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Akagera National Park
Swamps and lakes characterise the Akagera River which lies at low altitude on the border with Tanzania. This part of the country could hardly be any different to the verdant green hills so common across the rest of the country. The river meanders through marshes and bodies of water forming this remotest source of the Nile and create an archetypical African landscape of tangled acacia woodland interspersed with open savannah. Although the wildlife is not on the scale of some of the bigger parks of Africa like the Masai Mara, the Serengeti or the Okavango Delta, there is a good variety of big game.
The marshes play host to some of the densest concentrations of waterbirds including the endangered and exquisite papyrus gonolek. This is also a known site for the sought after shoebill stork and fish eagles are seen and heard over the whole area. Hippopotamus are present in relatively large numbers, up to 50 in a pod while crocodiles of great size sunbathe regularly on the banks of the river.
Elephant and buffalo roam in relatively big herds, while spotted hyena, leopard and lion are spotted by lucky visitors usually lurking in the wooded areas. Giraffe and zebra are most commonly seen on the open grasslands and there are a slightly more than a dozen antelope species in the park including the pretty chestnut-coated impala. Shy bushbuck lurk in the bushes and the oribi is a distinctive sight alongside the tsessebe and Cape eland (the worlds biggest eland).
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