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My friend, David (who I talked with about math and evolution on previous blogs, links are below.) went on a backpacking trip in Africa recently. This is his story of the experience of other cultures.
This is the ninth blog in part 2 of this series. Here is the link for the page where the others can be found:
June 13, Akagera, Day 1:
We started off the day with a 6-hour-long bus ride to Akagera from the North Province, past Kigali. We only had a few stops for washroom breaks, snacks and lunch.
When we got there, we headed directly through the gates of Akagera National Park, a 1 112 square kilometre wildlife reserve with all kinds of animals. After just about ten minutes of travelling, we saw a family of baboons cross the road in front of us. After that, I was the first person who spotted a waterbuck that was lurking deep in the bushes. It’s another animal with less shock value, but it was quite interesting to see the frankly, flightless birds that ran around the road. Their long necks and legs made them look like they were constantly about to tip over in an almost comical fashion.
We reached the park’s main office after about half an hour of travel. This was where everyone would be signing in. There were infographics about the park’s history and wildlife, and a room that was full of animal bones that were on display. Our tour guide, Daniel, who we met at the stop, was replaced with another one named Bosco. He would be staying with us for the rest of the time. From his restaurant, we had also picked up Hans, the chef who would be cooking for us at the camp site.
On our way to the camp site, there was no shortage of breathtaking views, both of the animals and the distant landscapes of wildlife territory. Along the way, we also saw zebras, buffalo, and impala.
Once we arrived at the camp site, we set out our things and dropped off the food and Hans. He would get started on the cooking before heading back for the remainder of the evening to see more animals. Safari vehicles aren’t permitted to travel around the park past 6pm, so we had to make the most of what was left in the daylight.
Once we were back, the tents were set up and we got the fire started. We hung around while we waited for the food. I was playing my guitar in a corner while everyone else was talking in groups. The view from the enclosed camp site was amazing, especially after the moon came out over the lake at night.
In the evening, we had dinner while everyone was sitting around the camp fire. We listened to Kyle improvise jingles about the trip and play them on his guitar. Everyone was having fun. The stars came out and the milky way was showing its bands of light across the sky. Some of us laid down to stargaze.
Meanwhile, I went for a walk around the entire perimeter of the park. I walked by the electric fence that was protecting us from the wild animals. It was pitch black along the edge of the bushes that enclosed us to my left, and the fence on my right side. It was very interesting to think that I was surrounded by large animals that I couldn’t see, who lived in the rugged landscape; the place where humans first evolved millions of years ago. I stayed up half an hour later than everyone else to look at the moon shine past the hills that were above the lake. I felt the light warm breeze flowing by my face as I was warmed by the dying embers of the fire. Alone in the wild African bush, I was very much like the way that our ancient ancestors once were, a long time ago. This was the environment that granted us the ability to have all of the emotions that we experience today. We got them through thousands of generations of trials and errors of life and death of those who preceded us.