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Attractions in Akagera National Park – Things To See

What to see in Akagera National Park

There are a number of thing to see in Akager National Park include;

  • The Big Five gems (elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, lions, and leopards)
  • A variety of antelopes and other herbivores such giraffes, and zebras
  • Primates such as vervet monkeys and Anubis baboons
  • Over 480 bird species including the Shoebill, Grey-crowned cranes, and saddle-billed storks
  • The beautiful lake Lake Ihema

Below is a detailed description of all attractions to see in Akagera National Park on your Rwanda safaris and tours.

Animals in Akagera national park

Wildlife populations are thriving in Akagera National Park today due to effective law enforcement and successful conflict-mitigation with surrounding communities; and poaching within the park has reached an all-time low.

Big Five Gems in Akagera National Park  

  • Akagera has recently become a Big Five destination but some of the main species can be difficult to find.
  • Buffalos are common and you might see Elephant as well.
  • The newly introduced Lions are remarkably relaxed, but sightings are hit-and-miss.
  • Black rhinos is the most recent addition, but they are very shy.
  • Leopards can be spotted on night drives.

Predators In Akagera National Park

Before Lions  were introduced to the park, Leopards and Spotted hyenas were the only large predators in the park.

A founder population of seven lions was reintroduced in 2015 after being hunted out in the 1990s. Two additional males were translocated to the park in 2017 to increase genetic diversity and the park’s lion population has since tripled in size. Small predators are also abundant:

  • Servals
  • Side-striped jackals
  • Several mongoose and
  • Viverrid species

Herbivores In Akagera National Park

  • There are a lot of herbiovores in Akagera National Park including Burchell’s zebra, Masai giraffe, hippos, warthogs and buffaloes.
  • Elphants are occasionally seen and the recently introduced rhinos are rarely seen.
  • Masai giraffe was introduced to Akagera National Par in 1986 from Kenya, and the existing population includes an estimated 60 individuals
  • Elephants had long existed naturally in Akagera, but poaching wiped them out until initial reintroduction returned a young group of 26 individuals—all under the age of eight—in 1975. The founder population has since grown to roughly 100 individuals.
  • After a 10-year absence, 2017 saw the historic return of 18 Eastern black rhinoceros to Akagera. The first calves were born in 2018, and in June 2019, five black rhinos translocated from European zoos promise to boost genetic diversity.
  • Akagera National Park also harbour 11 species of antelopes.
  • The graceful impalas are the most common throughout the park.
  • The park hos big herds of
  • Also regularly seen around the lakes are Defassa waterbucks
  • Bushbucks are wide spread residents in the woodland areas
  • The shy and elusive swamp-dwelling sitatunga antelopes are known to reside in the swamps.
  • Other antelopes in Akagera National Park include duiker, oribi, bohor reedbuck, and
  • The secretive roan antelope and statuesque eland are also known to exist in the park.

Primates In Akagera National Park

  • Anubis baboos and Vervet monkeys are the most commonly seen primates of Akagera National Park.
  • Blue monkeys are plesent in the park but are very difficult to see.

The also host several crocodiles.

Birds In Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park is the best destination for bird watching tours in  Rwanda outside of Nyungwe National Park.

Of the 480 species, 100 birds are not found in any other protected area in Rwanda. The park is home to over 40 species of raptors including;

  • Bateleurs
  • White-backed vultures
  • Ruppell’s griffon vultures, and
  • Brown snake eagles.
  • Beaudouin’s snake eagle
  • Amur falcon
  • Booted eagle
  • Grasshopper buzzard
  • Eleonora’s falcon
  • Sooty falcon

The park’s various waterside habitats also host;

  • Kingfishers,
  • Ibises,
  • Herons including the Squacco heron
  • Storks including the shoebill, open-billed stork, and marabou stork,
  • Egrets including Dimorphic egret
  • Crakes
  • Rails,
  • Darts,
  • Cormorants, and
  • Pelicans
  • crowned cranes

Migratory birds include large flocks of terns, ducks, and bee-eaters, and the forest areas are especially good spot for barbets, orioles, shrikes and weavers.

Other notable Notable Birds in Akagera National park include;

  • Red-faced barbet
  • Blue-shouldered robin-chat
  • Brown-chested lapwing
  • Cabanis’s bunting
  • Carruthers’s cisticola
  • Crested barbet
  • Denham’s bustard
  • Northern brown-throated weaver
  • Red-winged francolin
  • Ring-necked francolin
  • Shelley’s francolin
  • Short-tailed pipit
  • Slate-coloured boubou
  • Souza’s shrike
  • Striped pipit
  • Tabora cisticola
  • Western reef heron
  • White-winged swamp warbler
  • Yellow-bellied eremomela

Lake Ihema In Akagera National Park

Situated in the south of the park, Lake Ihema is also one of the most interesting Rwanda tourist attractions in Akagera.

The Lake is fed by Akagera River and its the biggest lake in the park, covering an area of 90 km2  with a depth of 5 to 7 meters depending on the area and the season. The eastern lakeshore also forms the border between Tanzania and Rwanda.

This lake is also rich in biodiversity except for the fish. Ihema is home to crocodiles and hippos. The is a perfect spot for travellers on bird watching tour of Rwanda. It hosts a variety of birds including

  • Shoebill storks
  • Papyrus gonoleks
  • Plovers,
  • Ibis,
  • Malachite Kingfishers
  • Jacanas, and others

Lake Ihema is also surrounded by the large seasonal as well as the perennial papyrus swamps which are significant habitats to Akagera National Park animals. You can take a boat safari within Akagera Park along Lake Ihema

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