Many words come to mind as I try to describe our safari through Akagera National Park. Breathtaking, best describes this experience for me. In the days leading up to the safari I watched National Geographic before falling asleep. This led to dreams of wild, majestic animals that can only be seen at zoos back in the U.S.
As we first entered the park, baboons hopped around and gave us an occasional stare to declare that it was their territory. As we settled in our rooms we all had a rule sheet as to “how to behave around baboons” which is when it hit me—I am now a part of National Geographic.
The early morning sunrise took my breath away as it rose behind the mountains of Tanzania and above the lake within park. Our safari began at 7 A.M. sharp and lasted an entertaining 5 hours. We first came across Water Buffalo that were being bothered by swarms of flies. These flies became immediately focused on us. These biting flies did not makes us close our windows or the roofs of our Land Cruisers, but instead prompted us to put on extra layers of clothing as we did not want to surrender in anyway. We then made our way to Hippo Beach for a chance to see these huge and territorial animals. These Hippos were shy at first but within minutes we saw them poke their heads up and blow water in the air as a Whale would. We then wore our welcome out and set off to see our next animal. I extremely desired to see an Elephant and, sure enough, as we drove a group of these large animals crossed the road ahead of us. As I looked around, everyone was sticking
their heads out the roof for a chance to capture a picture. They then made
their way further into the trees, but we were still able to see their giant
white tusks through the brush. The next stop was the grassy plain where several different groups of animals were grazing but still seemed to be all one with each other. I looked to the left and saw a family of Giraffes squatting as low as they could to get a drink of water. I looked to the right and saw a
herd of Zebras doing a horrible job of blending in with the grass. Ahead of us
a herd of Impalas looked at us with curiosity, and behind us many different
species of animals that I couldn’t even identify (due to my lack of knowledge
of African animals) were breathtakingly grazing with no fear at all. We even saw Warthogs in the distance, which immediately made me think of movie The Lion King.
As we departed out of the park we saw a bird fly next to us with such great color we questioned if it was real. This experience was amazing and unforgettable as I was finally able to catch my breath as we made our way back to Kigali.