This was a group tour. Everyone in the group tested negative for Covid- 19 prior to our departure. Negative results helped to calm down my newfound fear of gatherings.
From Kigali, we headed to Kayonza and proceeded to Gwinkwavu and Nyankora. Then we took the right turn and pursued the newly paved road towards Nyagakonji Hill. It is on this hill where we discovered Ihema View Campsite.
This campsite is set up right outside the fence of Akagera National Park. The view from its vantage point is breathtaking.
The facility is named after Lake Ihema, found in the protected area. From the campsite, we saw the lake and the entire national park. Speaking of the park, our itinerary included a game drive across Rwanda’s only Savannah wildlife habitat.
It is advisable to enter the park as early as possible. That’s why most Akagera-bound tourists leave Kigali at 4 a.m. The good news is, you don’t have to wake up at 3 a.m. Who wakes up at 3 in the morning in pursuit of leisure? I recommend spending the night in the vicinity before your Akagera expedition.
After dinner, I sat by the fire and shared a drink with fellow campers. I am a huge fan of the campfire and its storytelling tradition. However, some guests chose to sit on the wooden terrace overlooking the park, even though darkness had enveloped the surrounding areas.
There is a modern kitchen and a freezer in the premises. This is ideal for those who want to camp in the jungle without compromising the services offered by their favorite restaurants in the city.
The campsite has modern bathrooms and basic amenities. The tents have comfortable thick mattresses, bedsheets and duvets.
Through camping, we bonded with nature and took a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The highlight of the trip was the catwalk staged by wild animals in the park. As expected, camping in the wilderness and the entire safari experience created cherished memories. This getaway was also a rare opportunity to indulge in social interactions during the pandemic.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Kayonza is sponsored by Ikaze Rwanda Tours & Travel, Imigongo Art Center, Silent Hill Hotel, Jambo Beach, Ihema View Campsite and Akagera Rhino Lodge.