Wilderness Sabyinyo Newsletter – April 2024

Camp news


Behind the scenes at Sabyinyo

Wooooww! What a month April was for Wilderness Sabyinyo. Known for being the wettest month of the year, we always take advantage of this quiet time to work on our back-of-house and other projects, to prepare for the high season that starts the following month. The effort surely didn’t disappoint as the results speak for themselves, something that really made us close the low season with so much pride and joy.

Guest activities at Sabyinyo 

The month began and ended with guests trekking mountain gorillas and golden monkeys, and although the days seemed to be on the wetter side, it didn’t stop everyone from having wonderful experiences in Volcanoes National Park. 


After much hard work clearing eucalyptus from the property, we are thrilled that our guests can now view all six of the volcanoes that surround Sabyinyo. The vistas bought much joy for our guests who enjoyed seeing the sun rise and set from many different angles. Truly, a sight that we are sure they will never get enough of!




SACOLA community news

In partnership with SACOLA, (the Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association that owns Sabyinyo), and our surrounding community, we came together during April to work on multiple projects around the lodge and beyond, all of which left our lodge looking even more stunning.


We also came together again with our community this month for our monthly Umuganda, where we worked together to build a fence to help protect our water sources, helping to make sure that this resource stays clean and protected. We closed off the activity with a big celebration with the residents of the community.

Sabyinyo staff news

April was a very busy time for our staff at Sabyinyo. We had a lot going on – from working on back-of- house projects to planting indigenous trees to replace the eucalyptus that we harvested around the property, to cleaning the lodge and doing maintenance, plus staff training, and so much more.


Our Sabyinyo staff also came together to join fellow Rwandans in commemorating the Genocide against the Tutsi that took place 30 years ago. We did a walk of remembrance, and afterwards came together with everyone to listen to discussions about our country’s tragic history. This gave staff the chance to learn more about the history of our country, while also hearing from the community that surrounds the lodge about how far we’ve come, and learning about the steps that we need to take to ensure that it never happens again, and develop more as a country and as individuals.




Staff training at Sabyinyo

We held three training sessions in the span of a month, and our staff gained much more knowledge on the different operational aspects of the lodge.


Kicking off the training period was Mr Rohan, the founder of Imizi Rum, Rwanda’s award-winning and very first botanical rum. He trained our service team on cocktail service, and they learnt more about raising guests’ experiences through creativity and innovation, and using herbs that grow on the property. He concluded the training with a quiz that everyone aced, and then had everyone create a signature cocktail, which they also all aced.





Our second session was very important for all staff, namely first aid training. It covered all the aspects of basic first aid, and all of our staff are now able to recognise when someone needs emergency help and immediately know what to do. 


The last training session was thanks to Doris and Aline from our Kigali office. Doris shared with us the story of Wilderness and what we stand for, allowing our staff to get to know more about the company and its conservation hospitality ethos. And they didn’t stop at that – thanks to Aline we were able to learn more about Children in the Wilderness too. Our staff are now greatly looking forward to sharing this information with our guests whenever they inquire about our impact work with our surrounding communities.

Kinigi Executive Secretary Visits Sabyinyo Village Kitchen Gardens

One of Wilderness Rwanda’s most recent “Empower” initiatives, as part of its core impact strategy, are the Wilderness Sabyinyo-supported village kitchen gardens established in the Kinigi Sector of Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park area. The gardens are proving a great success, and recently hosted an important visitor.


Through the kind donations of guests visiting Wilderness Sabyinyo, we have been able to support 26 needy households with vegetable- or kitchen gardens. A kitchen garden, known as akarima k’igikoni in Kinyarwanda, is one of the country’s home-grown solutions to preventing malnutrition and stunted growth. In Rwanda, the term is quite common, because many households have discovered the amazing output you can get from a well-managed vegetable garden. The project is running in Kanyampereri and Rebero villages in the Kinigi Sector.



A few weeks ago, the project was visited by Landuard, the Executive Secretary of the Kinigi Sector. Landouard was shown around the gardens, by the residents of the community, and by our own Wilderness Sabyinyo employee, Leonard.


The visit to Kanyampereri village showcased the tangible results of Wilderness’ efforts in supporting needy families and addressing malnutrition. On arrival, it was evident that the village was bustling with activity, as community members were actively engaged in harvesting various types of vegetables. This was a great display of Wilderness’ efforts to empower the local community and address malnutrition. The Executive Secretary was impressed by the positive outcomes, and the residents thanked Wilderness for their support. We hope to further expand this project in the area in the upcoming year and to explore even more opportunities.


SACOLA donates passion fruit saplings to students at six primary schools

In its ongoing commitment to fight malnutrition and promote sustainable practices in the area around Volcanoes National Park, this month SACOLA also undertook a significant initiative – to donate passion fruit plants to communities in the Kinigi and Nyange sectors.


An impressive 8,000 passion fruit plants were donated to 3,750 students at six primary schools. Each student received two plants to take home to provide fruit for their families. The teachers received 500 plants for propagation at the schools.


These passion fruit plants will help the families to have access to fresh fruit; furthermore, when successfully grown, selling the fruit will also provide additional income. The students and teachers received training from SACOLA on how to take care of the saplings. Hopefully soon the little plants will grow much bigger and they will produce successful harvests!

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SACOLA’s passion fruit plant donation represents yet another step towards combating malnutrition and empowering communities in the Kinigi and Nyange sectors.


As a pioneer in mountain gorilla conservation tourism, Sabyinyo is Rwanda’s first-ever community-owned lodge – operated by Wilderness but owned by the SACOLA community trust in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation and the International Gorilla Conservation Programme. Each guest staying at Sabyinyo contributes to the SACOLA community initiatives.


Thank you SACOLA for this amazing support for so many households!

“Thank you for your smiles, energy and everything you do! I will be back”.

- JB 

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