The rainy season at Wilderness Magashi literally started with a bang: a couple of short but intense tropical thunderstorms at the beginning of the month brought much-needed rain and pleasantly cooler temperatures. After the fires and the scorching heat of the previous weeks, the rains were a blessing. Virtually overnight the bush exploded in vivid bright colours, and Umwangange – also known as fireball lilies – erupted from the parched soil with their large, spherical flowers attracting an abundance of bees, butterflies and birds.
The change of seasons also made for very diverse sightings of wildlife. At Lake Mahindi, guide Innocent and his guests spotted a beautiful sitatunga. These elusive, aquatic antelopes are most active just before dusk and after dawn, and they spend a great deal of their time making sure not to be seen. Another very rare sighting, this one of a roan antelope, was enjoyed by guide Herman’s lucky guests.
Magashi is in the fortunate position to host the territories of three Eastern black rhinos. A few months ago one of them gave birth to the first rhino that has survived its critical first weeks on the Magashi concession since the reintroduction of rhinoceroses in Rwanda. Today, at the age of five months, the little boy is strong and healthy and it is always an extraordinary thrill to see him growing bigger and feistier by the day.
Speaking of baby animals, during the last weeks our guests were repeatedly surprised by sightings of several female leopards with small cubs, surely something they will never forget.
Black rhino calf
People at Magashi: 3 weddings and a staff exchange
September was also an extra special month for certain members of our staff: Alphonse, Claudine and Samuel spoke their wedding vows to their respective partners, and cheerfully celebrated their love with family and friends in colourful Rwandan weddings. A Rwandan wedding is an elaborate affair, and it has two steps: The traditional wedding and the civil or church wedding. Bride and groom usually wear different attire on the two occasions, and the celebrations can easily host up to 350 guests. The whole Magashi family wishes our newlyweds all the best on their beautiful life-long journeys together.
In order to give our staff the opportunity to grow and enhance their careers, Wilderness Rwanda has started an exchange programme for Assistant and Junior Managers. While our Junior Manager Rachel spent three weeks at Wilderness Bisate, Magashi had the wonderful opportunity to welcome Loyce, Bisate’s Assistant Manager, to the team. Loyce, who is continuing the successful career in conservation started before joining Wilderness, tremendously enjoyed being in the bush, and we tremendously enjoyed having her as part of the Magashi family during this exchange.
Community and CITW update
Wilderness Rwanda supports Akayange Primary School with solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system
Just in time to start the new school year of 2023-24, Wilderness Rwanda was able to support Akayange Primary School with the installation of solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system. The installation, valued at USD2,500, was completed in the second half of September thanks to generous donations from our Magashi guests.
The solar panels will produce sufficient electricity to provide light in the classrooms, and also allow for connecting some IT equipment used by the teachers. The rainwater will be collected from the entire roof structure at the school via newly installed gutters, and from there directed into water storage tanks. This will ensure that there is fresh water available to cook the school meals and wash hands before enjoying these meals!
Akayange Primary School has 441 students, 11 teachers and 1 head teacher, all of whom will benefit from the newly available electricity from the solar panels and the water supplied via the water tanks.
Wilderness and CITW support 177 scholarships for school year 2023-2024
Rwanda’s new school year started on the 25th of September 2023, heralding a very exciting time for the schools that Wilderness Rwanda’s non-profit, Children in the Wilderness (CITW), partners with in the company’s areas of operation. In addition to the current 140 scholarships, 37 new CITW scholarships have been awarded!
This means a total of 177 students are now sponsored 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, more of our students are advancing to the higher grades, which means they are moving to another school, and an additional 34 secondary schools are involved.
The scholarships are valued at USD1,800 per student for the duration of the six years. Included in the scholarship are the children’s school fees, lesson and study materials, school meals and school uniforms. This brings the total value of the 177 scholarships to USD318,600 – truly impressive support for the students, their families, and the community at large!
This coming school year our CITW scholarships will be supporting 29 students at Rwabiharamba Secondary school in the Magashi area, 13 new scholarships in Senior 1, and in Senior 2 and Senior 3 a total of 16 students. At Kinihira Secondary School we are sponsoring a total of 35 scholarships, of which 19 are new students in S1 and in total 16 students are in S2 and in S3.
Bisate Secondary School has the highest number as this is the fifth year of the scholarship support. A total of 112 students receive the support, with four new students in Senior 1, 37 students in S2 and S3 and the remaining 71 students are divided over in total 34 secondary schools for Senior 4 and Senior 5.
Dear all, we had the best time you could ever imagine! Great staff, great place, amazing! Thanks for everything, see you soon again!
V.d.I. family, Netherlands
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