Our amazingly long weekend continued as we geared up for wild life safari at Akagera National Park. Situated at approx. 4 hours’ drive from Kigali, Akagera is one of best weekend getaways in Rwanda. We started early in the morning crossing the countryside and the mountainous terrains on our military landrovers (I drove one and it moved like a beast, for $ 15 K, it is a steal ).
Once we reached the hotel located at the national park, some of us fiddled in the pool, while others hovered around clicking pictures and enjoying the nature. Soon we heard Emma shouting aloud, before we could understand anything, I heard a baboon sneaked into her room to grab some oranges. That was some thrill and a heads up for a great wild life Safari. The CAP team convened at the restaurant for a group lunch before heading off for our first game drive.
As our jeeps whizzed past the hotel campus, I quickly settled in at the roof top of the jeep. Few meters down the road, we were greeted by a family of baboons basking in the sun. Moving ahead we saw some Zebras grazing under the brisk sun. The game drive was supposed to be 3 hour long and we were heading towards the shore of one of the lakes formed by the Kagera River flowing on the eastern side – after which the park was named.
Moving across scenic landscape we spotted some very colorful birds but most of us keen to see something really wild. The never ending wish list was lion, hippo, elephant, giraffe, leopard, topi’s and many others. Though our tour guide made some efforts to track elephants, we were not able to find any unfortunately, though we spotted some Impalas munching on lush green grass. In a while we landed at the lake side which was too scenic to be captured by cameras (we tried our hand though). While we heard grunts, and some of us managed to sneak peek of a hippo as it protruded its head out of water.
As it turned dark, we returned back to hotel at the park. We were informed that the next days’ game drive would begin at 7 am and we will be heading towards north. After wrapping up a lavish dinner, some of us headed back to rooms, while some chose to gaze stars.
The next days’ game drive was supposes to be 7 hour long and thankfully we had our lunches packed. (Two for Chris Petrucka: P) Within few minutes we were in the jungle and it was a memorable experience sitting on the roof top and moving around the rocky trails. Soon we were discovering herds of impala’s, a couple of topi’s here and there, and some baboons every now and then. As our vehicles moved in the sludge, the bugs were biting us quiet rampantly. Though it stung for some moment, it was fine after a while – but way to irritating to handle.
Nevertheless, the whole experience was beyond imagination. We saw a hippo running into the jungle just after our jeep crossed a trail. After a while, we landed near the shore where we found some alligators. Moving ahead, we came across an absolutely beautiful savannah where zebras and other animals grazed in sheer comfort. A while later, we moved to another lakeside chasing zebra’s and some wild buffalo’s. As you can see from the picture below, it was really beautiful but what created the most excitement was the presence of hippos 200 meters away from us in the shallow waters. Suddenly our tour guide said, look at that wild elephant!! On another side of the lake, we saw a giant elephant half immersed in the water. It looked like a great picnic spot and we did not miss the opportunity as we ate our lunch comprising sandwiches and fruits.
It was now the time to meet giraffes (the most sought animal). As we chased some zebras in the savannah, we slowly moved towards giraffes as they quietly munched the leaves of the trees. For a moment it looked completely unrealistic. I clicked as many pictures as I could, but the best shot of the day (below) was the one when I managed to capture a picture of Prof. Click with giraffe from very close quarters.
After posing for a while with giraffes, we headed for the rest of the game drive. The trail took us to different sides of the forest as we discovered some more wildlife by the lakeside. It was almost 7 hours as one of the most thrilling experiences of our life was coming to an end. Suddenly, our jeep driver braked and before any could say anything, we saw a viper right on the middle of the road. As we slowly moved, it crept into the grasses. However I managed (thanks to roof top of our jeep) to take a shot (see below) before it disappeared!!
An exciting and little tiring day came to an end as we drove back to Kigali for the next bought of meetings lined up for the final week of our CAP; and yes the final presentations to the clients.