Bisate in Pictures

“The continued existence of wildlife and wilderness is important to the quality of life of humans.” – Jim Fowler

Dian Fossey beautifully wrote of and made famous Rwanda’s mountain gorillas in her novel Gorillas in the Mist. But no book or film will ever adequately portray the unaltered beauty of Rwanda and its fifty shades of green lustre that surrounds everything!

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda is more than tracking gorillas, Kigali cultural experiences, volcanoes and Intore dancers. There is an attractiveness and grandeur unspoken of… unmatched by words. Nestled in its very own eroded volcanic cone, and conveniently neighbouring Rwanda’s celebrated Volcanoes National Park, you will find one of Rwanda’s most luxurious lodges – Bisate Lodge. The lodge itself is a sight to behold – striking in its unique design, and set against the backdrop of Rwanda’s verdant forested landscape, Bisate Lodge allows guests to marvel at the wonder that is Rwanda.

We’ve run out of descriptions to perfectly pronounce the spectacle that Bisate is. Rwanda’s first and most exclusive luxury accommodation amalgamates the comforts of regal living and the authentic aesthetic of Rwandan culture. The villas keep a watchful eye over the mountain, like sentinels perched on the hillside. To truly appreciate the magnificence of this property, you will have to scroll down and look at the story we have created in pictures here:


If these pictures have captured your heart let us know and we will do our best to get to experience this exceptional lodge in real life.

Getting to know Rwanda

Many travellers don’t know much about land-locked Rwanda – the fourth smallest country in Africa – and popular perception of what this luscious country is all about usually starts with gorillas and ends with Paul Kagame. This is understandable as Rwanda is one of only two countries that safeguards the last of the enigmatic gorillas that can still be tracked by tourists. BUT there is so much more to this mountainous terrain than these beautiful creatures. Known as the Land of a Thousand Hills – having literally more than one thousand hills –  this picturesque jade haven has recently become directly linked to the United Kingdom via RwandAir making the national capital of Kigali more accessible than ever before.

Appealing to all the adventurous and daring, Rwanda has an abundance of hills, valleys and dense jungles to explore and hike.  Tented by slopes, the valley below looks up at some of the world’s most dramatic views with lush green thickets in every direction. It is hard to comprehend, compare or not be impressed.

It is an African country known for its fabulous endemic endangered primates and a definite bucket-list destination for physical, off-the-beaten-track activities. With large parts of Rwanda being remote and untouched, travellers can truly experience freedom from all that occupies their minds.

Not necessarily regarded as a typical African safari destination, Rwanda still has room for many wildlife and adventure.In addition to the gorillas, chimpanzees and golden monkeys, Rwanda has more than 300 bird species and access to the Big Five.

Golden Monkeys Gorrila Treks Rwanda Iconic Arica

Rwanda may be landlocked by the endless mountains and hills, but still has its own beach. For those less interested in hiking and extensive tracks of forest or looking for a change of scenery, visit Lake Kivu for some time by the water.

Rwanda Misty Hills Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

But there is more…

Bean there, done that!

Rwanda is famous for its delicious coffee beans and tea leaves and is their biggest export. Rwandan tea is not bitter and can be enjoyed for its full, rich flavour without adding any milk. Rwandan speciality coffee is not only award-winning, but expensive and is exported to big name coffee houses such as Starbucks.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

Adding to the grandeur of this area enveloped by mountains is the number of majestic volcanoes.

Kigali is arguably one of the cleanest city in Africa. The country has placed a ban on plastic bags and has minimal litter on the streets. Paul Kagame has also issued compulsory monthly community service for all citizens helping keep communities clean and safe.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Rwanda may be small, but it is safe and can be explored with confidence. For more on the exquisite properties that Rwanda offers click here. 

African Travel Myths Demystified

“The only thing dark about Africa is our ignorance of it.” – George Kimble

Many people have preconceived ideas about Africa – often based on opinions or myths. Some of these myths have been circulating for so long that they now are in fact considered as truth or fact. Misconceptions are awful things, managing to dissuade many from visiting Africa – which is very sad! Here are our top five African safari myths debunked to convince you to finally book that unforgettable African trip.

Angama Mara East Africa Kenya Safari Tour

Africa is not safe:

Safety can be an issue in some African cities as it can be anywhere in the world now, but when it comes to national parks and game reserves, they are some of the safest places in the world.

Africa is all bush:

Africa is a vast continent with diverse landscapes, environments and climates in a single area. Countries have savannahs, rainforests, mountains, beaches and deserts to accommodate different travel wishes – making it easy to find whatever it is that your heart desires!

You always need a guide:

While it would be recommended that first-time traveller’s view game with a guide – once you’ve been on enough safaris you can go on self-drive safaris. Many travellers have seen the super-seven (the Big Five, cheetahs and wild dogs) on their self-drives.

