Wildlife in Akagera National Park
The park is home to a variety of wildlife with elephants, buffalos, giraffe, zebras, leopards, hyenas, lions and several species of antelopes i.e. bushbuck, Topi, Oribi, tsessebe waterbuck, roan antelope and eland. Other antelopes are duiker, Oribi, bohor reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck and impala and world largest antelope: “ the Cape eland. Schools of hippos and crocodiles basking in the sun found in and near the lake. Primates include olive baboons, Vervet monkeys, and blue monkeys with bush babies often seen on night drives. Some of this wildlife was just re-introduced into the park by African parks, an organisation that manages the park in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board. The re-introduction of the animals sought to restablish the unique and high value of the park that had been depleted by the killing and hunting of animals that had happened during the genocide. Some of the animals that were re-introduced to Akagera include; a number of 7 lions and 18 eastern black rhinos among others. The lions were re-introduced in 2015 and rhinos in 2017.
For bird enthusiasts, Akagera national park is an important ornithological site with nearly 500 bird species and a wide variety of habitats. It hosts the elusive shoebill and the papyrus Gonolek in its swampy lake fringes, both birds are a remarkable sight. Other species include,African Wattled Plover Goliath, Giant Kingfisher, Senegal Lapwings, and Squacco Herons, African Open bill Little Bittern, Grey Crowned Crane, African Darter, Long-toed and Water Thick-knee, Blue-headed Coucal, and Black Crake. Look out for the majestic fish eagles, Cattle Egret, Hamerkop, Sacred and Hadada Ibis, Augur Buzzard, Long-crested Eagle, and Pied Crow. Black-headed and striking Vieillot’s Black Weavers, Grey-backed Fiscals, Fan-tailed Widowbird and carruthers cisticola.
Activities in Akagera National Park
Game drives in Akagera national park start early mornings as we search for the leopards, hyenas, and the recently re-introduced lions in the open roof safari vehicles. This is because the hunters prefer night or early morning and will usually go into hiding as the heat from the sun increases.Along the carnivores, enjoy the scenery of this beautiful park and the herbivores and grazers.
Akagera national park is a popular birdwatching destination in Rwanda and an Important Birding Area according Birdlife International. Birders can search for endemic species such as the near threatened papyrus Gonolek, which is restricted to papyrus swamps, the localized red-faced barbet.The boat safari on Lake Ihema is an exciting birding experience with so many water birds. More birding is done while on the game drive, opting to stop over at various interesting areas.