Wilderness Sabyinyo Newsletter – April 2023

Camp news

Your Guide to Africa


Eric Dushime


It's amazing to see how much Wilderness Sabyinyo has transformed in just 13 months since joining our Wilderness family. Although we knew this property deserved some attention after operating for 15 years, our busy schedule with guests made it difficult to prioritise necessary changes. And so, with April being the quietest month of the year, we took the opportunity to make some updates.


Thanks to the teamwork of the Sabyinyo team, we were able to paint, repair, and mark our nature trails. Additionally, with the assistance of our partner SACOLA (Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association), we managed to harvest some of the massive eucalyptus trees on the property. The end result is breathtaking, with a stunning view of the six volcanoes and a beautiful new look for Sabyinyo. Importantly, the eucalyptus trees were donated to the local community for use as firewood and timber, making a significant impact on the area.





Community news


Wilderness Sabyinyo continues to make a positive impact on people's lives through its partnership with SACOLA. This month, we were able to expand our community outreach programme by donating 1,000 timber lengths, which were used to renew five bridges in the Kinigi community. Additionally, the Rwanda Development Board and SACOLA collaborated to create a new trail from the golden monkey trek starting point to the edge of the national park covering approximately 2 kilometres, using some of the Sabyinyo timber. Lastly, we provided firewood to GS Kampanga and GS Nyange, which will be used for cooking lunch for the students enrolled in the school feeding programme that was introduced in all primary schools in Rwanda in 2018.


Our community outreach efforts did not stop with the aforementioned projects. Along with SACOLA, we donated 700 chickens to 350 impoverished families in the Kinigi and Nyange sectors, providing each family with at least two chickens. This contribution will aid the sectors' efforts to reduce malnutrition. These 350 families were carefully selected by local leaders from different cells within their respective sectors.



During the second week of April, Rwandans remember the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. In this context, SACOLA and Wilderness Sabyinyo donated 250 chickens to a co-operative of 24 widows who survived the genocide against the Tutsi people in 1994.





Despite our tree nursery not yet being ready to provide us with the various indigenous species we are eager to plant, we urgently needed to replant a few species to fill the empty spaces after removing swathes of eucalyptus.


Removing the eucalyptus is part of our continuous reforestation effort at Wilderness Sabyinyo. The eucalyptus is a non-indigenous invasive species – albeit a great source for building material in the surrounding community. The trees that were removed from the Sabyinyo property have been replaced by indigenous species that belong in this area.


With the assistance of the Wilderness Bisate team, we successfully replaced the eucalyptus with over 400 bamboo and other indigenous plants throughout the property, which will greatly contribute to our conservation efforts.




Sabyinyo and Bisate team Umuganda


Umuganda is a nationally observed community work day that takes place on the last Saturday of every month. This month ours involved cleaning and planting bamboo and other species throughout the property. Later in the day, there was a football match and Igitaramo, a traditional Rwandan cultural event. Both Bisate and Sabyinyo had recently set up their new staff gyms and had epic workout days to prepare for the busy season ahead.


It was a wonderful experience to witness both teams coming together as one Wilderness family during all the activities, and then dividing themselves into two teams for the football match: the Wilderness firstborn (Bisate) and the Wilderness young-born (Sabyinyo). Despite sounding unfair, the younger team emerged victorious with a score of 9-3 against their “elder” counterparts.




Staff visit to Magashi


Eunice Umumararungu, Sabyinyo Junior Manager, had the opportunity to visit Wilderness Magashi in Akagera National Park for the first time. Upon arrival, she was welcomed with incredible kindness by the people she met there. During her visit, Eunice was able to learn a great deal about the camp's day-to-day activities, such as game drives and boat rides, and how Magashi's management operates, which differs slightly from Sabyinyo's.


Eunice also went on her first-ever game drive and was able to witness some amazing wildlife, including lions, leopards, rhinos, and hippos. Her experience left her feeling inspired by the camp's efforts to conserve the park and preserve the culture of the neighbouring community.

“We would like to thank the entire team for an unforgettable stay. I am forever changed by our experience, these last 2 days. Your vision, and hard work will be with us for years. We wish you success and happiness”.

V & L – USA

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