We set off for Akagera National Park just after sun rise. We stopped off at an over priced Kigali supermarket to get supplies for the next two days. After a bit more faffing in Kigali, we departed on our way eastwards. At the national park office, handed over some cash and we were let loose inside the park. We drove down to the north-south road next the lakes. We immediately saw baboon, warthog, and zebra. With the windows down, we were really feeling connected to nature. Then we saw a fly. And another. And another. “Isn’t that a tsetse fly?” I said, “Don’t they really hurt if they bite?”. The ILPH said “I don’t know?” “Try and get them out the window, quick!“ I said. More and more we coming in. “Stop and wind up the windows!” The screeched to a halt and the windows were winded up in double quick time. Jumping around the car, flip-flop in hand, the attack was on. Every other squish left a large blood stain; product of a recent meal. Five minutes followed of playing the role of a tsetse ninja. We pushed on; we had a campsite to get to. A left was taken towards the top of the ridge, past some zebra and antelope, and we finally made it to the Mutumba campsite. We set up camp. I started a camp fire for at bit of atmosphere and to keep the animals away, while the ILPH made gourmet ham and cheese sandwiches. Akagera is one of the only national parks in the world were you camp in open by yourselves; just you and the animals. As we dined like kings the animals just wondered by in front of an romantic sunset.
The next morning it was time to press on northwards. We packed up and readied ourselves in the car. It wouldn’t start. Balls! Thankfully for the first time all week, we were parked on a hill; lucky. The hill start was completed and as bonus the engine warning light turned itself off; it had been a concern for the previous 3 days. We opened the windows but after 30 mins and the first tsetse fly they were immediately closed. Unfortunately, we were short on time and going further away from the exit. We went a far north as we could past a few more warthog families with their tales erect, turned right at two buffalo herds and started to make our back to the exit along the main north-south road. We saw a sign for hippo beach and took a detour. The beach do not disappoint. We uncovered about 15 hippo who were perfectly still so they appeared like large smooth rocks on the shore. After a few minutes several looked right at us; some inquisitive and some hostile. We dared not go any closer. Continuing on a pace we made back to the exit, checked out and then went on to Kigali.
That afternoon the ILPH had a job interview with British Council and was given the job. A party was had to celebrate!