Planning to visit Akagera and wondering about what to do in Akagera while you are there?, well read on and you will find out more about the wonders of Akagera national Park.
Birds in Akagera National Park | Rwanda Birding Safari
Akagera National Park is second to Nyungwe Park as the best destination to enjoy Rwanda Birding Safari. The park offers bird watching trips early morning and in the evening along its game tracks. Therefore this avails birdwatchers a great opportunity to see a number of bird species endemic to the savanna. Akagera is prominent for its large number of water birds across the entire East Africa and also as one of the best places to see a number of papyrus endemics.
However, some of the commonest bird species you will see on your safari in Rwanda include the gorgeous lilac-breasted roller, the grey hornbill, the crested barbet, heuglin’s robin-chat, black headed gonalek and ross’s turaco, among others.
According the most recent source records, they reveal that Akagera has a bird list of 525 different bird species living within its boundaries which best reflect the diverse habitats offered in the park. Among these are 44 raptor species including the Balaeniceps rex plus several Palearctic migrants, like the Glareola nordmanni, the Falco naumanni and the Gallinago media.
Akagera also symbolizes the maximum northern distribution of the Zambezi biome species, among which is the Cisticola angusticauda, Lanius souzae and Myrmecocichla arnotti. Furthermore it has one of the Guinea Congo Forests-biome species plus 7 Afro-tropical Highlands biome.
Bird Habitats in Akagera National Park
Akagera park is located off-the-beaten-track close to the border of Rwanda and Tanzania. Its terrain mainly comprises of low altitude plains covered with grass and patches of forests. Also there several swamps plus small lakes following the winding course of Akagera River. All these offer a great habitat to the large number of bird species living in this park.
Boat Rides in Akagera National Park
The best way to see the various water birds is during our interesting short Akagera Boat Tours which will present you with an opportunity to closely observe these birds among which are the rare shoebill storks, African fish eagles, crowned cranes and marabou storks.
Wildlife in Akagera National Park
In Rwanda, Akagera National Park prides as having the highest diversity of wildlife habitats that support a great profusion of wild animals. This includes over 12 different antelope species such as the tiny oribi, the handsome chestnut-coated impala, the Eland which is the largest in the world, and the topi among others. The various animals can best be seen during game drives or boat trips.
The park offers game drives early in the morning as well as in that afternoon during which you will have an opportunity to see the various will animals in their natural habitats. Led by a guide, you will set out for a drive along the various park tracks in preferably 4WD Safari vehicle. The wild animals you may see on Safari in Rwanda include: spotted hyenas, elephants, Burchall’s zebras, various antelopes, buffaloes and giraffes, lions and the sitatunga are also present in the park however these are rarely seen.
Vehicles available for hire at the park headquarters for game drives. The vehicles come with experienced drivers and a guide.
In addition, you may opt to enjoy a self-drive wildlife experience in the park. You can obtain park guides from the headquarters of the park. These will lead you the places with plenty of wild animals that you would otherwise have missed.
Another interesting and unique way to see the wildlife in the park is on boat trips. Akagera offers thrilling boat trips on the lakes as a result you will be able to see wildlife. Some of the water loving animals you should expect include hippos, and crocodiles. These trips will offer you a closer view of these animals that love water. Occasionally you may see some buffaloes and a few antelopes on the shores which would have come to drink water.
There are also plenty of water birds you will be able to see during these boat trips. So always remember to carry your camera as you set out for these thrilling trips.
To best view wildlife in Akagera, we recommend you to do to a 2 Days Trip.
Elephants in Akagera National Park
In 1975, 26 elephants were shifted into Akagera National Park from Bugesera – Kigali. The herd included 14 males and 12 females. Of these elephants, 3 were habituated and these included Mutware-the Chief, Mwiza and Hélico; while the rest remained wild. With time, Mwiza and Hélico followed the wild elephants leaving Muware to remain in a solitary life.
Mutware the elderly Akagera Elephant
With time, Mwiza and Hélico followed the wild elephants leaving Muware to remain in a solitary life. He became rather destructive especially to nearby farmlands and thus gaining popularity among the locals.
Most noteworthy, are the stories told about Mutware the Elephant. These stories have made people think that there is just one elephant within Akagera National Park.
Today, Mutware is over 40 years old, and weighs approximately 6.2 tons. He is one of the oldest elephants among the hundreds living in the park.
Park wardens in Akagera park maintain that this elephant is very friendly to people. Visitors to the Park can easily take photos with it but it is advisable to avoid direct contacts with it especially in the months of June, July as well as August when Mutware wants female elephants.
Unfortunately Mutware lost his two ivories during the 1994 civil war that took place in Rwanda. Today he is among the leading tourist attractions bringing people from all over the world to Akagera.
Walk in the Line.
Experience what fence attendants go through to ensure the Akagera biodiversity is protected and conserved, but walking along a 120km fence on a daily basis. The walk starts at the park entrance taking you 7km into the hills following the fence on the outer-side of the park. The walk takes on average 2 hours and ends at the top of the Ridge with spectacular views of Akagera in all directions.
Behind the Scenes
For more insight into Akagera, including conservation developments within the park, take a ‘Behind-the-Scenes’ tour of the park headquarters and meet some of the people integral to the management of the park. This activity is open to anyone (with minimum numbers applying) but designed for educational groups, or special interest travellers.
Community Cultural Experiences
In collaboration with the community and the park, the Community Freelance Guides have developed some cultural experiences to share with park guests. Visit a farm for milking and learn about the culture and traditions around cattle and milk in the Eastern province. Or, visit a banana-beer maker, or honey cooperative and see how these products are made locally. Revenue is shared with the community members visited.