Rwandan Wildlife: Akagera (Part 2)

 Rachel shares Part Two of the team’s trip to Akagera:

This Monday was bittersweet, as it contained amazing experiences at Akagera National Park, yet it signalled nearing the end of our trip.

Monday morning we woke up to the sound of crazy baboons running around on the roofs, using the lodge as their little playground. Even though it wasn’t great to wake up that early – up with the baboons… not up with the birds, the sunrise that we got to witness was incredible.

It was one of the most amazing sunrises I have ever seen during my time in Africa, rising in streaks of pink, blue, red and orange over the distant hills of Tanzania. The sun was incredible to watch as we ate a yummy breakfast of eggs, toast, cereal, amazing fruit, and tea.

By seven we were on our way down with our coaster bus to the Akagera Reception where we picked up our awesome guide, Miriam, and started out for a morning safari. Throughout the early morning we saw lots of antelope in various forms (Topi, Waterbuck, gazelle,), many kinds of birds, lots of zebras and giraffes. It was an almost surreal experience.

Later on in the morning Miriam wanted us to see if we could find the elephants again. Our time last night with them had been very awe striking, yet we wanted to see if we could find them one last time before we left.

Miriam took us to the place where we had spotted them the day before, and there were two elephants that had just crossed the road right in front of the bus. We saw two more in the bushes on our left side, and quietly backed up and turned off the coaster.

Within minutes about 20 elephants emerged from the bushes, looking warily at us as they crossed the road. They were about 15 feet away from us, both young and old, a family intertwined in many ways of creation.

The guard elephant, a big bull, watched us carefully as if to make sure that we wouldn’t come touch the elephants in his herd. We held our breath as they crossed, trying our best not to make any sound to disturb them.

On the other side of the elephants was a group of tourists who had gotten out of their cars and stood taking pictures of the massive creatures. Our guide was terribly distressed saying “I have never seen anything so crazy in all my life,” and “they were dead to me.”

It is important to respect and admire the beautiful creatures God has created, and also to be aware that they are strong and powerful, and should be left alone, not taken for granted or interfered with.

The drive back to Akagera lodge was quite quiet. We were all marvelling at the encounter we had just been able to enjoy.

From there we ate an incredible lunch of different meats and pizzas before driving the 3 hours back to the Dmall Hotel in Kigali – our home away from home.

The Team’s departure from Kigali was to be tomorrow night. What an amazing trip we had experienced!