Visit the Amazing Akagera in Rwanda

By Pauline Burkey

We had a blast hosting family for the last two weeks here in Rwanda and had enough time to leave Kigali for a bit and explore the city’s surrounding areas. We went to Musanze, Gisenyi, and a long time must-do on my list, Akagera!

If you’re familiar with Rwanda at all, you’ll know that Akagera park is one of Rwanda’s many gems. The 1,200 square kilometre park has out of this world views of lush green scenery that is of course accompanied by Rwanda’s iconic rolling hills. Though the park still has a long way to go to rival some of the what other parts of East Africa have to offer, there is no doubt that being surrounded by such beauty in the wildlife and of nature, is nothing short of breathtaking.

Take a look at some of the amazing photos we snapped during our safari. Don’t let the pictures fool you though because April is definitely NOT the time to head to the park. As the heavy rainy season begins, we headed into the park under dense fog, rain and cold temperatures that we were neither expecting nor prepared for. I conveniently froze my butt off while I wore only sandals and a light H&M button up, but you know what they say…beauty is sometimes pain.

As we huddled together in the safari vehicle to keep warm, I kept saying to myself and others that the sun was bound to come up, and surely it did. Just in time for us to spot a beautiful lone giraffe teenager on a lunch break in the savannah. It was just what we needed after a dreary morning.

After spotting the giraffe, our guide let us know that we would not be headed towards the north entrance of the park because the conditions of the road were too dangerous. Another reason why April is not the time to visit. A rule we learned during our briefing was that off-roading is not allowed in Akagera, so if the roads are closed, that is where your safari ends, and because there are only two entrances (south gate and north gate) you’re stuck on some of the same paths throughout.

We started back south and our guide got word of some elephants nearby and we raced off to try and catch the herd in action. Quickly, we spotted them by following the trail of poop and destruction they left behind and were soon surrounded by the African Elephant. The herd was about 25-30 large and consisted of both Adults and babies.

We, of course, reached for our cameras to get some good snapshots in when one of the teenage elephants felt bothered by our presence. Luckily our guide was watching for us and just as he began to give the warning signs and stomp towards us, we started off for safety.

The afternoon let up nicely and the temperatures rose quickly and our game drive turned into being a lovely ride through an incredible park. From monkeys to hippos, zebras and antelope, we got our wildlife fix and enjoyed our day at Akagera.

For those of you looking to visit Rwanda and see some of what this country has to offer, I so encourage you to do so. For a great deal on a safari, call Janvier with A Step Into Nature and tell him Pauline from Kagugu sent you!

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