The LuxPad named Rwanda one of the best places to visit in 2017, where we highlighted soon to open luxury hotel, Bisate Lodge, as one of the best places to stay to experience the country at its finest. Now opening imminently, The LuxPad takes a closer look at the new luxury sustainable hotel helping guests to immerse themselves in Rwanda’s luscious natural wildlife and diverse culture…
World renowned for its access to majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat, Rwanda’s national parks are some of the best in the world and Bisate Lodge is perfectly located close to the Volcano National Park’s headquarters in Kinigi. Close enough to ensure guests can easily get to their morning gorilla treks, the lodge is still far enough to feel remote and even part of the spectacular Volcanoes National Park itself. Covering 27 hectares of varied topography that shields Bisate Lodge from any unnatural disturbance and light pollution from nearby Kinigi and Musanze, it is situated within an amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone. Including just six guest rooms, the lodge boasts a raised elevation and gazes directly onto the slopes of 3711m Mount Bisoke, the often cloud-shrouded 4507m Karisimbi and in the distance the rugged peak of Mikeno in the Democratic Republic of Congo can be spotted.
Adjacent to Bisate Lodge is an intact volcano cone which is currently in the process of restoration and provides a land of exploration on the lodge’s doorstep. From trekking the Hagenia Forest, walking the bamboo thickets or traversing the hilltop plateau to view all six of the Virunga Massif volcanoes, this area is already being recolonised by birds, butterflies and mammals. Combined with countless indigenous fauna and flora, the area provides a unique nature experience not available outside of the national park.
The lodge’s unique design is rooted in Rwandan building tradition in both the architecture and interior design. The spherical, thatched structures are reminiscent of typical Rwandan buildings and echo the thousands of hills for which the country is known. The interior of the main building and the rooms exhibit surfaces and screens crafted from a selection of woven materials which have a strong resonance with Rwandan culture. Rwandan fashion entrepreneur and founder of Inzuki Designs, Teta Isibo, was tasked with carrying out the interior design of Bisate lodge by owner Wilderness Safaris along with lead designers Artichoke. She has acted as liaison to source locally produced items in order to bring vibrant Rwandan flair to the interiors.
The interiors bring together emerald greens to mirror the luscious jungle landscape outside combined with earthy tones, rattan and wood. Many furnishings have also been decorated with ‘imigongo’, a traditional art form unique to the country that uses cow dung mixed with soils of different colours painted into geometric shapes. The will also be cowhide elements to reflect the agricultural community along with volcanic stone fireplaces as a nod to the Volcanoes National Park.
The cuisine on offer at Bisate Lodge as with every other element will be rooted in Rwandan tradition. Fusing local flavours with contemporary international cuisine, the in-house food and beverage team will source the majority of produce locally or even grow them themselves in their own kitchen garden. Manager Benjamin Nskekuye said this on the lodge’s culinary offering…
‘Our chefs will use only the freshest ingredients, old-world techniques and modern inspiration to create a sustainable and unique dining experience. The menu evolves with the seasons, according to what nature allows us to harvest, as we only take what we need from the land. The altitude and climate of Bisate calls for slow-cooked, hearty but healthy dishes and by serving them in colourful ceramics we can highlight both the natural ingredients and the atmospheric forest setting’.
Along with fine local ingredients such as wild honey, avocado, climbing beans, mango, kale, papaya, passionfruit, macadamia nuts and chilies, they will also be serving their first coffee experience of Rwandan made coffee sourced from Kigufi Coffee Estate.
Determined to provide more for their guests than just the ‘gorilla express’, Bistate Lodge aims to immerse visitors in the atmosphere, ecology and experience of the Virunga Massif and national parks. Their desire is for guests to leave enriched with a firm understanding of not only the great apes that inhabit the area, but also of conservation and socio-economic issues that threaten them and their ecosystem. Bisate Lodge also looks to operate with sustainability in mind at all times, with any potential adverse operational impact on the environment minimised by operating the lodge as sustainably as possible, for example though rain water collection, sustainable waste processing, renewable energy and thermodynamic water heating.
A trip to Bisate Lodge is more than your average safari experience. Whilst interaction and education on the animals in the Rwandan national parks is certainly be second to none, the fully immersive nature of the lodge allows guests to become a part of the Rwandan community helping to build and restore the beautiful landscape for the duration of their stay. The lodge will officially open its doors in late June and holidays can be booked through the Wilderness Safaris website.