You guessed it – zebras, giraffes and crocodiles. We had an amazing visit to Akagera National Park in the north east of Rwanda where it borders with Tanzania. It’s like driving through the Lake District National Park, off road (totally different scenery) and instead of seeing sheep grazing you see Topi, Impala, Water Buffalo and Zebra. The zebra in particular are very beautiful up close – the markings are so distinct, I hadn’t realised what wonderfully interesting faces they have. They seem happy that you have come to see them in their natural home, perfectly content and not afraid. From a distance they look grey.
I really wanted to see giraffe in their home environment and I was not disappointed. We searched around for a while and then our guide said ‘I see giraffe’ and we went off the track onto the grassy plain. YES there they were! Two giraffe quite a long distance away but with my binoculars I could see them clearly. The male was soooo tall and his bulk enormous, beautiful markings, so very exciting!
However, at this point we realised the vehicle was well and truly ‘stuck in the mud’, no amount of rocking backwards and forwards was going to get us out of that deep watery hole! During bouts of helping to push, I was thrilled because we were able stand on the grassy plain and for a few precious minutes we were part of the sounds and smells and sights of the Savannah. It took about 45minutes to free the wheels and off we went...
We thought that was going to be our only sighting of the giraffe but the guys don’t give up easily and not far around the corner we came across them again – this time a family of three – male, female and baby. It was a wonderful sight, to see them feeding from the tops of trees.
We continued our drive down to the lake and pulled up about 50metres away. Our guide pointed out the ‘floating logs’ – three of them soo close to us! And then we spotted the enormous crocodile sunbathing on the rock with its great mouth open, displaying his set of teeth! He did not move a muscle, he was so still. We stood in awe. A baby appeared from the water and joined his family on the rock. We ate our picnic at this spot and one of the crocs must’ve decided he was hungry too because suddenly there was a great tail thrashing in the water and a duck disappeared!!
Thinking what an amazing day we’d had we began the long drive to the South gate, but the excitement wasn’t over yet. As we rounded a corner of the track the most enormous elephant stood in our way! I didn’t know a big vehicle like a Landcruiser could reverse so quickly! Because that is what you do! If you come across an elephant suddenly, do not stand and admire it, do not beep your horn and expect him to move, you are in his territory and he may not want you there, so get out of the way!!! We admired him from a safe distance, then took a circuitous route through the bush to continue on our way.
The guide said we had been very lucky to see so many beautiful animals, and I know that we were because those animals just roam around freely wherever they want and no-one can predict accurately where they will be from one day to the next. A wonderful end to wonderful holiday.
Keep safe everyone and enjoy the extra holidays. xxx