Wilderness Magashi Newsletter –June 2023

Camp news

Nicole Mathesie


Birthing season

With the month of June, the dry season finally arrived. Most animals were now found close to the lake shores or indulgently wallowing in the last remaining mud holes.


Dry season also marks the beginning of the birthing season at Wilderness Magashi: baby animals and baby birds everywhere! Tiny baby impalas taking their first shaky steps were watched by our guests in awe. Guide Venuste and his guests witnessed a most unusual event: one impala ewe accompanied by four calves of the same age! Given the fact that impalas only give birth to one calf at the time, she must have taken the role of babysitter for other herd members, which is something rarely seen!

Besides the beautiful sight of tiny baby red-necked spurfowl popping out of the grass everywhere, birdwatchers were spoiled with something really special: the return of the African skimmers. They usually hunt just before dark and at night, skimming the surface of the water. So to see these special birds and their unique hunting behaviour, most people have to go to great lengths. But here at Magashi our guests could enjoy them at close quarters, framed by a spectacular African sunset, while having sophisticated drinks from our mobile bush bar.


The big cats also didn’t disappoint again: besides regular leopard sightings and regular encounters with the “Magashi lions”, we also saw a big pride of 14 individuals several times in the area, and our guests were lucky to spend hours watching their social interactions.



Magashi manager Nicole Mathesie spotted an incredibly gorgeous flower mantis. These mantises are really hard to see due to their special form of camouflage, referred to as “aggressive mimicry”. They have specific colouration and behaviours that mimic specific flowers in their surrounding habitats. This does not only attract clueless prey – they hunt pollinating insects – but it also helps them to elude predators.



A beautiful addition to the rhino population


We are excited to announce the birth of an eastern black rhino calf, which was born to one of the rhinos that were relocated from a European zoo in June 2019. This is a significant milestone as it marks the first successful birth of a calf to the zoo rhinos since their translocation to the park. The calf is thriving in its new environment, and all indications suggest that it is doing exceptionally well.

Akagera National Park conservation

In a collaboration between the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, the Government of Rwanda and African Parks, Critically Endangered black rhinos, born and bred in Europe, completed the 6,000 km journey to Akagera National Park in 2019.
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Jasiri, Mandela, and Olmoti successfully completed their adaptation process and were released into the park after six months of acclimatisation. This release was carried out gradually and cautiously, with a dedicated team of trackers closely monitoring their transition into the wild. Over time, these three rhinos fully adjusted to their surroundings and transformed into completely wild animals by early 2022. The birth of a calf is an indication of success for the translocation. The calf is Jasiri’s first, making the birth all the more exciting.


Staff news


As Wilderness Tanzania prepares for the opening of its new camp, five of their team members had the opportunity to visit Rwanda and get a feel for what the Wilderness Way is all about.



Wilderness Usawa Serengeti Camp Manager, Jaffary Saimon Mhina, had the opportunity to spend several weeks in Rwanda, and joined the management teams at Magashi and Bisate, with a short visit to Sabyinyo. The Wilderness Tanzania Service Team members, Peter Ombeni, Yudas William Msofe, George Balton and Jimson Msigwa, all had a chance to work with the Magashi Service Team for several weeks.


We enjoyed that our colleagues from a neighbouring East African country were a part of our team for a couple of weeks, and we wish them all the best with the upcoming season!



Rwandan scholarship students end their school year with a big THANK YOU!


July marks the end of the Rwandan school year, and all 140 CITW students who are being sponsored for six years of schooling wrote letters to thank their donors for the support. A big pile of letters reached our office this week!


What a joy to read through the letters and realise how much this support impacts the students and the schools.



The scholarship students attend the three secondary schools CITW Rwanda is partnered with. A staggering 108 students are supported in their studies at Bisate Secondary School (close to Wilderness Bisate), while 16 scholarship students attend Rwabiharamba Secondary School in the area just outside Akagera National Park, where Wilderness Magashi is located. Sixteen Kinihira Secondary School students from the community close to at Gishwati Forest are also sponsored.


The scholarships are valued at USD1 800 per student for the duration of the six years. Included in the scholarship are the school fees, lessons and study materials, school meals and school uniforms. Over the years we have noticed that this is one of the most impactful ways to support not only a child, but also their family and the surrounding community.


First of all, the child has the opportunity of a bright and educated future; secondly, the family has financial relief, and these finances can be used for other necessities or to support other children in their education; and lastly, the community at large benefits, especially if more students from the same community receive the sponsorship. We have noticed a positive shift in the villages where the whole community starts to see the importance of education and conservation.



The funding for these 140 scholarships is generously provided by Wilderness Bisate, Sabyinyo and Magashi guests and trade partners. We are hoping to grow our support for the 2023-2024 school year and that we will be able to fund many more scholarships!


Our CITW Rwanda team, the various Community Committees, Eco-Club mentors and the Heads of the schools carefully chose the learners on the basis of academic merit and participation in their Eco-Clubs (CITW’s interactive, fun and educational environmental skills programme for primary school children). In order to retain the scholarship in each grade, learners must maintain good academic results, while showing dedication, motivation and good behaviour. CITW Rwanda Programme Co-ordinator, Aline Umutoni, monitors the progress of each learner on a regular basis.


“It is fantastic to read all the letters and see the appreciation that the children show to their donors. They mention things like ‘you changed my life’ or ‘I will never forget the support and hope to do this for someone else one day’. It shows that the children are willing to work hard to make the most of this opportunity”, mentioned Aline, after reading the thank you letters.


The schools will reopen in September 2023 for the new school year.

“Absolutely magical! Checked every box of dream vacation, safari, food the staff. One of the great experiences of my life, I saw leopard! (Assiat is the best)!”


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.