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James Hogg

“When we took on Akagera, it was a deeply ne-

opened in 2013, bringing in a new generation of

glected part of Rwanda,” says park manager Jes

safari client, both Rwandan and international. Akag-

Grüner. “It took us five years to restructure and get

era is now easily worth a three-night stay after visit-

the law-enforcement teams to function effectively.”

ing the iconic mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s other

Akagera is one of AP’s early turnaround parks—

great wildlife area, Virunga National Park.

an area gone to the dogs and now dramatically reha-

AP has pulled off this success story not just

bilitated to such an extent that it is attracting tourists

through a combination of military-style anti-poach-

in record numbers. The park, now partly fenced to

ing training and strategic investments in security

assist in the protection of Rwanda’s mega-fauna, has

fencing, but also through the commitment of its

increased its visitor numbers from 12,000 in 2009

staff. “AP is an organization that acts with boots on

to 27,980 in 2014 and generated just over $1 mil-

the ground,” says Ronald Ulrich, a former managing

lion in park revenue. And while a 20 percent sample

director at Morgan Stanley and current chairman

wildlife count put animal numbers in the area at

of African Parks Foundation America. The NGO’s

2,000 in 2010, by 2013—thanks to the efforts of

ability to get things done is why AP is championed

African Parks—numbers had quadrupled.

by the likes of South African–born private safari

To accommodate the run of visitors looking

guide Michael Lorentz, who heads up Passage to

to experience the bounty of nature at the park,

Africa (passagetoafrica.com). This is the company

Ruzizi Tented Lodge—a popular little camp—

with whom I travel to Rwanda.

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a leopard at akagera national park

ONELIFE

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3/30/15 10:39 AM

ONE Life | Spring 2015 Issue  

The propriertary lifestyle magazine of ONE Sotheby's International Realty.