To truly experience Africa, you have to “rough it”:

There is always the option of “roughing it” in the wilderness – sleeping bag and all. But there is the more popular preference and opportunity, to experience all Africa has to offer in comfort and opulence. South Africa boasts some of the most luxurious game lodges offering unrestricted access to some of Africa’s prestigious wildlife. Most game lodges offer gourmet meals and private bungalows – kitted out with all your modern amenities – that overlook the vast plains and Africa’s vibrant wildlife. Not to mention it offers some of the world’s most affordable luxury travel!

 

It will be too hot:

Yes, Africa’s climate is warm, but not all the time. Some countries have a cold, wet winter and others have a rainy summer. Throughout the year, most game reserves can actually get quite chilly in the morning and at night, and you will need to layer to stay warm. This’s a nice balance between the heat of the day and the cool of the night.

Animals are likely to attack you:

Animals attacking is probably the last thing you need to worry about on your safari! The wildlife, in general, prefer to avoid the company of humans, so they won’t be hunting you down any time soon…

Ivory Lodge Lions Sands Sabi Sands Lions

Only expensive cameras can take good wildlife photographs:

If you own a long lens it is of course advantageous, however it is not a necessity. Many people have photographed animals within meters of the safari vehicle with a 300mm lens. What works well – if you already have one – is the Nikon D7000 with 18 megapixels. The resolution is decent and you could crop the far-away shots.

Zarafa Camp Leopard Iconic Africa

 

Our suggestion is that when you embark on your trip to Africa, you leave behind all myths and legends. Once you hit the tarmac, your adventure begins and you will never look back!

Top Travel Trends for 2018

From remote luxury accommodations to achievement-based travel, 2018 is set to be a year of long vacations, slowing down and learning to appreciate the world around us. Here’s what the experts have to say about the trends for the year ahead:

Booking trends:

79% of travel research is being done on mobile phones and an increase in online bookings has begun trending with 49% of these direct online bookings being made on mobile devices.

Duliini Lodge River Bridge

Solo Travel:

Ever since Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ was published, solo travel – especially among female travellers – has gained popularity. 2018 welcome’s our solo visitors to our safe safari destinations, where the world is at your fingertips. Our private guides and luxury transfers ensure your safety at all times.

 

Remote Luxury:

Luxury travel is increasingly being associated with remoteness and disconnectivity. This year, people are projected to dedicate more time towards travel – willing to travel farther and into destinations often difficult to get to in order to feel like they have a small piece of the world (nearly) entirely to themselves!

‘Off the beaten track’ is one of this year’s travel themes allowing visitors to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and experience nature at its fullest. An example is Tswalu Kalahari – a hidden gem set literally in the middle of nowhere!

Zimbabwe and Zambia – The two hot safari destinations for 2018:

South Africa is typically considered a favourite go-to for African safaris with Zimbabwe and Zambia as add-on destinations. On the contrary, 2017 saw an increase in demand for trips to Zimbabwe and Zambia as primary destinations. This is a trend most experts believe to continue in to 2018. These two countries have luxury accommodations and crowd-free safaris – perfect for those looking towards that remote luxury vacation. Investments in both countries from infrastructure and airports to national parks has contributed to this new destination-trend. Not to mention the fact that Zambia was recently voted “safest destination in the world by skyscanner.”

Glamping:

For those travellers who really want to be one with nature – but really can’t, there are endless possibilities for you to be outdoorsy without sacrificing comforts and luxuries. 2018 sees an increase in bookings at luxury tented properties for the less nature-inclined to slow down, unwind and enjoy nature without actually having to “be in nature”.

Singita Sabi Sands Luxury Lodge Kruger Park

Achievement-based travel:

2017 was the year for experiential national and international travel; connecting the traveller closely with their country or destination. This year, we will see this taken a step further with travellers pushing themselves to achieve a lifelong goals or using travel to “find themselves.”

The goal of the year is to achieve something – whether it is climbing a certain mountain or hiking a difficult trek – built into a traveller’s trip. This trend is a reflection in the travel industry of visitors wanting more from their trips than just a standard sightseeing tour.

Extended trips

The last six months has seen an increase in travellers booking trips for longer than two weeks – clients often pushing for around-the-country trips. According to Jacada Travel, 50% of the trips already booked are for longer than two weeks.

Travellers not tourists:

Increasingly encouraged over the years and recently trending – visitors to foreign countries prefer immersing themselves in experiences that cannot be found in guidebooks and brochures. Meeting locals and wondering through neighbourhoods has been the best way to experience cultures, from wine tasting to learning a new crafts or languages.

