Comprising just 6 spacious forest villas, Bisate offers a luxurious base from where to enjoy an extraordinary gorilla conservation experience
General Information About RwandaRwanda is a landlocked East African country with a green, mountainous landscape. Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. The park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. In the southwest is Nyungwe National Park, with ancient montane rainforest that's a habitat for chimpanzees and other primates. Kigali, the nation's capital, has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. The Kigali Genocide Memorial documents the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda, associated with the civil war that ended the same year. In the northeast, bordering Tanzania, is sprawling Akagera National Park and its savannah – uncommon in Rwanda – which shelters wildlife including zebras, giraffes, hippos and elephants. Deep, crystal-clear Lake Kivu sits on the country’s western border with Democratic Republic of the Congo. On the lake's northern shore is Gisenyi and its beach resorts.
When to Visit RwandaThe weather is warm year-round in the lowlands, cooler in mountain areas. Dry season (Jun–Sep), when vegetation is less lush, is a popular time to visit the national parks. The Rwanda Film Festival (Kigali, Jul) is a showcase for African cinema.
Rwanda Culture and History
CultureDespite the country’s turbulent political past, Rwanda boasts a rich and diverse culture which spans centuries. Very few external influences have managed to infiltrate the culture, which is admirable considering the prolonged period of Belgian rule to which the country was subjected. Rwandan music is an integral part of both daily life and traditional ceremonies, with different regional groups contributing different sounds, instruments and dances to the national culture. Intore is one of the most famous musical performances which consists of ballet-style dancing, more traditional African dancing and a highly impressive drumming routine. As with most East African cultures, clothing in Rwanda is a representation of culture, family and in more rural communities, ranking. Female dresses worn in traditional communities are called mushanana, which are generally made from wonderfully ornate, hand-woven materials. Rwanda also has a proud tradition of crafting which can be seen in most of the handicrafts sold at local markets. Many items are painstakingly made by hand, including grass items like baskets and mats, and wooden items like bowls and masks. While the handicrafts are great for souvenirs and decorations, they are made traditionally to perform important functions in the home.
HistoryRwanda was made up of several ethnic groups but there have always been roughly three socio-economic groupings: the Tutsi, the Hutu and the Twa. The Tutsi have always made up a small, but prominent wealthy echelon of society, the Hutu have traditionally been farmers and the majority in the country, while the Twa have always been a marginalized minority. The groups were unified in the 19th century when King Kigeri Rwabuguri established a state. Everything changed in the 1920’s with the arrival of the Belgian colonists. The Belgians are known to have been harsh rulers, using divide and conquer tactics to retain power. The Belgians intensified socio-economic divisions by financially supporting the minority Tutsis. The well-financed Tutsi population became puppets of the Belgian regime at the expense of the large Hutu population which was unfairly treated. With the wave of decolonization that hit the African continent, the Belgian rulers were forced to exit Rwanda, and conceded power to the large and increasingly powerful Hutu majority. It was this decision which sparked the ethnic violence in the country which ultimately led to the genocide in 1994. Over a period of 100 days, Hutu extremists called the Interahamwe embarked on a crusade to kill all Tutsis and even moderate Hutus. They nearly succeeded, wiping out nearly one million Tutsis and moderates. The genocide is particularly tragic when considering the definite lack of response from the international community. The United Nations and large superpowers reacted only once a significant majority had been killed and, some have argued, did little to stop the events. Today Rwanda has done a commendable job of navigating the uphill journey to healing and reconciliation. The words “Hutu” and “Tutsi” are taboo, with most people asserting that they are simply Rwandan. More information about the genocide and Rwanda’s history can be found at the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Center in Kigali.
LandscapeRwanda is known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills” – an endless expanse of lush vegetation and mountainous terrain, a diverse natural beauty that lies within the great lakes region of central Africa. Mountains dominate the central and west of the country and the east of the country consists of savannah and swamps.Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. Despite being land locked and one of the smallest countries in Africa, it has incredible biodiversity. The nature lover will be impressed by the variety and the rarity of what can be observed when visiting Rwanda – her richness of flora and fauna goes beyond the lure of the protected mountain gorillas and the Albertine endemic birds. The shores of Lake Kivu boast the best inland beaches and offer tourists the opportunity to explore the many small islands around here. In the southwest lies Nyungwe National Park which is home to the region’s largest and oldest patches of Montane forest, in which you can find habituated chimpanzees, the Angolo colobus and the black and white colobus monkeys.
Rwanda NightlifeIn the last few years, the going out scene in Kigali has grown tremendously. New bars and nightclubs have sprung up all over the city, and late nights have become very common. Cocktail bars, happy hours, and live music can now be found several nights a week, and options for going out have diversified.
Magashi Camp (opening spring 2019) is situated in the productive and phenomenally diverse north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park, overlooking
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is Rwanda’s first ever community owned lodge. The lodge was built and is operated by Governors’ Camp
Singita Kwitonda Lodge & Kataza House (opening summer 2019) will be located on a breathtaking, isolated but contained 178-acre piece