Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Wilderness Magashi newsletter – January 2024

Camp news

Nicole Mathesie


Magashi weather and wildlife

January is supposed to transition from the heavy rainy season to a slightly dryer period. However, this year it seems the weather gods might have forgotten about this and Magashi experienced another nicely wet and humid month. The animals were more than happy about this unexpectedly prolonged rainy season, the grass kept growing, the temperatures were moderate, and the mornings spoilt us with sights of gorgeously backlit mist banks hovering above Lake Rwanyakazinga. On top of this, all the humidity in the air made for breathtaking sunsets, each more beautiful than the last.

Unforgettable wildlife encounters in Akagera

Over the last few months, the distinctive call of a red-chested cuckoo could be heard all day and all night. The persistent singing is part of the adult cuckoo’s mating display, and this was clearly successful, as we have started seeing a juvenile red-chested cuckoo daily. Being brood parasites, cuckoo parents do not practice any parental care, and this little one, most likely having been raised by robin-chats until it was a fledging, is now figuring out life all by itself. The young cuckoo’s life must have started somewhere between Tents 3 and 4, and it is such a pleasure seeing it around there, developing its plumage, strength and voice, and venturing out further by the day.



Speaking of mating season… Although hippos mate and fight all year round, there are peak seasons. Currently, we are experiencing an increase in aggressive encounters between hippo bulls, and our nights are filled with the sounds of tense hippopotamuses trying to sort out territories and mating rights – an intense and unforgettable experience for our guests at Magashi. A unique and super rare hippo experience was witnessed by guide Innocent and his guests. The guests had a specific interest in hippos and so they considered themselves extremely lucky when Innocent spotted a brand-new hippo baby in the grass on the lake shore. Everyone was deeply impressed at how the mother encouraged the newborn to take its first wobbly steps. Suddenly the bush next to them exploded in a blast of leaves and twigs, and a fully-grown hippo bull stormed out of the scrub and launched a fierce attack on the baby. The hippo mother, taken by surprise, tried everything to save the life of her offspring, but she didn’t stand a chance against the huge bull, and 20 minutes later the unfortunate hippo baby took it last breath. Witnessing something like this is very rare and shows nature in all its force. Occasional infanticide does occur in many animal species, and in the case of hippos it is believed that the brutal attacks are part of the battles of dominance between bulls.


In addition to all this, our guests at Magashi had outstandingly impressive sightings of the cats. Due to a big pride of lions roaming the north for quite a while, we used to have fewer sightings of lioness Amahoro and her adolescent cubs. However, towards the end of the month, they had moved their hunting grounds closer to Magashi again.



And in terms of leopards, Magashi never disappoints – close to 30 leopard sightings in January speak for themselves.

Cocktail heaven in the bush

Of course, we will never expect our guests to refrain from that safari classic, a gin & tonic, but on your next visit, you might want to indulge in an interesting cocktail journey. A lot of heart and soul has gone into developing a new collection of signature cocktails, with and without alcohol, and our bar team cannot wait to spoil you with some creative liquid treats!

01 / 04

Children in the Wilderness

In January, Term 2 of the school year 2023-24 started, along with the refreshed energy of all the CITW Eco-Clubs at Akayange Primary School and Rwabiharamba Secondary School.


The Club members spent time learning about Akagera National Park, the importance of trees, and the environment surrounding the school.


An excellent start to 2024!


As a family we’ve been in 20+ camps all around Africa. Magashi lands in the top 3. Thank you for the lifetime memories! Everything was perfect.

Family Moya Chavez, Mexico

Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.