Magashi, Rwanda

Wilderness Magashi News – January 2023

Camp news

Wilderness Blogger



The month of January has produced nothing short of amazing changes. With the last of the wet season giving up its rain, the bush has been full of greenery and life. The butterflies have been out in full force and birds are abundant. Our trainee guides have been hard at work with preparations for the final stages of their training course. And after the rains it was a good time to work on the road network on the Magashi Concession – now all our game drive loops look good again. The wildlife this month has been incredible, with multiple sightings of the bigger and small species recorded by our guides.




Wildlife sightings this month have been nothing short of fantastic, with the Magashi Concession being particularly productive for multiple leopard and lion sightings.


Two hippos were mortally injured in a territorial fight and became a multiday sighting, with various predators taking advantage of the hippo banquet. We recorded Nile crocodiles, our resident male lions (Ntwari and Ngangare) and spotted hyenas feeding off the carcasses close to the lake’s edge.


We’ve also had black rhinos, elephant and other species moving into the concession, providing exceptional game-viewing all month.

The Lion Dynamics of Magashi – By Isaac Kalio

In 2015, Akagera National Park welcomed seven lions from South Africa – the first time that the Rwandan park had seen lions in over 10 years. Two years later, another coalition was introduced. And now Akagera can proudly boast that they have a healthy, growing population of these big cats!


Due to eternally interesting lion dynamics, most Wilderness Magashi guests have a chance to enjoy excellent lion sightings during their stay – for example, a staggering 92.3% of all bookings in January 2023 had one or more lion sighting.

A Busanga Plains-based Senior Guide, Isaac Kalio has spent the last two seasons working in this beautiful park. He recently caught up with three of the legendary lions – which were settled here by African Parks all those years ago – and had the safari sighting of a lifetime. Here is his story:


A coalition of two males, Ntwari and Ngangare, and their female, Amahoro, settled into the Magashi Concession some years ago. Ntwari is estimated to be around 13 years old, is blind in one eye and is slowly losing a couple of teeth. In short, age is catching up with him!


Ngangare too is getting on in years at around 12, and is missing the tip of his tail. He still seems energetic, but has shown cowardice in battles. Amahoro is thought to be about nine years old, and currently has four cubs estimated to be around six or seven months old.


Now here is where it gets interesting! Ntwari is known to be the father of a coalition of three, with the two males born in 2016 from a female called Umwari. At about the age of two these boys were evicted by Ntwari and Ngangare, to find a new home. Now seven years old, the boys are back, full of energy and bigger in size than their father Ntwari, whose mane is also starting to fall out.



Since December 2022, roars of tension have been heard around Magashi, culminating in a clash between Ntwari and his sons at Lake Mihindi in the concession on the last day of December. Ngangare managed to escape this battle.


Early that morning we caught up with these lions and the situation was heart-wrenching. The old male Ntwari was sitting submissively with half of his body in the water and his two sons watching over him the whole day. The message was clear, “You move, you die”.


We could not wait to go back that evening and witness the boxing, but when we got there, the situation had not changed at all. In a funny moment, just as the sun was setting a waterbuck stumbled right into the face of Ntwari without noticing his presence, and Ntwari would not even raise his head at all, out of fear for the boys. The waterbuck did however run off pretty quickly after noticing the two.


As it got darker, the boys tried to provoke Ntwari, but he was still submissive, until eventually they got up and left without hurting him. Exactly 14 days later, Ntwari was cornered again and survived.  Ngangare too, managed to escape, with Amahoro and her cubs playing a clever game of hide and seek. The Queen of Magashi, she is an amazing female that has dedicated her life to the area, and has shown loyalty to the boys she arrived with.


But the message is now clear. The boys are trying to expand their territory from the Magashi Concession all the way to Kirara in the north end of the park. We are waiting with bated breath to see how this unfolds.

Guide Training

January was a successful month for our junior and trainee guides Venuste, Assiat and Herman. All three have worked hard to complete their theory workbooks, which is an important component to acquiring their FGASA Level 1 qualifications in the coming period.

The trainees also spend considerable time out on the concession practicing the practical guiding skills necessary to give our guests the best possible experience at Magashi. They also focus on the interpretation of sightings, and how to read a situation to make the sighting as personalised as possible. This skill takes practice and will ultimately give our guides the know-how on how to make every sighting special.


The guides also practiced how to change a 4x4 tyre and use a hi-lift jack, use sensitivity while approaching animals, and interpret some rather difficult tracks left by the smaller nocturnal animals we have on Magashi.


A productive time for all involved. 




Training at Wilderness Sabyinyo


Rachel Mafubo Hakizimana, Magashi’s Trainee Manager and Charles Nkunda, our famous Magashi Barman, both had the opportunity to experience Wilderness Sabyinyo during their time off this month. As we like to encourage our team members to learn about the other Wilderness destinations in Rwanda we try to facilitate these requests as much as possible.


Both Rachel and Charles enjoyed getting to know their colleagues at Sabyinyo, and to see how things are done in the Volcanoes area.

Service and Food at Magashi

The dedicated kitchen team worked on a new a la carte lunch menu, with delicious daily specials. The menu, full of fresh & local ingredients, is varied and there is something for everyone’s taste. Come and try out the Homemade Pasta with Coriander Pesto, Sorghum & Mango Salad with Garden Greens or Roasted Bell Peppers filled with Fresh Vegetables & Local Cheese served with Sesame & Peanut Sauce!
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Magashi Children in The Wilderness

The second term of the school year started this month, which means that our CITW Eco-Club and YES Club lessons also started again. Aline Umutoni, CITW & Community Co-ordinator, visited Akayange Primary School and Rwabirharamba Secondary School in the area just outside Akagera National Park to bring the supplies needed to run the clubs successfully. Between Bisate, Magashi and Gishwati’s Eco-Clubs and YES Clubs, a total of 465 learners are receiving weekly lessons!

"WOW, thank you, thank you! For sharing your wildlife, your stories with us. Even all the photos we took weren’t good enough to convey all the beauty and sounds of the beautiful Akagera National Park. I will miss the hippo sounds in the middle of the night."

J & Y – Canada

Let’s plan your next journey


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.