Bisate Lodge- Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Bisate Lodge has dramatic views of the peaks of the volcanoes Bisoke and Karisimbi rearing up through the Afro-alpine forests of nearby Volcanoes National Park.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is located close to the headquarters of the Volcanoes National Park from where clients trek on foot to see the magnificent Mountain Gorilla.
The lodge, situated in the foothills of the mighty Virungas, the chain of 15,000 ft volcanoes stretching through Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, affords wonderful views of the volcanoes and the surrounding countryside. Guest cottages and the main lodge building have been beautifully constructed and appointed and the lodge is the perfect base from which to explore this unique and fascinating corner of Africa.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is Rwanda’s first ever community owned lodge. The lodge was built and is operated by Governors’ Camp Collection, but the ownership rests with a Community Trust, SACOLA, which uses rentals and community fees from the lodge to drive socio-economic and conservation initiatives in the communities adjacent to the National Park.
Accommodation at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge comprises six cottages, two suites, one family cottage. All are stone buildings with Rwandese terracotta tile roofs, and feature large sitting areas, fireplaces, stylish en-suite bathrooms finished with Venetian plaster a dressing room and a sheltered veranda. Heat exchangers in the fireplaces provide a plentiful supply of hot water. The family cottage comprises two independent ensuite rooms connected by a shared verandah. The main lodge building comprises reception, sitting room with snug area, dining room, library / games room, a responsible tourism / community awareness room, shop and bathrooms. Three large fireplaces provide warmth and all rooms are finished with a polished wooden floor. Two patio areas afford wonderful and dramatic views to the Virunga Volcanoes and the surrounding lowland farmland.
In the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda there are over twenty families of Mountain Gorilla, comprised of around 280 individual gorillas, living on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes. Of these twenty families, twelve families are visited with ten families being visited each day. The Parks Authority rotates the families that you trek to see, on a daily basis. For many, seeing gorillas in the wild offers a wildlife experience of a lifetime.
Gorilla treks take place in the morning and depart from the Park Headquarters at around 07:30am. Prior to departure you are given a briefing by park staff, assigned a gorilla family to visit and rangers to guide you. The treks take place on the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes and clients should be in good physical condition as some of the trek can be physically demanding. The treks normally start in the cultivated land on the base of the volcanoes and then you are guided up into the beautiful dense misty forests. The trek normally lasts between 2 and 5 hours depending on the location of the gorilla family and a maximum of eight visitors is allowed per gorilla family.
Once you reach the gorillas you are permitted to stay for one hour to view them. The minimum age for gorilla trekking in Rwanda is 15 years. A maximum of 80 gorilla permits are issued per day and during high season these sell out far in advance, it is therefore important to book gorilla permits as early as possible.
There are two habituated groups of Golden Monkey, one group comprises around 80 – 100 members and has its home at the foot of Mt Sabyinyo. As with treks to see the Mountain Gorillas, treks to see the Golden Monkeys take place in the mornings and visitors are permitted to stay for 1 hour with the monkeys. Departure for the Golden Monkey trek is from the Park’s Kinigi Headquarters at 07:00am. Permits can either be arranged in advance or booked at the park headquarters on the morning of the trek. Porters can be hired at the entry point of the park.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is conveniently located 15 minutes drive from the park headquarters and is the perfect base to trek to see both the Mountain Gorilla and Golden Monkeys. If you would like further information or would like help booking your golden monkey permit then please either contact us or your preferred tour operator for assistance.
You will set off from the lodge on your private tour, and be guided through the fields and villages below us where you will have the opportunity to get an authentic glimpse into rural Rwandan life. You will meet villagers going about their daily activities, have the chance to purchase the traditional brightly coloured woven baskets, have a go at grinding sorghum using a stone and join in on some local song and dance.
This activity lasts approximately two hours and is not physically demanding. The walk is organised at the lodge and is run by guides from the Volcanoes Opportunities Association
Karisoke scientific base was established by Dian Fossey in the saddle area between two volcanoes; Mt Visoke and Mt Karisimbi (from which the name Karisoke is derived). The camp site stands at an altitude of around 3000m (over 9000 ft) and was abandoned during the unrest of the 1990’s. All that remains today is the graveyard where several of Dian Fossey’s favourite gorillas were buried. Dian Fossey is also buried near the graves of her beloved gorillas.
The trek to the Karisoke research camp takes around 3 – 4 hours and takes you through some of the most beautiful stretches of Hagenia – Hypericum forest in the Volcanoes National Park.
The trek starts at 07:00am from the Park Headquarters in Kinigi, from where visitors will have to drive / be driven to the start point for the trek. Permits can be purchased on the day of the trek at the Park headquarters and porters can be hired from here.