While lots of hard work took place during the week, we also had time to enjoy Rwanda, and the beautiful sceneries it has to offer. Our destination for the weekend was Akagera National Park, a three hour drive from Kigali. Early on Saturday morning we were introduced to our guides, and began our trip to the park. As always, the road was full of beautiful landscape, small towns full of people, and we also drove by some wedding ceremonies on our way.
We were enthusiastic to know more about the country, the towns on the way, what we would see once we got to Akagera, and our guide, Manuel. He showed us the town where he had grown up, the school he attended, and the church where the genocide memorial was. He visits that church every year, during Kwibuka (which means remember) to commemorate the members of his family, and his town, that did not survive the genocide. Manuel knew a lot about the country, and shared stories and experiences with us. He was also great at the park, giving us all kinds of fact about the animals.
Akagera Park was incredible. Twisted roads, fallen threes, horse-flies, exotic flowers, and animals were all part of the journey. We saw families of elephants, and were chased by some of them, who were protecting their territory. We also encountered zebras, buffalos, baboons, antelopes, impala, hippopotamus, fish eagle and giraffes. We were always looking for leopards, but they are difficult to spot, especially during the day. Lions and rhinos are currently not found at the park, but there are plans to re-introduce them. Saturday afternoon and all Sunday driving were enough to drive through the park from the south to the north gate.
On the night we spent there, in the middle of a natural park, and far enough from cities and towns, some of us spent the night trying to identify constellations in the sky, which was full of stars. It was surprisingly easy (with some technological help!). Scorpio, Libra, Orion, and the planet Saturn were some of them.