Wildlife species found in Akagera National Park

The wildlife in Akagera has also increased over the past years and the present count also estimated that the park has over 8000 large animals. The new perimeter face that was completed in 2013 also got a positive impact on the high numbers. There are also plans of re introducing the lions as well as rhinos which will make this park a big five destination once again. In the interim, due to lack of predators, game is so relaxed and easy to spot as long as you don’t expect large numbers. Meanwhile akagera safari will not disappoint you.

The animals currently found in Akagera national park

The game that can be seen on an akagera safari includes the most usual plain species; like the topis, impalas, and these seem to be dominant, with the eland, oribi, masai giraffe, reed buck, sable and the roan antelope, as well as the defassa water buck. The hippos, crocodiles, as well as the Burchall’s zebras are also seen during game viewing.  The buffalos are more predominant in the north as are the elephants, even though more restricted. One of the elephants is well known across Rwanda, having been habituated when younger. The Mutware is also the cranky old man o Akagera at 50 years old, he can be calm as well as anti-social and the guide might change direction in case you meet him on a drive.

akagera wildlife


Animal population in Rwanda

In case the animals had a chance to make a choice, then Akagera National park of Rwanda would be selected as their best home. There was an aerial census conducted since 2013 to 2015 that found out that the population of the herbivore animal secies increased to 12,275 from 7892 animals which represents a 55% rise.

The national park was also gazetted in 1934 and covers an area of 1200km in the eastern Rwanda, and protects animals as well as vegetation in three eco-regions, savannah, mountains and swamps. And according to the park officials, the increasing animal population is also credited to the security as well as training of the rangers.

The population of the elephants also increased to 90 units as compared to 88 in 2013 when the census began. Even though there was a slight increase in this period, the two previous years, the elephant population had tripled increasing from 27 units.

The buffalos also increased to 2557 units from 20193 units in the period under review, and within the previous census, they were below 1000 units.

And the lions were also introduced in the park last year and have been doubled from 7 to 15 recently, though there was a great loss of an adult lioness.

The other animals that were covered in the census include; the waterbucks, zebras, roan antelope, eland, topis, impalas, hippos as well as the warthogs which have increased compared to their population in the period between 2010- 2013. The population of the roan antelope is also recovering.

According to the management, the increase in numbers is accredited to the overall management of the park under the public private Program agreement with the African Parks since 2010.

There is also reinforced security and the training of law enforcement staff is highlighted as the key of success in this sector. Even though much has been done, the law enforcement as well as securing the park was the 1st priority. Poaching also reduced in the previous years. There have also been massive training and development of law enforcement staff that advanced last Saturday after the training on tracking skills from Malawi, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

The marketing manager of akagera national park also said that the numbers of visitors have also increased from 15,000 visitors in 2010 to 32,000 in 2015 which also showed that the park revenue rose.

Rwanda as a country is also celebrating this increase in numbers of the animals while in September this year, the wildlife conservation society also reports that by 2020, 2/3 of the wild animals in the world will also disappear due to human activities.


Book your 3 day safari to Akagera.  All game viewing circuit is restricted to one main road which runs northwards beginning at the headquarters of the park found at Lake Ihema.  This road runs close to most of the lakes in the park, or it may be reached by a short junction.  North of Lake Hago, the road separates into 2 major branches, one going west to the green Mutumba hills. on the other hand the possibility for game drives is restricted because this park may only be reached near to Lake Ihema or at the Akagera Game Lodge.  You may drive from the gate at the park entrance up to Mutumba Hills in the distant north and also return in only a half day’s drive. To continue further north it requires the best time of the day, with an option of using the one way exit route that is north of the stunning Lake Rwanyakizinga taking you to the main tarmac road all the way  up to the border with Uganda. on the other hand, the tracks found in the far-way north are pretty vague, and necessitate that you are accompanied  by a safari guide.  Head back to the main road, and you could leave the safari guide at Kabarondo or Kayonza junctions from there he will return to the park headquarters using a motorbike.

Starting at the park entrance gate, a rising and falling road goes through the dense scrub going for over 5km to the stunning Lake Ihema.  It is found on a damp mosquito infested island near the eastern shore of the renowned Lake Ihema.  Additional information regarding the biodiversity of the wonderful Akagera national park may be got from the park headquarters.

Akagera supports the large game within Rwanda! Herds of elephants plus buffaloes are seen coming from the woodland to drink at the different lakes, and lucky visitors may even see a lion or even a spotted hyena.

Giraffes plus zebras walk through its savannah, and over 12 species of antelope live inside the park, especially the good looking chestnut-coated impala, however also the very small oribi plus secretive bushbucks, in addition to the awkward tsessebe plus the cape eland which is the largest antelope in the world can all be seen here.

Camping next to the beautiful lakes in Akagera is a truly magical

Groups of about 50 hippos grunt and play in the water all day long as the giant crocodiles soak in the sun with their huge jaws threateningly open. Amazingly, the air is frayed by the high dueting fish eagles, revealing their status as the greatest monarchs of waterways of Africa. There are great numbers of water birds that usually live on the water line of the various lakes, as the linking swamps are the home of the exquisite yet in danger of extinction papyrus gonolek, plus the majestic shoebill stork which is Africa’s most sought after bird.

Elephants within Akagera Park

The elephants found in Akagera National Park where brought in from Bugesera (in Kigali) back in 1975 and at that time they were only approximately seven years old.

In total, 26 elephants were introduced in that year and these includes 14 males plus 12 females. Among those, just 3 (Mutware – the Chief, Mwiza and Hélico) have been habituated, and the rest are still wild.

The 2 (Mwiza and Hélico) eventually followed the wild herd so Mutware, is up to now alone and continues to cause damage, and perhaps it is for this reason that he is really famous.

And because people only hear stories about this solitary elephant, the story goes that there is only one elephant in Akagera National Park.

However, presently the population of elephants within the park is over 80.

Fortunately, Mutware survived the terrible 1994 genocide, however he lost his ivories. Today he is the major attraction within Akagera park and people travel from various parts of the world into Rwanda just to meet with this giant elephant that is now a residence of Akagera.

Elephants plus buffaloes walk in somewhat large herds, while leopards, spotted hyenas plus lions are seen by lucky guests normally hanging about in the wooded areas. Zebras plus Giraffes are mainly seen in the open grasslands. In addition you will see over 12 species of antelope within the park such as the nice-looking chestnut coated impala. The Shy bushbuck roams within the bushes while the oribi is a unique sight together with world’s largest antelope – the Cape eland plus the tsessebe.