 

For all of us getting on a bus, plane or train to somewhere new… 2018 is going to be an exciting year!

Our Top Eco-Friendly Lodges

“The future will either be green or not at all” – Bob Brown.

‘Going green’ has recently become a buzz phrase within the travel industry. More and more African luxury destinations are making efforts to preserve and protect both natural environments and communities within them. Owners are trying to reduce carbon footprints and human impact on the earth in order to safeguard its future. Eco-friendly accommodation does not necessarily mean that you have to compromise on luxury travel. Eco-lodges are becoming increasingly fashionable with their ability to integrate their role in conservation and luxury comfort.

Here are our top four eco-accommodations utilising and promoting green practices for those eco-conscious guests who seek a luxury African experience. Whether you are looking at Rwanda, Botswana, South Africa or Kenya we’ve got you covered.

BISATE LODGE, RWANDA

Situated near Volcanoes National Park in the Republic of Rwanda offering unique gorilla sightings.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Resting in nature’s amphitheatre, the Bisate lodge reopened in June 2017. Formerly renowned for their gorilla conservation experience and dramatic landscape views, the lodge is now celebrated for its progress in pioneering a largescale reforestation program. 5000 indigenous trees have already been planted to date, contributing to conservation and community empowerment. Bisate’s organic yet modern architecture reflects Rwandan building traditions a seen at the Royal Palace of the traditional Monarch.

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Rooms

ZARAFA CAMP, BOTSWANA

An exquisite tented camp located on the on the private Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, an area linking the Okavango Delta and the Chobe/Savute corridors.

Botswana-Safari-Selinda-Camp

Zarafa recognises the importance of sustainable tourism in South Africa and is 100% eco-wise. It is located in some of Africa’s most beautiful surroundings nature has to offer and they don’t plan on spoiling it! Opening in 2008, and considered a newer property, regulations discourage permanent structures. As a result, the camp is awash in beautiful and luxurious canvas and timber homes so that should the entire site seize to remain, the land would return to its natural state within months. Not forgetting the Zarafa ‘oil field’ – a solar farm that supplies the camp with all its power.

Zarafa Camp Banner Deck

OL DONYO, KENYA

On the private Mbirikani Group Ranch in south-eastern Kenya, between Tsavo East and Amboseli National Parks, the rippling Chyulu Hills give way to Ol Donyo.

Its location is unparalleled, with full views of savannah and Mount Kilimanjaro, crossing paths with traditional wildlife migration routes. People and animals crossing paths with this migration route has led to the death of many feral lions, leaving them at risk. The lodge is currently negotiating with cattle breeding villagers to develop a wilderness zone which will be ‘people-free’. Ol Donyo also manages community projects that ensure the sustainability and success of compensation for cattle loss, mobile health clinics, schools and employment.

TSWALU KALAHARI CAMP

The Lodge is located close to the border of Botswana and lies within an easy driving distance of South Africa’s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.


Tswalu has won a number of international awards. Their primary focus is conservation and socio-economic development in the region. The architectural designs minimise water and energy usage while extensive use of solar energy and everyday waste recycling substantially reduce the impact on the environment.

Tswalu is committed to restoring and preserving the natural environment and ecological processes that are unique to the Kalahari ecosystems, thereby providing a sanctuary for endangered species such as the African wild dog that is red listed. Some of Tswalu’s projects include the assurance of the density of the black rhino that is be sustained by vegetation in Tswalu and the development of a Tswalu spider database.

We hope our fine travellers of the earth will return home knowing that their holiday contributed to … and preserving the world’s natural environment.

5 Tips for Trekking with the Gorillas

 

Gorilla trekking is an experience that belongs at the top of any wildlife-lover’s bucket-list. It is both awe-inspiring and breath-taking – to say the least. Gorilla trekking takes place in either Rwanda or Uganda, so it’s up to you to decide where you would like to visit. Once you’ve made this decision, there are a few tips to keep in mind before you embark on this adventure of a lifetime. Here are our top five tips for trekking with gorillas.

Iconic-Africa-Rwanda-Gorillas

  1. Do research before you go

It’s imperative to do research before your trip because there are a few very important formalities that you need to be aware of. One crucial piece of advice is to make sure that you have a permit to trek. The permits cost between $500 and $800 and they ensure that you get a one hour visit with the gorillas. Permits are necessary because the gorillas are endangered and are victims of poaching. Do some research about specific gorilla groups that you can visit because there might be a particular group that you’d like to see.

