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Ashish Adhikari

There are some times and places in life that you just don’t forget. For me, Akagera National safari in Rwanda is one of those places. This is a story of the time I went to the park with 13 other friends of the family and what I saw can’t be easily described by words.


It was a summer’s Friday and the laidback atmosphere of the whole city made it quite and hot. I was playing on the PS2 when my dad came up to me and said, “So, you want to go to Akagera this weekend.”


“Sure,” I replied. I wasn’t really listening to him at all. I was preoccupied with the wrestling game I was playing on. The time I really found out what was going on was the next morning. I had to get up at 5.00 am to make sure we have enough time get there, have some fun and come back. After a little whining and shouting I finally got ready and set up the car. Just then, four other cars pulled up in our house. I figured, since they were pretty awake and ready for the out doors that they were going to go with us as well. Soon, we got in the car and set off on a 5-hour journey around serene hills and over beautiful rivers.


Once we got there, we went straight into the park and stopped for a toilet/photo/tea session. We all got off, talked a while, and made plans for the visit over a cup of tea. We then decided to go to the main gate and hire a guide so that we can find our way better around the vast park. Once we had the tour guide we were ready to go for a safari. When we set off I was pretty pumped to see giraffes and zebras but after a long wait and no show, my excitement was starting to drain, just then, I saw a giraffe in our rear view mirror, the some impalas, zebras, hippos and finally alligators. I am sure we saw many more animals but these are the ones that I could really remember.


Next, was time to see a certain house in the corner of the park. When there was genocide in Rwanda, during 1994, about a million people died in 100 days and this house we were going to visit the rest house of the mastermind people who made such plan that behind the attacks. It was nothing more than a broken hut but I could fell a certain something around this house. Then I thought that this house wasn’t fit for a murder. The hills around it, the lake below and the crisp air were all calm and fresh so how could a murder have lived here, I thought. Soon after this, though we were starting to head home when we faced a full-scale forest fire. We were jammed in between trees with fire on either side. I a moment of panic, no one knew what happened next. I was told that the guide ran out and stood on the fire with a tall branch as our cars drove over the engulfing flames. When we got away and out of the park, we could see cloud of smoke and a lot of red stuff on the horizon. It was one of the numerous, near death experiences of my life so far.


So, overall, this was one trip not worth missing. You may have heard a lot about African safaris but being there is million times better than anyone says. This was a story about my trip to Akagera National Park in Rwanda, all the things I saw and the near-death experience I had. I wouldn’t miss this one trip for the world.


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  3. I agree that there are some places you just don’t forget. It’s a great story, and you’re so lucky to have escaped that fire! I don’t remember seeing about that on the news or anything and you usually do. But it’s great to have memories of a trip like that – I wish my dad would go take me somewhere on a whim like that.

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