Kate Webster discovers a place in Africa where wild things roam, all the way up to the foot of your bed.
Laying in bed, I was serenaded by hippos into one of the best sleeps I have ever had. Maybe it was exhaustion, maybe it was the fresh air and sounds of the bush, maybe it was the amazing bed. Or maybe, it was the magic of this place called Magashi.
Magashi Camp is a part of Wilderness Safaris, a company with over 40 camps in seven countries that exist to protect wilderness areas and the fauna and flora they support. You get a sense of this responsibility the moment you enter the camp.
Magashi is nestled in the north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park in Rwanda overlooking the beautiful Lake Rwanyakazinga. This area is one of the most scenic savannah in East Africa I have ever seen.
Open plains transition into grassy low mountains and woodlands before rising into colourful mountains of greens, deep ochre and reds. Lakes break the horizon, surrounded by swampy marshlands thick with papyrus.
The camp is the only exclusive-use area in Akagera, which means guests are the only ones who will be on game drives and wildlife viewing activities in the area. There is an abundance of plains game and a healthy population of lion, which were re-introduced into the park in 2015 after a 20-year absence. Black rhino were also re-introduced in 2017. My sightings rounded out the ‘Big 5’ with two leopards, elephants and buffalo.
As can be expected with the high standard of Wilderness Safaris, my safari experience was enhanced by the knowledge and professionalism of my guide, Adriaan, the staff in camp that made you instantly feel at home and the little extras like a bush breakfast and sundowner drinks on a boat cruise of the lake.
The actual camp wowed me everywhere I looked. Of late, I have become a big fan of glamping, but it never ceases to amaze me how these camps in Africa keep upping the ante on ultimate bush camp luxury. With just six airy tents tucked away in the bush with uninterrupted views over Lake Rwanyakazinga, you get a sense of remoteness. Magashi’s main area comprises a luxurious lounge, dining and bar area, pool, and expansive viewing deck with a fire pit.
It is the way this camp is integrated into its surroundings that makes it so special. Influences of Rwandan culture are balanced with the wilderness that surrounds. There are no fences, so the wildlife is uninterrupted, making their home a shared space with the camp.
On my last night in camp, I felt at one with Akagera. The hippos settled into their evening as I heard them moving about in the water before silent stealth as they walked ashore. I had crawled into bed, leaving my tent open with just fly screens zipped down, ready for the evening’s entertainment. As if just on cue, a hyena called out and the orchestra of the bush began. What a magical way to fall asleep.
For more, visit Wilderness Safaris – https://wilderness-safaris.com
For more on Rwanda, visit the tourism board Visit Rwanda – https://www.visitrwanda.com/