Just had a fun weekend at Akagera. Maia's friends came to visit from England, so we all piled into the car and headed for an overnighter. I've been to Akagera in the past, but never stayed at the game lodge before.
We set off from Kigali around 12:30 on Saturday, after brunch at CasaKeza.
|Buying toys from local children.|
Takes a couple of hours to get to the national park. They've just reintroduced lions and rhinos from South Africa. We saw the crates they brought the lions in.
They've also redone the visitors' centre and included some fascinating animal bones.
We went up to the lodge to unload and the kids had a quick swim before we headed off on an evening game drive.
|Got the Rioja?|
There are a lot of baboons living in the hotel complex. They even have their own swimming pool, but we were in top-floor apartments and at night they ran rampage over the tin roof. We woke the next morning to find the stairs coated in baboon poo.
The next day, Maia and I opted for a lazy morning and a late breakfast, then went down to the pool to join Karen and Dan who had gone on an early-morning game drive with their kids. We had a lovely couple of hours relaxing pool-side with coconut G&Ts. Then we took a leisurely drive back out through the park to look at some more animals.
|Weaver Bird Nests|
It's nice to have Akagera on your doorstep, and it's extremely cheap entry, although the lodge accommodation is rather expensive for basic rooms and questionable service. The main issue is that the park is very hilly and covered in brush, so it's pretty hard to see anything. This was my third time and I've never seen an elephant there. I don't personally know anyone who's seen the lions or rhinos yet, though I'm sure someone has. If you want the full safari experience, I'd suggest Maasai Mara or the Serengeti.
The drive back was interesting. There's a lot of road laying going on, so entire villages are coated in red dust, and a lot of people still live in traditionally-built mud houses, which is quite a contrast to Kigali's blue glass and stainless steel.
We stopped off at a women's cooperative run by Women for Women on the way home. It's called Urugo, just outside Kayonza, and worth stopping at. A pleasant place for lunch, though they could do with a few more sit-down toilets. They also have ecological conference rooms that collect rainwater and run on solar energy.
A fun getaway for all. We swung home past a kids' party, where Taia and her friend Geogie got their faces painted.