Here's the tree with all the Weaver Bird nests. Below is a photo of male Weaver sitting on its nest.
Beautiful sun rise over the lake at the lodge taken from the lodge roof top.
Edwin's silver Land Rover after the baboons were finished walking all over it and, using the red clay, to paint his vehicle.
One of the first animals we saw was a large troop of Baboons. They played and fought then, just as quick, went back to playing.
More Baboons from the same troop as we entered the Park. If you look close enough, you can see one sitting on the ground under the downed tree on the right side of the two other Baboons. Love these guys!
We saw several of my favorite animals. This giraffe stood in that spot for several minutes chewing vegetation as he stared at me. That's as close as I wanted to get. Although he seemed harmless, he had to stand 30 feet tall. I've never seen a live giraffe that tall, which saddened me to think of how a selfish trophy hunters are that they could shoot and kill one of these beings for nothing more than its head and bragging rights. Rwanda bans trophy hunting, which added to my love for this country. The Government and people love their animals.
This precious juvenile was standing in the middle of the street. He/she seems to be posing for this photo.
Saw lots of Zebra. Usually if we saw one, we saw several. Like wild horses, they travel in packs or herds. I had to laugh when our guide who, with a serious look on her face and in the tone of her voice, commented, "We've been trying to figure out whether the zebra is black with white stripes, or white with black strips. So far, we haven't been able to determine either."
Beautiful shot of a beautiful animal. Many of them stood still to pose for us.
There were several different species of deer like animals. This is, I believe a male Topi Damaliscus. I believe they belong to the goat family. The horns look goat like.
Another species of antelope like animal.
Water Buffalo. They also travel in herds.
Saw lots of Impalas. These are truly beautiful animals. They're sleek with unique markings and the male horns are exquisite. Usually, when you see one Impala, there will be several in the same area. They too are herd animals.
Just one of the unique birds of Akagera National Park which boasts of over 500 species of birds.
We were looking for elephants when we drove down to one of the lakes. There on the bank were about twenty napping hippos. Their bodies were half in and half out of the lake. These two woke up and stood for us.
More hippos in the lake. I once watched a nature program where hippos swimming under water was filmed. I recall the commentator saying that one would assume that because of their weight and shape these animals would be awkward in the water. However, they swim like ballerinas. In the water they're graceful. Out of water, they're awkward. We also saw one alligator swimming around the hippos.
One of the species of monkies who live in the Park.
When we first drove up to three of these little guys, this one was the first monkey we spotted. He/she looks like he/she's waiting for a ride. Maybe a Yellow Taxi Company was on its way for this passenger.
A third monkey was hiding in a tree. We almost missed seeing this guy. Edwin spotted him/her and snapped the photo.
One of the many bird species. This bird caught my eye because it's very prehistoric looking.
For me, it was fascinating to see objects and animals up close and personal I've only previously seen on nature shows. This is one of those "objects." It's a massive termite ant mound. They were everywhere in the Park. This one was built around a tree. Guess this poor tree has fallen victim and providing breakfast, lunch and dinner to the inhabitants.
Just one of the friendly neighborhood Warthogs. We saw several of these. They were ususally hanging out with the water buffalos. I watched two of them running when the guide said something like this, "Yes, when there's a threat in the area, the animals will scatter. However, soon after running away from a threat the Warthog will stop. They've forgotten why they were running.
We were on our way back to the guided tour building when we spied this amorous couple. The female was obviously in heat. The male made several attempts to mount her. She, on the other hand, seemed casually interested, but continued to carry on with what she was doing. I think at one point I saw her turn to the male and say, "Whatever!"
We were ready to give up the search for elephants when, out of a wooded area walked this humongous bull elephant. It was stunning how massive he was. I got out of the vehicle, but got right back in. He was gargantuan in size. It was the highlight of the day for me. I wanted to see elephants and giraffes. I got to see both. How fortunate because when you go into a park such as this, you have to realize you are in a wild area where wild animals live and roam. There is never any guarantee what you will see. After all, this is the animals' natural home. They are there to live. They are not there to entertain. The Park is 12,000 sq. kilometers. There's a lot of roaming area, which makes the Park a true pleasure for animals and animal lovers.
We soon learned where this big boy was headed. He was hungry. We heard him pull down a tree and begin eating all the vegetation. When he was finished with the greens, he began crunching on the trunk. It was loud, but thrilling! Our day was complete. Icing on the cake would have been seeing one of the lions that had recently been brought to the Park or one of the Rhinos, but, that will be a feature for my next trip to beautiful Africa.
For me, this was another highlight of the Park. This iconic tree is called the Acacia. If you watch shows about Africa, you will usually see one of these trees. The PBS Nature Series has one of these trees in the show's introduction. For me, this is a unique symbol of the Continent I have been in love with for a very long time.
Prior to going on our safari, the female guide took me through the facility. This is the skull of an elephant that died of natural causes in the Park. It is enormous. Now you can understand why I decided to get back in the vehicle once I got out and recognized how large the bull elephant was.
I hate to leave you with this image, however, it made an impact on both Edwin and myself. As we left the guide station to begin our safari, we were handed three brown lunch bags. Down by the lake where the hippos lounged was a small picnic area with a few tables and an outhouse. We sat around one of the tables under a shade shelter and ate our lunch. The Park picks up the trash on a weekly basis. However, we chose to take our trash with us in order to drop it off somewhere else where there was room.
When we go to the beach or eat ate a picnic area, if the
trash cans are full, please take your trash with you to deposit elsewhere. This type of sight signififying the behavior of humans completely ruins the beauty of the Park and all its beautiful inhabitants. It's disrespectful of the Park, the animals and Mother Nature.
Smoky the Rhino