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Sojourning at Akagera Transit Lodge

Sojourning at Akagera Transit Lodge

Photo credit: Musinga Bayingana

I wrote the original version of this post on Saturday. I did so while quenching my thirst at Akagera Transit Lodge. The said post was a sneak preview of my highly anticipated Sunday morning hot air balloon experience followed by a game drive along the trails of Akagera National Park.

The piece, written in a combination of present continuous and future tenses, was meant to be published on the same day. However, I got distracted by revelers from Kigali and forgot to click the button designed to send my chronicles to the world. When I saw the unpublished story this morning, almost a week later, I wondered what to do with it.

It is too late to post a preview of what has already taken place. However, I guess I can still use the tweaked version to warm you up for my latest Akagera expedition. Spoiler alert: It was an adventure-filled day inside Rwanda’s only Savannah national park.

The initial plan was to travel to the Eastern Province on Sunday and spend a night at Akagera Rhino Lodge. Rhino expected me on Sunday, but I showed up on Saturday. The lodge, named after a ferocious inhabitant of the park, was fully booked. There was no room for a guest who changes his itinerary at the eleventh hour. Not during this busy high season.

With help from Royal Balloon Rwanda, the sole operators of hot air balloon tours in the country, I checked into Akagera Transit Lodge. Like the neighboring Rhino, Transit Lodge was fully booked too. Finding a room in a fully occupied hotel remains a mystery to me.

On Sunday, we entered the park at six in the morning, but it was too foggy to fly right away. When we finally took off, about an hour later, visibility had improved significantly. While in the sky, we were awestruck by the view of the park and a herd of waterbucks. Details of my hot air balloon experience will be written when I am done celebrating the feast of Umuganura. Stay tuned.

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