Wilderness Bisate Newsletter – November 2023

Camp news


November has come to an end, and with its final goodbyes I am almost sure that I heard some sleigh bells ringing. As we usher in the festive season after what has been an incredible year, we first look back on November.  For starters, we would like to congratulate our team at Bisate for the incredible work that was done in Tiffany’s and my absence from the lodge. Every now and then, we do need to have a break and see family and friends back home in South Africa, and when we do, we can sleep extremely soundly at night, knowing that Jean Pierre and the team have everything covered. All of our guests left incredible feedback, feeling taken care of, and feeling like they have had a truly unique experience at one of Earth’s ultimate, untamed places. 



We would also like to highlight the incredible job that our support staff have done from our head office in Kigali. The Kigali office is the beating heart of the operation in Rwanda, and without them, much of what we do would be indescribably more difficult.


As Tiffany and I return, we look forward to a busy and extremely exciting festive period. I can already hear the Michael Bublé beats in my ears and taste the warm spices of the fruit mince pies in my mouth. Here’s to a truly special December!



Children in the Wilderness at Bisate Primary and Bisate Secondary School


CITW’s scholarship programme currently sponsors a total of 177 students for six years of schooling – at Bisate Secondary School near Wilderness Bisate, Rwabiharamba Secondary School in the area just outside Akagera National Park, where Wilderness Magashi is located, and Kinihira Secondary School, close to Gishwati Forest. However, since the programme has been running the longest in the Bisate area, the secondary school here has the highest number of scholarship students. A total of 112 students from Bisate received the scholarship, with four new students in Senior 1, 37 students in S2 and S3, and the remaining 71 students divided over 34 secondary schools for Senior 4 and Senior 5.



In Rwanda, secondary school years run from Senior 1 to Senior 6, or Grade 1 to Grade 6. When in Senior 3, or S3, all students need to sit national exams. The results of these exams determine where the student will continue their remaining school years of S4 to S6. Depending on their school results and study direction, many of our scholarship students are now placed in different schools in Rwanda. This means that our CITW students who are continuing in S4, S5 and in future S6, are branching out all over the country, and of course, still flying the CITW flag high.  So, besides the seven schools that Wilderness and CITW have partnered with, we now have students in an additional 34 schools all over the country!


In November Aline and Damascene, our two loyal and hardworking CITW and community employees, made it their mission to visit many of the S4 and S5 students that are studying all over the country. These students have been part of the CITW programme since it started in the Bisate area, and of course have known Aline and Damascene for many years now. They loved that Children in the Wilderness paid a special visit to their school. Most of the students are now taller than Aline and Damascene! CITW is literally growing in Rwanda!


Through the generous donations of guests visiting Wilderness Bisate we have been able to support Bisate Primary School and the surrounding community with a brand-new sports field to play volleyball and basketball. The construction commenced in November. In the coming months the sports field will be in use, and we will make sure to keep you up to date!



Bisate family


The last period at Bisate has been one of growth and new beginnings, with some of our staff being given new opportunities at the lodge. We would like to commend a few of them here:


Jado: Jado’s journey with has been mostly in our Camp Hand team, where his incredible strength and agility has been used to great effect, carrying everything from piles of wood to guest rooms or hauling heavy gas canisters up the hill to keep the kitchen fires burning bright. The thing that has always stood out with Jado is that even with a 40KG gas bottle on his back, the jokes never stopped flowing. He has always brought an incredible vibe to his team and is incredibly well liked. When a spot opened in the Front of House team, it was a no-brainer to place Jado centre-stage. We are pleased to report that he has taken to his new role incredibly well and is currently dazzling guests’ taste buds with his delicious coffee creations or preparing their appetites with an amazing meal explanation at dinner time. We look forward to Jado continuing to grow within our team.


Ernest: Ernest started with us at Bisate just over two years ago, and always stood out as someone very dependable. When something needed to be done, he was always first in line to assist. Because of this, Ernest was first choice to replace Jado in the Camp Hands. Since joining the team, Ernest has continued his usual form and has been bounding up our hill daily and with a gigantic smile on his face! We wish him all the best going forward.



Jean Claude: Jean Claude is another member of the Security team that stood out – but for slightly different reasons. Whilst Jado and Ernest are the epitome of extroverted energy, Jean Claude, or “JC” as we call him, is someone who walks around with a quiet confidence. He is always the one listening at the back of a meeting and then out of nowhere, throws in a solution to a problem that everyone ese has been trying to solve for half an hour. Not only this, but JC also has a keen eye for creativity, so it was only natural that when a place become available in our Staff Kitchen team, JC put his hand up and has been dazzling our taste buds and keeping the team well fed and fueled up for our daily tasks. JC is currently working on perfecting his “Mandazi”, a doughnut that is traditionally served for breakfast that is usually sweet and is solely responsible for my expanding waistline. He says that he is working on a way to infuse a honey syrup into them and thinks that the staff would like them to be served with his traditional ginger and lemon tea… I don’t know about you, but I have a sudden urge to visit our staff kitchen for an impromptu inspection!


The team continues to grow, and we are happy to announce that our team numbers have swelled to 65 staff members. This is all to take the best care of our 12 guests. I really like that ratio and I quite like our odds with that!

Friendliness and service level: over the top! Food and beverage quality and variety: Outstanding. Our driver guide: Super professional and knowledgeable. Kudos to the entire Bisate team! Such a special place.

– J&C

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When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.