Akagera National Park offers fantastic birding. Of the 480 species recorded, 100 birds are not found in any other protected area in the country. Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s second most important birding site after Nyungwe National Park, and the two parks complement each other perfectly – most birds recorded in Rwanda can be found in one of the parks. A boat trip on Lake Ihema is a must for serious and casual birders alike. The highlight is a small island where thousands of birds, including cormorants, darters, herons, ibises and African openbills, roost. The birdlife in Akagera National Park is good year-round. Each season offers a different array of species. The Dry season, from June to September, is best for francolins, many wetland birds, nightjars and owls. The early rainy season, in October, is best for lapwings and many open grassland birds. Songbirds are most active from September to November and again in March and April. Colonial breeding waterbirds, such as cormorants, darters, herons, storks and ibises, mainly breed from February to July. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Akagera National Park
A true conservation success story, Akagera National Park in Rwanda is now home to a plethora of wildlife including the critically endangered Black Rhinos. Situated in the eastern part of Rwanda, bordering Tanzania, Akagera National Park is one of Africa’s oldest National Parks, and is a thriving African Parks success. This remarkable story of revival saw Akagera National Park rise into a protected wetland and savannah biome area home to many different species of animals and birds. The park also provides employment to locals uplifting the surrounding communities. African Parks assumed control of Akagera National Park in 2010 and helped turn the park into what it is today. Eastern Black Rhino’s were reintroduced in 2017 and are thriving, joined in 2019 by another group of rescued rhinos. Lions are also making a remarkable comeback and 2 male lions were rehomed in Akagera National Park to further diversify the gene pool. This savannah and wetland haven is home to the other big five as well as hippos, hyenas and much more.
Game drives are conducted with experienced guides who know the local fauna and flora. Herds of buffalo, eland, topis, zebra and impala are found on the plains, alongside journeys of giraffe and dazzles of zebra! Monkeys and baboons are also found her. Other unique species are the Defassa Waterbuck, and Roan antelope. Reintroduced lions are thriving, and leopards are becoming more numerous and more regularly seen on drives. Other predators include hyenas, civits and serval cats. Night drives will pick up the gleaming eyes of the little bush babies as they dart between the trees. Bird watching is particularly good in Akagera, the wetland system home to many diverse species. Lake Ihema is one of the bigger lakes and is where the boating safaris happen. From here large pods of hippos dominate the lakes and twitchers are delighted with sightings of Shoe Bill Storks, Verreaux’s eagle owls, the splendid starling, the marico sunbird, birds of prey and many more. Akagera National Park is a wonderful place for photography enthusiasts. The surrounding scenery is particularly beautiful as are the many iridescent birds and the teaming plains game and other wildlife.