18. AKAGERA LODGE & IGISORO
After leaving Mutware at his end of Lake Ihema, we went to where the marshes were and saw hippopotamuses, huge termite nests, herons, and birds we couldn't name, all fishing amongst the reeds.
There's Bob and crew around our Safari Vehicle, which I suggested the driver paint with Zebra stripes when he gets home to Kigali.
At that time of day the hippos are up to their eyeballs in water and nothing will lure them out.
Then we drove back up the steep and winding road to the Park Office where we said thank you and goodbye to our excellent Park Ranger who had guided us on a personal safari that probably compares favourably, in my opinion, to anything Kenya could offer.
It was a very short distance down the road to the Akagera Game Lodge and, on his recommendation, we headed there for a late lunch in their exquisite lounge:
After ordering drinks (maracuja for me) we asked Cecile what was in the long wooden case on the centre of the table. She opened it up and showed us that it was an ancient Rwandan game called "Igisoro". The board is divided into thirty-two small cups (eight in a row, two rows for each player), into which tiny balls made of beads or beans are placed. The language barrier again getting in our way, we asked for a demonstration and Cecile and the driver played a game and Bob thought he caught on so well that he asked to play the winner. The winner was the driver and, with Cecile giving Bob advice from the side, he managed to score a few points but in the end was obliterated, losing all his beans in one fell swoop. But we liked the game so much that we made sure we bought one in a souvenir shop before leaving Rwanda. Now we have our own Igisoro case on the centre of our table, along with rules of play we printed off the internet. (It helps to know the rules.)
After an excellent lunch we stepped out onto the deck for a spectacular view of the back of the Lodge and Lake Ihema in the far distance. Then we walked down to the grounds below:
The pool was so inviting Bob almost jumped in fully clothed, and we all regretted not bringing our bathing suits, or making arrangements to stay the night.
Akagera Game Lodge would be the perfect place to begin or end a perfect day at Akagera National Park, or as a place to get away from it all for special occasions or conferences. We highly recommend Akagera to everyone traveling to Rwanda. It's a place to relax and learn Igisoro in beautiful surroundings.
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