Wild Rwanda!

 

On most of my Heifer trips, I’m pretty much all work and no play, which I suppose makes Betty a dull girl…except somehow it never, ever feels dull to me.

This trip to Rwanda was Lulu’s 21st birthday present trip, though, so after 5 solid days of project tours, home visits with Heifer beneficiaries, Passing on the Gift ceremonies, and five-hours-a-day bouncing around in trucks, I felt like she’d earned a little R&R.

So we headed to Akagera National Park in Eastern Rwanda, one of the least populated (at least by humans) places in this densely populated country.

We stayed in the odd but beautifully situated Akagera Game Lodge (“It looks like a horror movie should be filmed here,” Lulu sagely noted of the half-reconstructed hotel with a wing full of forlorn, windowless rooms but a glorious pool with stunning views of Lake Ihema.)And of course, the animals we saw were amazing – we drove right up to hippos, giraffes, baboons, antelope, zebra, and countless exotic birds — and pretty much had the park to ourselves.

The only thing we didn’t see was Akagera’s herd of 100+ elephants. But it was somehow comforting to think that amount of body mass could disappear into the wild… especially in Rwanda, where there is so little wild left.

After all the beautiful Heifer animals we’d seen, you might have thought we’d be over the awe.Not even close.

The bigger, the wilder, the better! We love Africa!

Categories: Africa, Animals, Heifer International, Photography, Rwanda, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

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30 thoughts on “Wild Rwanda!

  1. What a great job you have! Beautiful pictures; hope it’s not too hot over there!

  2. You hit the trifecta with this post. Taking amazing photos, enjoying much deserved off-duty-time with the birthday girl, and the best, sharing it all with us. Incredible.

    • Thanks SO much, EOSR — we really had a spectacular time, and I’ll be remembering it all for a long time!! So happy you liked the photos, as I know YOUR talents …

  3. beautiful, but how challenging to live with such wild beauty and yet make a life for one’s family!

    • Yes, but almost no people live there — although half of the park’s 2500 square kilometers were taken out of protectorship when refugees came back home after the genocide … and were given land. When i say that Rwanda is really densely populated, it’s hard to overstate that. Every bit of land is cultivated… except here!

  4. Deb Morrow Palmer

    You are also a talented photographer also. Really great pictures of the amazing animals in Africa!

  5. Didi

    What a wonderful 21st birthday treat. You both are so lucky to have this opportunity. What beautiful animals. I’m green with envy!

  6. Thanks, Betty. A real less-is-more post. Stunning photos. I want your camera.

    • You can have my camera, Chris! It’s a Canon t2i with a Tamron 18-270 lens… i LOVE it!! thanks so much, hope you’re doing well — I know how much YOU love africa, so i’m glad to bring it back to you!!!

  7. Seeing Africa through your photos I’m also in love with it.
    My favorite photos are the two hippos and the sunset over the lake.

    • Rosie — can you believe that Lulu somehow captured those two baby hippos RIGHT when they started play-attacking each other?? I love that one, too! Hey, I’m in Toronto tonight (on my way to Armenia) and hearing all about TIFF I want to stay… and of course, I’m thinking of you!

  8. Reading your blog I often experience a range of emotions: awe, joy, sadness, wonder, hope… but this time – it’s 100% pure envy! Of course you’ve so completely earned and deserve this wonderful respite – but oh, how I wish for just one day it could have been me! Sigh… just beautiful…

    • TS — I felt a little bit guilty having such a beautiful respite… but I really felt like Lulu had earned it! So happy you liked it and wish I had been along, too!!

  9. Anonymous

    Betty, you are far from dull…ever! Wonderful as usual.

  10. Beautiful animal photos! I especially love the giraffe photo :)

    • That giraffe was so totally relaxed — we drove literally right up to him, and he still didn’t run away. I wanted to show Lulu how beautiful and graceful giraffes are when they’re running, but this dude was just way too laid back … serves me right!

  11. My blog address is daniceseclecticblog.wordpress.com, not blogspot.com :)

  12. Thanks, Danice!!

  13. Jenny Trozell

    Amazing pictures! Wow, what an adventure!

  14. Susannah

    Great pictures.

  15. havepulsewilltravel

    So amazing, what a great trip and you seem like perhaps the most amazing of mothers! Love all the animals.

  16. I love that Toronto is on the way to Armenia. lol

  17. How beautiful these pictures are!

  18. Funny, I always mean to ask who “your photographer” is! You could have another career doing just this! Your photos capture amazing snippets of nature and spirit. Keep ‘em coming. (obviously, I am playing catchup right now!)

    • Thanks so much, Lori — I just blew up 30 of my portraits to sell for the Heifer Summit in October, and they look so beautiful I just burst out crying when I saw all those faces of people I absolutely loved …all together like some wild, gorgeous family.
      I seriously am so lucky I’ve gotten to do this — I just feel eternally grateful!! Miss you & Deb!!!

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