Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge- Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Located close to the headquarters of the Volcanoes National Park from where clients trek on foot to see the magnificent Mountain Gorilla.
Bisate Lodge is located in the natural amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone – the word bisate means ‘pieces’ in Kinyarwanda, describing how the cone was once whole but worn away by natural erosion. The area has dramatic views of the peaks of the volcanoes Bisoke, Karisimbi and Mikeno rearing up through the Afro-alpine forests of nearby Volcanoes National Park. Six sumptuous en-suite rooms maximise comfort, warmth and views while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of surrounding rural Rwanda.
Bisate is within easy driving distance of Park Headquarters, from where gorilla treks depart daily. Its vision of reforestation and rehabilitation means that each guest is invited to participate in our biodiversity conservation efforts, as well as engage and meet the local community – in addition to learning about and making a far-reaching positive impact on an iconic Critically Endangered species: the mountain gorilla.
Whilst the main focus at Bisate Lodge is gorilla trekking, Wilderness offers other activities…
Gorilla trekking takes place from Volcanoes National Park headquarters where guests are allocated one of the ten habituated gorilla groups to visit for an hour. After a briefing by Park rangers, the time of the trek varies depending which gorilla group is being visited – from 45 minutes to a few hours. Trekking is at a high altitude, but is well worth it; the time spent with gorillas has been described as “life changing!”
The golden monkey trek begins at Volcanoes National Park headquarters. This beautifully-coloured primate is endemic to the area and lives in groups of up to 30 individuals in the bamboo forest, its preferred source of food.
At 3 711 metres Mount Bisoke volcano is located on the border of the DRC and Rwanda. The guided hike to the summit is strenuous and requires a full day to complete. However, once at the top it is extremely beautiful and really worth the effort as you are rewarded with sweeping views of the rainforest and the amazing crater lake.
Dian Fossey established the Karisoke Research Centre in 1967 in the saddle of Bisoke and Karisimbi volcanoes at an elevation of some 3 000 metres. The trail leading to her remote rainforest camp and grave – which is set alongside the graves of her beloved gorillas – and the remains of the research centre is a spectacular, if challenging hike up steep slopes where orchids, birdlife and even occasional black-fronted duiker and bushbuck can be seen.
Guests can walk to the vegetable garden where members of the local cooperative cultivate and sell vegetables to the lodge. Your guide will continue with you along the path to the Bisate community where you will meet Beatrice who will tell you a bit about her way of life and introduce you to her family.
Spend an afternoon with the team at Bisate’s reforestation nursery where you can meet Jean-Moise, the lodge’s agronomist. He and his assistants are on hand to help you plant a sapling to contribute to Bisate’s reforestation efforts in the area.
Rwanda is well known for its coffee and tea; at Bisate we offer you the chance to learn a little more about both in a tasting session with our resident barista. Or if you are more interested in spending time in the wine cellar, you are welcome to enjoy a wine tasting as well.
Explore Bisate’s surrounds on a guided nature and bird walk in the forest to learn more about the bird- and wildlife of the area. You may also enjoy a guided walk to the local pyrethrum fields and end the day at sunset with spectacular views of Karisimbi, Bisoke and Mikeno volcanoes from the viewing deck at Bisate Lodge. There is a self-guided trail on the property for those who wish to explore on their own.
Aside from the area’s iconic mountain gorillas, other mammals that call the Volcanoes National Park home include a wide variety of Albertine Rift endemic species. The most visible is the golden monkey while lucky visitors could catch a glimpse of bushbuck, black-fronted duiker, buffalo and even elephant in the forests. A variety of squirrel and genet species are also to be found here. Nearly 300 bird species have been recorded on the Virunga Massif, of which 18 are Albertine Rift endemics. Sought after species include Archer’s robin chat, mountain black boubou, strange weaver, Rwenzori batis, mountain masked apalis and Rwenzori (collared) apalis.
Visits to Rwanda are as much about people as they are about nature and Bisate’s location in a friendly rural area allows for ad hoc and planned interaction with the local community … whether in the fields, at their homes or in the local markets.