Wilderness Magashi Newsletter – April 2023

Camp news

Your Guide to Africa


Nicole Mathesie


APRIL 2023

Magashi highlights

The rainy season was in full swing during April, bringing a sensory overload of everything nature has to offer: the lush vegetation reflected an endless spectrum of all hues of green, the beguiling scent of the flowering woolly caper hung in the air, and the chorus of reed frogs, bubbling kassinas and bullfrogs greatly enhanced the nights. The temperatures were pleasant, and we had warm, sunny days. At Magashi this season means it rains mainly during the night. When we had showers during the day, we were blessed with dramatic cloud formations, spectacular views of the mist-covered hills, and incredible light for everyone interested in photography.

Wildlife and other wondrous things


The cooler temperatures made wildlife much more active. Hippos were seen grazing on the banks of Lake Rwanyakazinga during the day, and April spoiled us with some of the most exciting predator sightings.


As the vegetation thrives in the rainy season, we regularly prevent the roads from overgrowing by carefully cutting back overhanging branches. Whilst out on one of these bush-clearing missions, our guides noticed a rotten stench, and when they investigated, found a hippo carcass with two big male lions, a lioness and four cubs feeding on it. Of course, they came back with the guests. Meanwhile, the hyenas had also tracked down the source of the “delicious” smell, and the guests witnessed epic scenes of lions and hyenas in a feeding frenzy, competing over every little scrap of vital protein.



In total, we had 16 different sightings of lions, and 19 sightings of spotted hyenas during April. But the main act on Magashi’s predator catwalk was the leopard. In total, our guests had 23 different sightings, and we were lucky enough to have even seen them regularly during daylight hours.


Like on this particular afternoon: guide Innocent and his guests were just cruising, enjoying a safari’s little things… until they turned a corner, and saw a leopard sitting on the side of the road. They spent more than an hour in the presence of this magnificent animal before the leopard headed out to mind its own business.



The birdlife did not disappoint either. A guest who had travelled all over Africa many times had yet to see giant kingfisher. Although they are quite scarce in Magashi she was lucky enough to find one here with her guide Herman, and was able to watch it at close quarters to her heart’s content.



Another very special sighting was of a herd of eland moving through the Magashi concession. In the old days, these large antelopes played an important role in the mystical beliefs of traditional hunters all over sub-Saharan Africa, and we are very happy to have a small population roaming through Akagera.


One event limited to the wet season, and only visible to those who stop and “smell the roses’ (sorry, pun intended!) is the abrupt appearance of fragile beauties belonging to the mushroom kingdom. Phallaceae, commonly known as stinkhorns, have a worldwide distribution, but are especially prevalent in tropical regions. They are known for their foul-smelling, sticky spore mass which attracts flies, beetles, and other insects to help disperse the spores. The appearance of Phallaceae is often sudden, as they can erupt from the undergrowth within just an hour; however, their beauty is fleeting as some will start dying off inside of a couple of hours already.





Children in the Wilderness and community update from Magashi


On April 3rd, the last term of the Rwandan school year started. This offered a great opportunity for Aline and Ingrid to visit CITW’s partner schools and surrounding villages at Akagera National Park.


The CITW Eco-Club at Akayange Primary School welcomed Aline and Ingrid for one of their club sessions. As a surprise, Aline handed over a CITW Club t-shirt to all 60 students. Productive meetings were held with the Akayange Community Committee on the same day, discussing upcoming projects for the schools and the surrounding village.



In Akayange village, there has been a baby boom of goats! Last year Wilderness and CITW distributed 135 goats to disadvantaged families. This project is managed and implemented by the Community Committee, which agreed that the firstborn goats would go to the next families in need in the village. By now around 30 baby goats are mature enough to leave their mothers and live with another family. Together with the Committee, Aline and Ingrid handed over the young goats to their new owners.



Aline and Ingrid also visited the CITW YES Club and the Rwabiharamba Primary and Secondary schools this month. The 40 students in the CITW YES Club were given Club t-shirts and had a fun time exchanging ideas. Among the YES Club members are the 16 students who received a CITW scholarship for the duration of their six years of secondary schooling.


In April the installation of a Wilderness & CITW-sponsored water filtration system was completed at the Rwabiharamba schools. The installation was made possible by generous donations from Wilderness guests. The filtration system will ensure clean, safe and hygienic drinking water for all 1,200 students and 35 teachers at the school!






In April we also welcomed our new management couple, Dean and Nicole. Having worked in South Africa and the Congo before, they are now very excited about their new position in Rwanda. “Rwanda has blown our minds from day one, and we have fallen in love with this amazing country and her people”, Nicole says. For Dean, who has been in the bush for half of his life, Magashi, with its incredible scenery and abundance of wildlife, is one of those places where his heart immediately felt at home.


“It’s amazing to see the preservation of the environment of Rwandan culture. The team is exceptional and gave us a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Attention to detail, prompt service and friendliness”.

Family K – GB

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