There are three distinct environments in the park: standard savannah as seen in much of the region; an immense swampy area along the border with Tanzania that contains six lakes and numerous islands, some of which are covered with forest; and a chain of low mountains on the flanks of the park with variable vegetation, ranging from short grasses on the summits to wooded savannah and dense thickets of forest.

Truth be told, you will be disappointed if you come here expecting concentrations of wildlife on a par with Kenya and Tanzania. Carnivores in Akagera are limited to rarely seen leopards (about 150 individuals) and hyenas as well as genets, servals and jackals. And lions? In 2015 seven individuals were flown from South Africa to Rwanda in a chartered plane and transported to Akagera. There are now 19 lions in the park, which bodes well. Eighteen black rhinos were also introduced to Akagera in 2017. Of the other large 'trophy' animals there are an estimated 90 elephants in the park, which are quite commonly seen. Buffalo are also present in reasonably healthy numbers (about 3000), and there are masses of hippos and crocs in the lakes. Antelope and other plains game are well represented, though herds tend to be small and the animals rather skittish. Common safari staples include impala, topi, zebra and waterbuck, as well as the majestic but rare roan antelope and the diminutive Oribi. Maasai giraffes, never native to the park, have been introduced and are faring well.

Of the primates, olive baboons and vervet monkeys are very common.

Even if you don’t come across too many animals, you probably won’t come across too many other wildlife-viewing drivers either, which means you can soak up the park’s splendid nature in relative peace and isolation.