Big five safaris in Akagera National Park – Discover wildlife and boat safaris in Rwanda
Big five safaris in Akagera National Park – Akagera National Park is Rwanda’s only Big Five destination, which means that it hosts populations of lions, leopards, elephants, black rhinos, and buffalo. It is also at present a rather underrated safari destination, but rapidly recovering from years of neglect following the reintroduction of lions in 2015 and black rhino in 2017.
Big Five aside, the park offers great general wildlife viewing, with the likes of Masai giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, warthog, olive baboon, vervet monkey, and 11 species of antelope are all regularly seen on game drives. Easily explored by boat, the lakes of Akagera also host plenty of hippos and crocs and a wide variety of water birds including the iconic shoebill.
Lions in Akagera National Park
In 2015, seven lions were trans-located from South Africa and reintroduced into Akagera National Park. The five females and two male lions flourished in the savannah areas of the national park. Their numbers doubled in the first year with the birth of eleven cubs. Later in 2017, two additional male lions were transferred from South Africa to Akagera, thus increasing the population of these cat species in the park.
Visitors can spot lions roaming on big five safaris in Akagera National Park while on a game drive, just make sure that your guide knows exactly where to locate the lions. The park offers its guests both day and night guided game drives, with the night game drives being the best option for visitors who wish to see nocturnal animals like lions.
The Leopards of Akagera National Park
The leopard is one of the Big Five animals that visitors can spot during a game drive in Akagera National Park if you are keen and patient. The leopard is naturally a shy and yet deadly animal. Compared to other cat species in the wild, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. Its rosette fur-marked body makes it difficult for tourists to spot the animal in the wild. The leopard spends most of its time isolated from other animals in the wild, hiding in trees and behind tall grass. Leopards in Akagera National Park are hard to spot especially during the day. Visitors who wish to see leopards in Akagera National Park will have to embark on a guided night game drive.
Rhinos in Akagera National Park
The Rhinoceros species in Akagera National Park were a topic of the past with the last Rhino sightings in the park recorded in 2007 fortunately, this is not the current story in the park today. In May 2017, African Parks in conjunction with Rwanda Development Board and the Howard. Buffet Foundation trans-located 18 black eastern rhinos from South Africa back into Akagera National Park. This transfer saw the reintroduction of rhinos in the park, and Rwanda, after a 10-year absence period of the species.
Later in June 2019, the other 5 black rhinos were trans-located from the Czech Republic to Akagera National Park. This translocation marked the longest in the history of translocation of rhinos from Europe to the African continent, covering a distance of 6,000 kilometers. Today, Akagera National Park boasts of over 20 rhinoceros and a wildlife safari of the Big 5 animals in Akagera National Park is not complete minus visitors seeing rhinos in the park. Day-guided game drives in the park offers visitors great opportunities to spot rhinos grazing in the national park.
The African savannah elephant
One cannot talk about the Big Five animals without mentioning the majestic African savannah elephant. Savannah elephants are regarded as the largest and heaviest land animals in the world. These animals can weigh up to 6,048kg and can live for over 60 years. Today, there are over 100 African savannah elephants roaming Akagera national park and visitors can see these amazing wildlife animals during a game drive in the park.