One of the most experienced ethical lodge operators, Wilderness Safaris, has opened Bisate Lodge in Rwanda. It’s close to the Volcanoes National Park headquarters, making it convenient to get going on morning gorilla treks. The exclusivity of the lodge, with just 6 luxurious forest villas, and the recently doubled price of gorilla trekking permits from $750 to $1,500, means that this may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience as it makes quite a dent in the credit card. Is it worth it? Yes, undoubtedly because future generations may not have this priviledge and you have.
Bisate’s architecture and interior design is rooted in Rwandan traditions and lifestyle, using such designs as “imigongo”, a unique Rwandan art form with repeating linear and curvaceous patterns. And the thatched buildings look from afar, like a cluster of domed beehives – quite different to anything else I’ve seen. The verdant greens of the rainforest and verdant landscape brimming with biodiversity appear in textiles and chandeliers.
Having recently written about Wilderness Safaris’ contribution to sustainable tourism in Botswana, they have demonstrated this again with an ecotourism model that contributes to the conservation of the Virunga Massif ecosystem and the endangered mountain gorillas.
It’s their first lodge in Rwanda and they say, “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. We wanted to ensure that our brand of responsible ecotourism made a real difference to both rural Rwandan people and biodiversity conservation.”
I’ve witnessed their ethical brand of responsible tourism and urge you to delve a bit deeper when you go on safari to immerse yourself into the whole ethos of community, conservation ,commerce, and culture.
Things to Do at Bisate:
Have you been gorilla trekking? I’ve seen the gorillas on the Uganda side of the Virunga Mountains and know that the Rwandan side gives a whole different experience.