Responsible Ecotourism In Rwanda

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IMAGES: WILDERNESS SAFARIS

Wilderness Safaris is in the process of constructing two lodges in Rwanda, adding a new country to its African portfolio and helping to continue building sustainable conservation economies on the continent.

Rwanda is a haven of rainforest endemism with undoubtedly its most celebrated wild mammal being the iconic mountain gorilla of the Virunga Massif. The country’s forests are also home to another of Africa’s great apes, the chimpanzee, as well as a multitude of other primates such as the striking golden monkey. It is around these rare and threatened great ape and primate species that Wilderness Safaris Rwanda will build a new lodge circuit, scheduled to open in mid-2016.

Responsible Ecotourism

CEO of Wilderness Safari’s Keith Vincent says, “The opportunity to use our model of responsible ecotourism to contribute to positive conservation and community empowerment in such a unique and exciting environment is exactly why we do what we do.” In addition, Vincent explains that the Rwanda government, ecotourism industry and conservation community is a welcoming and hospitable partner in the drive to pioneer a new kind of ecotourism in this inspirational country.

New Lodges

Two new lodges to the Wilderness Collection are planned to open mid-2016. The Gishwati and Mukura Forests, currently separated by 16 kilometres, will be linked by a forest corridor of nearly 6 000 ha of Albertine Rift Forest and a whole host of endemic mammals, birds, insects and plants will be protected. This will more than triple chimpanzee habitat and allow growth in the population of this vulnerable great ape.

  • Bisate Lodge for gorilla trekking

A 12-room sanctuary adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park, will boast spectacular views of the brooding Bisoke, Karisimbi and Mikeno Volcanoes. Offering the perfect base for mountain gorilla trekking, the lodge will also be a visionary conservation and community project with its first phase focusing on indigenous reforestation of a core 26-hectare site. This will be done in close partnership with the newly constituted 320-member Tuzamurane Cooperative.

  • Gishwati Lodge for chimpanzee trekking

This adventure location will be situated in the nearby Gishwati-Mukura National Park, just a 15-minute helicopter flight to the south, with accommodation for 12 guests in six rustic forest cottages. Visitors will have the privilege of exclusive access to the habituated chimpanzee and golden monkey communities of Gishwati Forest. All revenues generated from these forest activities will go towards the conservation of the brand-new Gishwati-Mukura National Park and the establishment of the connecting forest corridor between the two little-known forests of Gishwati and Mukura.

What’s On Offer?

Itineraries combining the two camps over five to six nights will be the perfect way to enjoy privileged interactions with two of Africa’s great ape species and our closest genetic relatives, and can easily be broadened to enjoy the myriad other attractions of Rwanda. The aim is to operate the best safaris camps, in the best locations with the best service and guided experiences possible, whether this is in the Okavango Delta, the Namib Desert, Hwange or Mana Pools National Parks, Damaraland, Etosha or Kafue National Park.

Compiled by Katherine Swift

SOURCE AND IMAGES: WILDERNESS SAFARIS

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