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My trip to Rwanda - Akagera (Part 5)
Tuesday, 14 September 2010 Written by Antonela Perić

GiraffesGiraffe

I once more went to a national park, but this time in Rwanda. In early morning hours we set out from our village of Kivumu in the direction of the Akagera Park. The drive to the well-known Rwandese protected natural reserve took two and a half hours, and we spent the time listening to popular Rwandese songs which were sung by the nuns. There were twelve of us in our not-so-small safari expedition – six Croats: Branimir, Matija, Ivica (Uncle), Lovorka, Silvija, and myself; as well as six Rwandans: Jean-Paul, Justine, Egide, Modesta, Jean d’Arc, and Primitiva.

Although I had already had a chance to see African animals in a park in Uganda, I was nonetheless once more excited to be near such magnificent animals which kids of my age can only see on National Geographic or in zoos. I know that kids from Europe and the rest of the non-African world rarely get a chance to see all of this live...

After our arrival in the Park we didn’t have to wait long to see the first animal. It was a giraffe with her young ones, little giraffes. Eh, was that a sight to see! Tall and slim animals, that have, their loooooooong necks, only seven vertebras (!) looked unreal and beautiful in their natural habitat. We came out to take a closer look, but those animals, regardless of their great size, are very timid, so they immediately ran away. We did, however, somehow manage to take two photos of them.

Next were the wart hogs. We ran into them almost around the ‘corner’, that is, in an adjacent bush. After giraffes, which are very beautiful animals, these hogs – to say the least – appeared to be not so beautiful, if not extremely ugly...

zebraantelopes

Luckily, from that unattractive sight, we quickly came to zebras - beautiful zebras, which, when I was young (but very young, so that we understand each other!!), I used to call horses in pyjamas. Zebras really have nothing to complain about. With those black-and-white stripes of theirs, they look so photogenic and effective in every single photo. While we were observing them from our safari terrain vehicle and commenting how beautiful they were, one tiny zebra tried to jump over a stream, but she didn’t succeed because she was just too small. We were so close to them that we could even touch them if we wanted. However, we knew that it is a wrong thing to do because wild animals are not to be disturbed.

After the black-and-white ocean of zebras we spotted gigantic eagles with younglings. The big eagles – parents, which stay together as a couple for their entire life, were carefully guarding young little eagles and were spreading their wings very protectively over them.

All of those animals we observed through an opening on the roof of the car that was specially designed for safari. I spent almost all of the time in the park on the roof of the car with my friend Silvija. Among other things, we also saw those small animals called topis, which resemble deer. We also saw a lot of monkeys who even jumped on the roof of our car and sat next to us. Silvija and I had photos taken of us with them, but I was a little bit scared in the beginning.  After all, monkeys do not jump around my head every day!

hippopotamusTopi - Akagera National Park

Driving by a lake, we spotted hippos that were lying lazily in the sun. As soon as we approached them, they decided to stretch their legs and jump into the lake which was full of crocodiles. We decided to take a break there and make a picnic. When I approached the lake to wash my hands with Silvija and Lovorka, our park tour guide warned us to be careful because crocodiles could ‘clip’ our fingernails. We laughed but nonetheless approached the lake more carefully to wash ourselves, when suddenly, five meters in front of us, a hippo opened his mouth. Uhhh! And it had such a huge mouth that I had a feeling that he could swallow me up in one piece.

After the picnic we decided to rest for a little while, and we even took a nap beside the lake. And some of us slept so deep that they almost snored! After a good lunch and rest, we once again set out in our search for animals. We decided to look for more giraffes, and we really did find them. After only five minutes we came near to a herd and took photos with them, and the giraffes were standing in such way that it looked like they are really posing. Hey, they really are posers!

When afternoon arrived, we decided that we had seen enough animals and that we should bring our trip to an end. Once more we left behind another nice trip and a beautiful day spent in good company and fabulous countryside. We were all satisfied, so we ended our trip singing Rwandan songs all along the way back to Kivumu.

If we don’t count the few annoying horseflies that were bothering me on the roof of the car and made my life miserable until we got rid of them, this was really one of the African days that will stay forever as a very special memory for me.

To be continued...

Translated by: fra Branimir Mlakić
Edited by: Valerie K. Ken

 
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