Rwanda Gorillas

  1. Be honest about your level of fitness

Don’t try to be a hero. You need to be realistic about how fit you are—Rwanda has a high altitude which might have an impact on your trekking abilities. Keep in mind that trekking to the gorillas can take between half an hour to ten hours, so be upfront about your abilities and if you hardly ever exercise, be sure to take one of the shorter routes! Otherwise you may not be a very happy camper…

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

  1. Dress appropriately

Make sure you pack in thick gloves, knee-high hiking garters, thick pants (but not thermals), and a long-sleeved light-weight shirt—remember, it’s not a fashion show. Also be sure to pack in a comfy pair of hiking boots and a rain jacket.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest

  • Verse yourself in gorilla etiquette

Your guides will give you tips when it comes to this, but there are some important things to keep in mind. Firstly, you shouldn’t look a gorilla directly in the eyes because it may come off as aggressive. Secondly, don’t ever run from a gorilla, and thirdly, don’t eat or drink in front of gorillas.

Rwanda African Luxury Saafari Gorillas

  1. Hire a porter

Porters will carry your bag for you and they will help you at any tricky parts of the hike which will definitely maximise your experience. By hiring a porter, you will also make a contribution to the local community and gorilla conservation because most porters are ex-poachers.

For more information about the gorilla trekking experiences we offer, click here.

Top Videos of 2017

Just in case you’ve missed out – here are some of our top #iconicmoments of 2017 caught on film. We hope that wherever in the world you are… watching these transports you into the African bush for even just a few minutes.

Enjoy!

Up Close and Personal with the Gorillas

Tree Leopard Londolozi

Lions Feeding

Curious Hyena Pup

Leopard at Dusk

Majestic Giraffe

Elephant Family at Marataba Safari Lodge

Reasons to go to Rwanda

Rwanda is the ultimate jungle escape for the adventurous traveller.  Its gorgeously green and misty forests are home to the magnificent, world-renowned Silverback Gorillas. Rwanda is fondly known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’ because of its remarkably hilly landscape and its spectacular volcanoes. Here are 4 reasons why this incredible destination should most definitely be on that bucket list of yours!

Bisate Lodge Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

Experience a wealth of wildlife

Not only is Rwanda the realm of the Silverback Gorillas, but it is also home to a multitude of monkey species. Rwanda promises to be the pinnacle of monkey interactions. Of course, a trip to Rwanda would be wasted without the unique experience of a gorilla trek but, why not combine gorilla trekking with chimpanzee trekking to create an utterly unforgettable experience? Nothing compares to the excitement of spotting Colobus and Mangabey monkeys whilst strolling through the lush, virescent jungles of Rwanda. Birdlife is also abundant—making Rwanda the ultimate bird lover’s paradise.

Golden Monkeys Gorrila Treks Rwanda Iconic Arica

The ultimate jungle adventure

Rwanda guarantees an exceptional jungle experience. Gorilla treks, chimpanzee treks, bird-watching, and hiking, set against the backdrop of Rwanda’s lush forests, all combine to ensure an exciting jungle adventure. Luxurious lodges allow guests to feel at one with the jungle, and they offer an unrivalled sense of peace and tranquillity.

Rwanda African Luxury Saafari Gorillas

Home to the world-famous Silverback Gorillas

Every visitor dreams of catching a glimpse of the elusive Silverback Gorillas—the absolute stars of Rwanda. The dwindling number of gorillas makes gorilla trekking an essential experience for visitors, and it is an encounter that one will never forget. The two hour drive from Kigali, the capital, is certainly worth the time spent with these breath-taking, magnificent creatures.

Gorilla Trek Africa Rwanda Iconic Africa 4

The venturesome traveller’s dream

The forests of Rwanda are enchanting, the accommodation is exceptional, and the wildlife is outstanding. These features create a recipe for an escapade that is filled with thrills and wonder. Although the beauty of Rwanda is magical, Rwanda has been victim to a very bloody past. It is essential for every visitor to make a trip to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre to pay their respects to those who lost their lives during the Rwandan Genocide. The Centre is both sombre and thought-provoking, and it is an imperative outing for anyone who wants to connect with Rwanda on a deeper level.

The Volcanoes National Park is another spot that visitors have to see. There is nothing quite like watching the mist roll in over the forest while you follow in the footsteps of the great naturalist, Dian Fossey. The park gives you a chance to capture your very own ‘gorillas in the mist’ moment.

Gorilla Trek Africa Rwanda Iconic Africa 3

Need the perfect accommodation for your trip? Why not take a look at the recently opened Bisate Lodge:

Nestled in its very own eroded volcanic cone, and conveniently neighbouring Rwanda’s celebrated Volcanoes National Park, you will find one of Rwanda’s most luxurious lodges—Bisate Lodge. The lodge itself is a sight to behold—striking in its unique design, and set against the backdrop of Rwanda’s verdant forested landscape, Bisate Lodge allows guests to marvel at the wonder that is Rwanda. Read more here.