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African Safaris://Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Climate and Landscape (Bisate Lodge – March 2018)

Bisate Lodge and Volcanoes National Park entered the rainy season properly in March. Consistent rainfall meant that our guests often returned from their various activities with muddy boots, yet this did not deter their enthusiasm. In fact, the rainy season is ‘low season’ for travellers to Rwanda and this meant that many of our guests were privileged to have entire gorilla families to themselves when they went trekking. This ‘private’ experience is something very personal and special and more than makes up for the high chance of rainfall.

The vegetation has relished the ample rainfall and grasses and bamboo have grown at a rate so rapid one can almost see the difference from one day to the next.

While the usual stunning ‘Bisate view’ of the volcanoes hasn’t been a regular sight, our guests have enjoyed the surreal feeling of being fogged in!

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Reforestation and Conservation
During this wet period, we were very busy with our reforestation programme and our new nursery. The place where our new nursery is located has extremely fertile soil and we did not waste the opportunity to plant as many saplings as possible in time for the rain, especially with undoubtedly more to come in April.

With help from the local community, we managed to source over 3 000 saplings (mainly dombeya and hagenia), which, along with around 1 500 of our own ‘home-grown’ saplings from the increasingly-crowded ‘old’ nursery, means that the new nursery is starting to slowly fill! These saplings are currently too small to plant out in the open and will most likely only be large enough to be planted in time for the shorter rainy season in October and November. Our agronomist, Jean Moise, will certainly be very busy taking care of all these new additions and we also hope to acquire many more saplings and seeds over the coming period!

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Earth Hour
On Saturday the 24th of March an exciting event took place at Bisate, and in Rwanda, for the first time. Earth Hour! 2018 marks the first year that this worldwide movement was held in the country. Earth Hour is an event organised by the World Wildlife Fund, held annually in an effort to encourage individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off electric lights for one hour as a symbol of commitment to the planet and the environmental challenges we face.

At Bisate Lodge, we invited our guests to join us for Earth Hour. At 20:30 the non-essential lights were switched off, candles were lit and our staff, while singing, presented each guest with a sapling that they then planted the following day to aid our reforestation programme.

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Wildlife and Biodiversity
The changing seasons have also made for some interesting sightings in terms of wildlife. Birds begin to migrate back from the southern to the northern hemisphere, often using the Albertine Rift as a migratory route. Many raptors were seen this month, sometimes too far away to identify correctly but there have been possible sightings of Wahlberg’s and booted eagles. Collared flycatcher, red-chested owlet and great sparrowhawk are new additions to the Bisate list, with the latter literally flying into our dining area during breakfast! Brown-necked parrots and rufous-breasted sparrowhawks were seen regularly flying overhead. Pictured is a Rwenzori double-collared sunbird feeding on a Lobelia in front of the guest villas!

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Mammal sightings were more sporadic, but our camera traps recorded most of the action! Side-striped jackals were captured almost every night and on virtually every corner of the property, and we are quite sure they are denning somewhere on Bisate. Serval have also been observed on the camera on a weekly basis. We have discovered the latrine of a genet (possibly servaline or blotched) at the beginning of our nature trail and have also seen blurred images of it walking up and down at night. Ingrid had the pleasure of seeing this shy little creature cross the path in front of her, whilst Rob managed to get a glimpse of an Egyptian mongoose at our new nursery. As usual, the camera traps also came up with a couple of intriguing images of unidentifiable creatures, one of which might possibly be an African civet.

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Bursts of sunshine after heavy rainfall have brought the flowering vegetation alive with butterflies! Both Jomi and Hadley have been busy with Wilderness’ Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Roche, and Rwanda butterfly expert, Gael van de Weghe, in setting up a catalogue to identify butterflies and moths of the area.

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Children in the Wilderness
March marked an exciting month for another new collaboration between Bisate Lodge and the local community as we launched Children in the Wilderness in Rwanda! The concept was introduced to Bisate staff members by Bongani Baloyi, regional coordinator of Wilderness’ non-profit organisation. Bongani, together with general manager Ingrid and other Bisate staff members, then spent several days at Bisate Primary School, where Children in the Wilderness was introduced to the teachers and where Eco-Mentor Training took place. Over 30 enthusiastic teachers took part in the two-day training!

The programme equips Eco-Mentors/teachers with environmental knowledge as well as fun and interactive teaching methods on how to educate children about wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability. A massive thank you goes to Bongani and Ingrid for their help and enthusiasm during this period.

Indeed, later in March Ingrid went to the school for a follow-up visit and since the initial teacher training, the school has implemented its own Eco-Clubs, which now meet every Friday between 15:00 and 17:00 with 60 students from grades P4, P5 and P6 in attendance. Nine teachers have committed their time to the programme and currently they are focusing on garden projects.

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Bisate Garden
Speaking of garden projects, we have made a second vegetable garden at Bisate that is at a lower altitude, hoping that it might help with the speed of growth of the plants. So far, mint and beets are growing the best, which is fantastic as we use both as ingredients in our dishes. See Head Chef Jean Marie with his daily harvest of beets!

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Community
We once again received numerous generous donations from previous guests for the community. Our guide, Aline, and manager, Hadley, together with the local cooperative, spent a full day distributing the items received by Bisate to specific members of the community. The pictures speak for themselves as all gifts were gratefully accepted and appreciated!

Bisate Lodge - March 2018 | Taga Safaris

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

Comments and feedback
What a fabulous country and people. We have enjoyed our stay immensely. Staff at all levels were wonderful. You have made our gorilla experiences most memorable.’

‘This was our first visit to the Land of a Thousand Hills, but it certainly won’t be the last. We came for the gorillas, which was a spectacular experience -but we’ll come back for the beautiful country, the welcoming people and their splendid hospitality.’

‘This is a truly special place – thank you to such an amazing team for making our stay in Rwanda so memorable. Can’t wait to come back.’

‘Everything is exquisite. The whole stay is thought through. Cannot wait to come back and send friends. You have an extraordinary team.’

‘Alice – stellar, talented, attention to detail. Hadley – super accommodating and welcoming, cheerful. Chefs and food – delicious and presentation beautiful.’

Bisate Lodge – March 2018

2018-11-12T05:26:24+00:00April 24th, 2018|Africa Travel News|
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