Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Akagera National Park

Akagera is a game park in Rwanda's east. I think that for the most part, the pictures will speak for themselves. If you're most interested in sub-Saharan African land mammals, skip to the end, but be warned that you'll miss the hippos. Also, please note that one of the bird pictures is actually a hippo picture. :o) Kevin, thank you for Fancy Camera!

This post of about 50 pictures contains a jump break to spare those of you who use certain kinds of blog readers. Just click on the little link that says "Read more" after the eagle picture to see the rest of the pictures.

These trees are full of cormorants and African darters. We saw them from a boat.
"Please," said our guide, "do not put your hand in the water, because crocodiles."

Purple heron.

Not actually sure what we've got here, but it's purdy.

This big guy is a monitor lizard.

Purple heron...

...purple heron.

Female African eagle.



Male African eagle (smaller than the female).

Eeeeeeee!

This water buffalo didn't want us to pass. Note the baboon hanging out in the background.

Baboons are aggressive. One stole my lunch. It reached right into the open car and
grabbed one of the bags on the floor -- full of the eggs and bananas I was going to eat
later! Really I was lucky, because there were two other bags it could have grabbed
instead. One included not just food but my wallet, passport, glasses, credit cards.
The other contained Fancy Camera.



The park is home to a bewildering number of antelope species and I'm sorry to say I no longer remember which is which!
[Edited to add: Dave says these ones are impala!]

These boys were playing.

Then pausing to model.


[Edited to add: Dave says this is a topi!]

One of the guys who takes care of this amazing park!


I advise you to look really closely at what that bird is sitting on.

[Edited to add: female topi!]

It pays to look closely at the grass in Akagera.




This was at one of the entrances (one of the few places you're allowed to step out of the car).
Our best guess is that it's a water buffalo skull stacked on a hippo skull.

Please, do not get out of the car, because elephants, hippos, crocodiles, snakes, and lions.
Unfortunately......

There are some circumstances in which you HAVE to get out of the car,
in the north of the park, where the elephants and lions live.

My intrepid safari companions, Stephanie and Dave.
Stephanie is the reason I'm in Rwanda; she works here as a doctor.
Dave is also a doctor. I suppose this was some (very small) comfort
given that we got a flat tire in lion territory.
(In fact, we never saw Akagera's lions. They have been in hiding lately!)

We were all pretty happy to get back in the car. So many people helped us; we were so grateful!
And then, we started seeing something new, in the grass.
Do you see it?
Are you looking closely?




I loved this guy. [ETA: male topi!]

More water buffalo.

Oh hi!


Look very, very closely at this landscape. See any distinctive shapes?

Oh my.

You may as well know that the rest of this blog post...

...is giraffes...

...all the way down.

Because giraffes!










What can I say? Thank you, Akagera, for an unforgettable two days.