The name Bisate means ‘pieces’, referring to the erosion of the volcanic cone in which the lodge is built on. Classed by Wilderness as a Premier Camp, Bisate offers a very high level of luxury and outstanding attention to detail. Bisate Lodge is an awesome option for some first-rate gorilla and golden monkey trekking, in addition to all sorts of nature and culture activities!
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Bisate is located near Volcanoes National Park, Africa’s oldest national park. It is set near the small village of Ruhengeri and is accessible from Ginseli or Kigali via aircraft flight or road transfer.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES:
The main lodge is a timber, stone, and thatch building, with wide windows on to the park. It has two storeys and is divided into three separate compartments, each with a domed roof. We are pretty sure that these three roofs are intended to honour three of the park’s volcanoes – Bisoke, Karisimbi, and Mikeno. Guests will ascend a flight of steps to arrive at a viewing deck, before entering at the upper storey, which contains the lounge, dining room, and bar. The lounge features plenty of seating around a cosy fireplace, snug rugs, and a corner bar and among the ground floor rooms, there is a wine cellar, with a choice of seating areas and a glass of wine waiting for someone to taste!
The guest accommodation at Bisate looks every inch as elegant as the main building. The materials are the same and the style is similar, with just two domes in place of three. Inside, one dome houses the bedroom and the other contains the en-suite bathroom. Each bedroom includes a double bed, bedside tables and lighting, a desk and chair, a separate seating area, and a private veranda with sweeping vistas over the park. And every en-suite bathroom is a real treat, featuring flush toilet, twin washbasins below twin mirrors, a walk-in shower, and in the centre of the space a big bathtub too. There is ample storage space and a great range of towels as well as a couple of bathrobes, inviting you to wind down following a day out in the park!
As we would expect from a property in this location, activities from Bisate focus on gorilla trekking, though guests may trek golden monkey too, enjoy village visits, and even participate in some of the local conservation endeavours. Within Volcanoes National Park, there are ten habituated groups of mountain gorillas. Viewing is restricted to one hour of any group per day, and it can take time to find the gorillas. The amount of ground covered on a trek is not excessive, ranging from 1 to 8 kilometres, but steep climbs are common and there can be a lot of mud underfoot. We think this is all worthwhile, though, as coming up close to gorillas has to be one of the most memorable animal encounters ever! Whether they are resting, grooming, playing, or fighting, these guys will enthrall you with their shaggy fur coats and intelligent eyes.
The golden monkey is equally thrilling to observe. If you are feeling energetic, you can hike up Mount Bisoke volcano – the views from the top are breathtaking! Another walk from Bisate is to primatologist Dian Fossey’s grave, which is situated in the midst of rainforest at high altitude and next to the remains of her research centre as well as some of her cherished gorillas’ graves. Less challenging legwork is available on the lower slopes – you can stroll around Bisate’s vegetable garden, take a trip to the local reforestation nursery to plant a tree, and enjoy an excellent selection of birding and nature walks, either with a guide or by yourself. Other local attractions include Twin Lakes Ruhondo and Burera, the Musanze Caves with their fascinating lava tunnels, and Iby’wacu village for a little culture. There really is a lot to do here!
All gorilla and golden monkey treks will be enjoyed in the presence of highly knowledgeable and experienced guides. The standard of guiding offered by Wilderness Safaris is always exceptionally good, and service throughout their properties is superb. The rates are fully inclusive.