Located only in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, mountain gorillas are on the World Wildlife Fund’s critically endangered list. There are approximately 880 mountain gorillas left in the world, with about half of the population residing in Rwanda. Rwanda’s conservation efforts have been hugely successful in recent years, and these social animals have managed to increase their population by 25% in the last decade.
In 1975, 26 elephants were moved from Kigali to Akagera National Park. One of the elephants, Mutware, is still alive today, and is known for eating crops from nearby villages and generally harassing park tourists. However, he is an important part of park lore, and beloved by the country.
Of the 700 bird species in Rwanda, many of them are rare and endangered. They can be spotted all over the country, at Nyungwe National Park, Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park, Mukura Forest Reserve and more.
Lions were reintroduced to Akagera National Park in 2015, after not being seen in the country since the 1994 genocide. Seven lions were flown into Rwanda from a private South African game reserve, and 15 lions now roam Akagera’s northern plains.
There are an abundance of primates in Rwanda. Other than the famous mountain gorilla, tourists can track chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, owl faced monkeys, and golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park.
Akagera National Park is home to many different kinds of antelope, including duikers, klipspringer, bush bucks, and impalas.
Akagera National Park has more than 100 giraffes. Easy to find in the northern plains of the park, the stark beauty of a giraffe is difficult to forget.
Contrary to popular belief, hippopotamuses are the most dangerous animal a tourist could encounter on safari. Hippopotamuses have been known to attack, kill, and maim anything that gets in between them and their water. In Akagera National Park, hippopotamuses can usually be found at hippo beach.
Colorful lizards found across the country are generally shy creatures. The agama lizard, hailing from the Agamidae family, is found most frequently in sub-Saharan Africa.
Hordes of zebras call Akagera National Park home, and their stark black and white appearance always makes for an excellent photograph.
Similar to the plight of the lions, rhinoceroses had not been seen in Rwanda for many years. However, in May 2017, 20 black rhinoceroses were transferred to Rwanda from South Africa. There are fewer than 5,000 black rhinoceroses left in the world, and conservationists in Rwanda have big hopes for their rhinoceros population. Additionally, with the reintroduction of the rhinoceros, Rwanda once again has Africa’s big five.