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Home » National Parks in Rwanda » Akagera National Park Rwanda » Tourist Attractions in Akagera National Park » Akagera river and Wetlands ecosystems in Akagera National Park

Akagera river and Wetlands ecosystems in Akagera National Park

Akagera river and wetlands ecosystems; The Akagera River is the biggest tributary of Lake Victoria contributing 34% of the lake’s inflow. The Akagera river basin covers 60,500 Square Kilometers of the portions from four countries namely Burundi (13,790 Km2), Rwanda (21,630 Km2) and Tanzania (20,680 Km2) and Uganda (4,400 Km2) and comprises four hydro geographical zones; Congo-Nile divide, Hills and mountain foot ridges, Swamps and lake terrain and west Victoria lake region. The river basin is sub-basin of Nile basin. Basically, the river Akagera starts in the swamps and lake terrain zone and has three (3) main tributaries, including Nyabarongo, Akanyaru and Ruvubu rivers. This zone is dominated by papyrus swamps, lakes, open water and the river itself.

Akagera swamps-The swamps are dominated by Cyperus papyrus and Phoenix reclinata and the habitat is home for rare Shoebill (threatened to extinction in Rwanda) and other water birds, wildlife species like hippos, buffaloes, giraffes, impalas and Sitatunga. The Akagera wetlands are the site for migratory water birds.

The wetlands offer to the communities number of goods and services such as water for domestic use, fishes, rice, raw materials for handcraft-making, grasses for livestock ,etc ;and water storage and purification, flood and erosion control ,carbon sequestration, climate regulation and recreational services.

Although these critical ecosystems are very important, they are threatened by reclamation, over exploitation, pollution and introduction of invasive species driven by high population growth and density and poor management plan and policy. This is aggravated by the effects of climate change that impact poor communities and get them highly dependent on ecosystems to survive.

With regard to the importance of these ecosystems, through the project termed “Stakeholders Engagement for Informed Decision-Making, Threats Mitigation and Sustainable Freshwater Services Management in the Great Lakes Region of East and Central Africa”, ARCOS maintains an integrated monitoring programme to document the changes affecting the Akagera river Basin with a focus on protecting its remaining wetlands.

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