“Bisate Kwanda is the first of its kind in Rwanda – a proud showcase of Rwandan creativity, resourcefulness and commitment to conservation, and a testament to our team, which is dedicated to creating impactful Rwandan journeys. We are delighted to offer this exclusive facility to our guests at no additional cost, maximising their convenience and comfort”, notes Wilderness Safaris Rwanda MD, Rob Baas.
Kwanda is a Kinyarwanda word meaning growth or expansion; a place to gather; a gift – all three of which perfectly sum up the lounge’s unique offering. Located close to the main lodge but tucked out of sight, Bisate Kwanda has local craftspeople to thank for its uniquely Rwandan flavour. From hand-tooled wooden utensils and food boards to delicate crockery, striking entrance floors and hallways, volcanic rock walls and facings, hand-woven baskets and placemats, and garden pots, everything has been designed and hand-crafted by Rwandans to create a truly authentic ambience.
With four spacious en-suite changing rooms, each with a full bathroom and lounge area with coffee- and tea-making facilities, Bisate Kwanda offers guests the perfect place to unwind after an exciting gorilla trek in the Park on the day of their departure. Here they can freshen up, shower, change and even request an in-room massage.
Accommodating arrivals at Bisate Lodge from 12:00 onwards, Bisate Kwanda offers guests a freshly prepared lunch, after which they may proceed directly to their rooms. Guests arriving earlier than 12:00 can make use of the lounge before heading to Bisate Lodge to check in. If guests are not trekking, check-out and departure from Bisate Lodge is before 10:30. However, if they would like to relax in the lounge for a few hours they are more than welcome to do so until the latest departure time at 15:30.
The spacious circular open-plan lounge features a traditional central fireplace, comfortable leather couches and the Bisate Boutique: stocked with local art, and crafts from Rwandan artisans, supporting nearby smaller businesses and ensuring a unique keepsake to take home, it offers a bespoke clothing line created specifically for Bisate, local-grown tea blends, Rwandan coffee, handmade beeswax candles, cow horn art, jewellery, beadwork, woven goods, oils, lotions, and so much more. Although each enterprise offers something different, they all have one thing in common: a desire to uplift their communities and create a better life for themselves and the country they are so proud of.
With sweeping views of the area’s magnificent landscape, Bisate Kwanda is set in the property’s impressive organic vegetable gardens, from which much of the lodge’s menu ingredients are sourced. The dining area has sliding doors that open to undisturbed views of the garden, which also offers ample space for relaxation.
Bisate Kwanda’s menu comprises seasonal ingredients for freshness, the majority of which are picked fresh from the garden or supplied by nearby communities. For example, red-skinned and wonderfully starchy potatoes are grown in the nutrient-rich volcanic soil of the surrounding valleys and delivered to the Kwanda’s door. Eggs are also supplied by a local chicken farmer – organic, free range and delicious. Other treats include wild honey, avocados, tree tomatoes, coffee, tea, plantains, papayas, and chilies to name a few. Culinary delights include hearty soups, seasonal salads, gourmet pizzas, focaccias, platters, burgers, sandwiches, desserts, cakes, fresh juices, signature beverages, smoothies, a range of fine imported wines, and of course, our famous Rwandan coffee.
Conservation in Rwanda is celebrated through various displays showcasing Bisate’s reforestation progress, community commitment and Children in the Wilderness projects. A dedicated employee from the agronomist team is available to take guests to Bisate’s on-site nursery, which has already produced more than 100 000 indigenous tree seedlings every year since opening. “We estimate that some 50 000 trees – principally Hagenia, Dombeya, Neuboutonia, Hypericum, Lobelia and bamboo – have to date made it to a stage of maturity that makes them independent of our care. We are extremely proud of our pioneering reforestation programme that has inspired other operators to follow suit, and which has resulted in the return of numerous endemic species to the area”, adds Rob.
A beautiful tribute to Rwandan conservationists working in Volcanoes National Park during the early days of gorilla conservation is included in the main lounge, giving an overview of the personalities behind this important work from the 1970s and ‘80s. Pictures and stories from that time are interwoven with pictures and stories of these conservationists now, some of whom still live in the villages surrounding Bisate Lodge.
Bisate is Rwanda’s first eco-sensitive lodge centered on Africa’s most immersive wild primate experience. Since the launch of Bisate in 2017, Wilderness Safaris’ first lodge in Rwanda, the company’s visionary ecotourism presence in the region has had a tangible positive effect on biodiversity conservation and the empowerment of local communities. Now, with Magashi Camp in Akagera National Park and an exciting conservation agreement in place for Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Wilderness Safaris continues to offer guests life-changing journeys that have a significant and meaningful impact on Rwanda’s local and national economies.