Wilderness Safaris recently opened their first project in Rwanda.
Wilderness Safaris recently opened Bisate Lodge, situated next to the renowned Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Comprising just six spacious forest villas, Bisate offers a luxurious base from which to enjoy an extraordinary gorilla conservation experience and life-changing journey to this beautiful region.
Situated within the amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, the 42-hectare Bisate site is incomparable in terms of its natural splendour, with sweeping views towards the Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno volcanoes. It is close enough to Kinigi (the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters) to be convenient for guests’ morning gorilla treks, but far enough away so as to feel remote and even – as a result of the pioneering onsite indigenous reforestation project – part of the spectacular Park.
“With only six luxurious forest villas, the real generosity of Bisate in the Rwandan context is the amount of private and exclusive space that surrounds the Lodge, sheltering it in a rare natural landscape brimming with Albertine Rift biodiversity and beauty”, said Wilderness Safaris COO, Grant Woodrow. Each spacious forest villa comprises a generous yet intimate combination of bedroom, reception area and bathroom, all warmed by a central fireplace and with breathtaking views out across a private deck towards Mount Bisoke.
Bisate’s sophisticated architectural and interior design is rooted in Rwandan building tradition as exemplified in the design of the Royal Palace of the traditional monarch. This spherical, thatched structure echoes the thousands of hills that dot the Rwandan landscape, while the richly-detailed interiors exhibit surfaces and screens made from a variety of woven materials with strong resonance in Rwandan culture. Various interior design elements are drawn from aspects of the Rwandan lifestyle, particularly the colourful textiles and use of texture, such as the emerald-green colour in the textiles and chandeliers that is reminiscent of the verdant greens of the rainforests, as well as the vibrant markets that dot the villages throughout the country. Many of the furnishings are decorated using “imigongo”, an art form unique to Rwanda.
As a Wilderness Safaris Premier camp, the overall design concept for Bisate is based on the principle that ‘purpose is the new luxury’, with the vision being to create a world-class venture that will make a dramatic and far-reaching positive impact on more than ‘just’ the mountain gorilla. The whole Bisate experience is based around Wilderness Safaris 4Cs sustainability ethos of Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation. Its pioneering reforestation project, which has already seen nearly 15 000 indigenous trees planted to date, community engagement, cultural appropriateness and exposure, eco-friendly operational systems and more will take guests beyond the ‘gorilla express’ and enrich their experience in this inspiring country.
“Since 2009 we have contemplated how our ecotourism model could contribute to the conservation of the Virunga Massif ecosystem and an iconic endangered species like the mountain gorilla. When we made the decision to invest in Rwanda, the last thing we intended to do was just to build a boutique lodge and sell gorilla treks”, Woodrow added. “We wanted to ensure that our brand of responsible ecotourism made a real difference to both rural Rwandan people and biodiversity conservation. As such, we hope that Bisate will exceed our guests’ expectations, and that together we will be able to make a dramatic and far-reaching impact on not just a Critically Endangered species like the mountain gorilla, but also the entire ecosystem of the Virunga Massif and the rural people living adjacent to it”.