park was reduced in size from over 2,500 square kilometres (250,000 ha) to its current size. Although much of the best savannah grazing land is now outside the park boundaries, what remains of Akagera is some of the most diverse and scenic landscape in Africa.
More than 36,000 tourists visited the park in 2016. With the reintroduction of black rhinos and African lions, the national park is now home to all of Africa's "big five": the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo