During the final week of my stay in Rwanda, my friends and I enjoyed a safari in Akagera Game Park. Akagera is in the east of Rwanda, bordering Tanzania. Most of Rwanda is mountainous, and is either rain-forest or jungle, but some of my favorite memories occurred in the small savanna of the east.
Within our first hour of the safari, we managed to drive up close to giraffes, zebras, buffalo, impalas, baboons, and warthogs. Then we drove down to a lake, where we could see hippopotamuses and crocodiles emerging from the water. I was surprised they lived so close together peacefully.
We spent the night at a campsite overlooking a lake on the border of Rwanda and Tanzania. My friends and I cooked dinner over a fire. I woke up early to see the sunrise and was not disappointed – the pink and orange sky reflected exquisitely over the crystal lake.
When I found out I was accepted to study abroad in Africa, elephants became an ob
session. I purchased clothing from The Elephant Pants and Ivory Ella, two companies that donate profits to the preservation of African elephants. Visitors in Akagera have about a fifty percent chance of seeing elephants. We saw no elephants on our first day, and began the next day trying not to get our hopes up. Much to our delight, we were fortunate enough to stumble upon a herd of elephants, and even saw some babies!
After our experience with the elephants, it began to rain so we headed toward the exit to drive home to Kigali. On our way, we caught a glimpse of a beautiful (and fast!) leopard. Seeing predators during the daytime is a rare sighting in Akagera, so we were lucky to finish our safari with this experience.