Trail de Akagera, Rwanda

A multi-day Guided Backpack Trail

This unsupported Backpack Trail is a completely immersive experience. Participants carry everything they require for the duration of the five night Trail in a backpack. With no tents, no technology and no extras, it allows for an appreciation of wild space and it’s intrinsic qualities. Each night on Trail is spent under the stars with participants sharing the responsibility of ‘watch duty’.

Wildlife

It is highly likely that we will encounter the following; Masai Giraffe, Plains Zebra, Topi, Defassa Waterbuck, Impala, Cape Buffalo, Oribi, Bohor Reedbuck, Klipspringer, Warthog, Bush Pig, Common Duiker, Roan Antelope, Eland, Hippo, Crocodile and Olive Baboon. More than 480 bird species have also been identified in Akagera. Other iconic large mammals such as Black Rhino, Lion, Leopard and Elephant are encountered much less frequently. A Wilderness Backpack Trail is not an efficient way of viewing all the iconic mammal species (Big 5). Therefore, these species are not the main focus of our excursion. Our focus is on purposefully engaging with wild spaces, becoming ‘participants’ (man in nature) and deep ecology which explores biological relationships as opposed to individual species. 

Fitness

The Trail meanders approximately 60 km (south to north) across Akagera National Park’s inspiring landscape. Participants are required to be fit (hiking with backpack) due to the undulating terrain. The primary objective is to engage with wild space and not to ‘conquer’ the Trail.  Due to tourism infrastructure (public roads), thick vegetation in combination with a high density of Cape Buffalo and Hippo the Trail does NOT pass along the lakeshore. The age restriction is 16 and persons over 65 will require a Doctor’s letter which confirms that they are fit enough to undertake the Backpack Trail.

Trail Season

The Trail season in Akagera National Park is limited to August, September & October. It’s a suitable period between the fire season and the second (short) rainy season of the year. The climate in Akagera is usually moderate to warm with average temperatures being uniform throughout the year. The average minimum temperature is 14 Degrees Celsius (57 Degrees Fahrenheit), while the average maximum temperature is 27 Degrees Celsius (81 Degrees Fahrenheit). It is advised to take warm clothing for the nights and early morning. 

Note: Akagera National Park is situated within a malaria area and precautions against malaria as well as certain other vaccinations are advised.

Trail itinerary

We make use very comfortable (eco) tented camps on the night before and after the Backpack Trail. Both camps run entirely off solar energy. During the 5-night unsupported Backpack Trail we sleep under the stars (on a thin roll matt) with participants taking turns to do ‘watch duty’. Participants prepare their own meals and will have access to water each day.

Set departures 2020:

Our unique 'Trail Facilitation Framework'

Facilitation of the Trail de Akagera ‘journey’ is based on a framework which has been crafted in collaboration with Dr. Ian McCallum, an analytical psychologist, psychiatrist, wilderness guide, author and poet. This subtly structured approach promotes intentional engagement with wild spaces and deep ecology in a way that stimulates the rediscovery of relationships. With these valuable pieces of ‘wild advice’ participants are able to refocus on what is important in their lives and appreciate the simplicity and silence that enables self-renewal. This product has been assembled with natural leadership groups and life coaches in mind, but will stimulate anyone seeking a fully immersive and perspective shifting experience.

See Dr. McCallum’s Tedx Talk below;

Back to Basics

During the Guided Backpack Trail we focus on needs and not wants, paring things down to their most essential so participants can have an undistracted grounding experience in wild places. In this way we can cultivate an appreciation for simplicity, silence, solitude and the opportunity for reflection that this brings. We know that the less you carry with you in life, the easier it is to reconnect with the natural world and yourself. We practice a strict ‘digital detox’ and participants will have no communication with the outside world.