#1 Wishlist Alert: Bisate Lodge in Rwanda
It might not only be Rwanda’s most beautifully designed luxury retreat, if you ask us it’s one of the best places in the whole of Africa to immerse in a total wildlife and nature experience.First of all; when you go to Rwanda it’s because you want to see the gorillas. At least, that is something that applies to most of the travelers. Yes, the prices for the permits here are much (read; twice the price) higher than those in neighboring Uganda but that also means that a permit is easier to get ánd you don’t have to share the gorillas with as many humans as in Uganda. And that is of utmost importance, because there are only 700 mountain gorillas remaining on this earth. Most of them are living far away from human reach and only a small amount of them can be tracked and observed by small numbers of visitors under the strict and watchful eyes of the park rangers.
The gorillas in Rwanda are mainly living in the Volcanoes National Park, and that is only a two hour drive from the international airport. That makes it easy to combine an active stay with some proper downtime on the beach (think Zanzibar in Tanzania). Besides that, in Rwanda live twice the amount of gorillas compared to Uganda. Need we say more? We vote for a trip to Rwanda!
Listen, this does not come cheap. So if you are a looking for a more budget safari, this won’t be something of interest to you. But for those travelers amongst you wanting to spend a bit of cash, a stay at Bisate Lodge in Rwanda, to meet the mountain gorillas up-close-and-personal, is the best you can get.
Just as the gorillas, the amount of suites is also very limited at Bisate Lodge. Which is great. Because it means you get full and dedicated attention of the staff and you don’t have to share this amazing piece of paradise with many others. Which is becoming incredibly valuable in this busy world! When staying here, you will be amazed by the design. How on earth have they been able to transport the materials and furniture to this remote part of the world!?! And all of that while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of surrounding rural Rwanda.
But back to what it is all about; finding the mountain gorillas and being able to observe them. From the lodge it takes an easy drive to the headquarters from where the gorilla treks depart daily. As a guest you are invited to participate in the biodiversity conservation efforts and engage with the local community. This is all in addition to making a far-reaching positive impact on the mountain gorilla; an iconic critically endangered species.
And then…of you go. There are twelve habituated groups that can be tracked and observed. Please be prepared to have to hike a little bit; the expedition can range in length from 1 – 8 kilometres over very steep country at high altitudes. Including the time spent with a gorilla group, the total excursion can take between 2-8 hours. Needless to say that a certain level of fitness is necessary. There are strict protocols that are followed to keep the gorillas safe, and your viewing unforgettable.
After a long but exciting day out in the forest, you return to the ever smiling crew at Bisate. You can call it your home now, your comfortable villa that is waiting for you. Dinner is served in the cosy restaurant but not before you have enjoyed a drink in the bar, with a view. In the colder months, the fireplaces are warming you up and when the days are warmer you can enjoy a breeze over dinner on the balcony. There are 45 staff members, the majority coming from the local area. Always smiling and swift. Guides are available and happy to chat to you at your convenience. In-house guide Aline Umutoni is happy to take you on a nature walk and to introduce you to the nearby villagers.