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Wilderness Bisate Reserve

When To Visit Volcanoes National Park:
When To Visit Volcanoes National Park:
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“Wilderness Bisate Reserve, set to open in September 2024, elevates the luxury experience already available in this area to new heights. Incredibly exclusive, the lodge will offer sweeping views across six volcanoes from spacious suites - each designed to ensure privacy and a personalised service of the highest standards. To say we are excited for this property to open is an understatement - there is nothing else like it!”


Wilderness Bisate Reserve is the new sister camp to the already exceptional Wilderness Bisate. However, like all annoying siblings, Bisate Reserve really takes things to the next level! Located in the forests just outside Volcanoes National Park, this wonderful new property gives you an entirely private and exclusive gorilla trekking experience. The suites are vast, beautifully designed, and include facilities and staff for you to remain entirely self-contained should you choose. This means it’s intended as a fully private villa experience; so you can enjoy your meals here in privacy and there’s even a hideaway screen for in-room talks. At Wilderness Bisate Reserve guests are offered the very highest levels of personalised service. But of course, the main areas of the property are still open to you as a secondary option and social space, with delightful extra dining locations at various spectacular viewpoints!

The Virunga Mountains are one of the most stunning landscapes in Africa, and home to over half of the last remaining mountain gorillas. It’s a primeval and beautiful place, with dense forests, ancient lakes, dramatic gorges, waterfalls and a string of volcanoes that make for some of the finest views. Mornings are spent trekking to find the gorillas, where you are allowed to spend an hour in their company - and these encounters are always extraordinary! There are many more activities for the afternoons; amazing walks and hikes through a range of landscapes, the Musanze Caves with their lava tunnels, excellent birding, and cultural village trips.

There is also a great morning trek to see the golden monkey, another fascinating primate. Wilderness Bisate Reserve arrives as the most luxurious property in the region and offers fine dining, service and unmatched exclusivity. But as always with Wilderness, conservation and sustainability are key, as reforestation programs (which you can take part in), the nurturing of local communities, and protecting the gorillas from endangerment are a large part of their work.


Wilderness Bisate Reserve is located just outside the southern border of Volcanoes National Park and has a prime position, just a twenty minute drive from park headquarters, giving it perfect trekking access. The setting is truly dramatic, with views out across towards Mount Bisoke and the range of volcanoes that surround you. The amazing villas are on a hillside, nestled between ancient eroded, extinct volcano cones. Bisate means “pieces”, which refers to the erosion of the volcanic cone on which the lodge is built.

The camp is accessed usually by helicopter, with Bisate helipad just a 5 minute transfer to the lodge, or Musanze helipad which is around a 30 minutes’ drive away. It is also possible to drive from Kigali and this takes about 2 to 3 hours.


The villas are state of the art, beautifully designed in thatch, stone and glass, and inspired by the King's Palace at Butare to represent the traditions of Rwandan royalty and heritage. Modern, incredibly spacious at 212 sqm, and with guests’ comfort and privacy in mind, these are certainly the finest lodgings in the region. It’s a fantastic living space, with large double or twin beds, comfortable seating areas, a day bed, writing station, large fireplace (at altitude this can be delightful!), minibar, tea and coffee station, as well as dining room for taking meals in your villa. The en-suite bathrooms are sublime, with his and hers washbasins, flush toilets, large shower, bathrobes and luxury toiletries, and an outdoor hot tub that is a first in the area - an incredible way to relax after a trek! Outside you have a private veranda with sweeping views over the park, a great place for morning coffee or relaxing after a morning trek. Interestingly the thatch is synthetic on the villas (although you wouldn’t tell to look at it) and made from recycled plastic, which increases insulation during the colder months and is more durable than traditional grass! Other extras include a tablet which has lots of useful information loaded on it – details of the gorilla families, local community projects, Rwandan history and local wildlife and birding species. They really have thought of everything!


The main activity here is trekking to see the mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National park. Your first morning of acclimatisation is usually spent trekking for the golden monkeys, and then mornings after this are treks to see the gorillas. There’s also plenty to do in the afternoons, with numerous other activities including their conservation reforestation project and some hikes in stunning scenery. All gorilla and golden monkey treks will be made in the presence of highly experienced park rangers, who know the gorilla families intimately.

  • Gorilla trekking

    - There are ten habituated groups of mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Be ready for potentially a 1-8 kilometre trek depending on exactly where the gorillas are on any particular morning. There may be mud underfoot and steep climbs, but Bisate can provide all the necessary gear (waterproofs, backpacks, gaiters, walking sticks) including boots - and these can be rented from the lodge. Coming face to face with a gorilla group makes the climb worthwhile! They will dazzle you with their behaviour; whether grooming, eating or play-fighting, and you can see the intelligence in their eyes. Gorilla permits are not included in the accommodation rates. It’s good to chat to one of our consultants who has been to see the gorillas, as they will have top tips about what to bring and what to expect.
  • Golden monkeys

    - This is also a real highlight and similar in form to the gorilla trek, with the golden monkeys always fun to observe! If you are feeling spritely, you also can hike all the way up Mount Bisoke volcano, where the views from the top are truly breathtaking.
  • Conservation, guided walks, birding, cultural trips and Dian Fossey’s grave

    - You really can decide how far you’d like to travel, with easy walks on the lower slopes - a simple stroll around Bisate Reserve’s gardens, plant a tree in their nursery where over 20,000 trees have been planted in their reforestation project! There’s also a good array of birding and guided nature walks, simply discuss with your guide what you’d like to do and they will give great advice on what not to miss out on! The twin lakes of Ruhondo and Burera, the Musanze caves with their amazing lava tunnels, and a cultural trip to meet the locals of Iby’wacu village are some of our favourites. Another pilgrimage you can make is to see the grave of Dian Fossey, which is at high altitude and stands next to the remains of her old research centre, alongside some of her favourite gorillas.
  • Volcanoes hikes

    - Gorilla’s Nest also offers opportunities for visitors to ascend the park’s steep volcanoes. For example, you could head up the Bisoke volcano. The views from the top, which include a crater lake, are breathtakingly brilliant!

*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns.

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