Ingrid is proud to have played a pivotal role in the success of Bisate Lodge, Magashi and the ongoing development at Gishwati Forest. She is looking forward to ensuring that the company’s Rwanda operation grows from strength to strength.
Following her passion for Africa, life in nature and bringing out the best in people, Ingrid started working for Wilderness Safaris in 2007. After successfully starting up Wilderness Safaris in Rwanda in 2017 with the opening and running of Bisate Lodge, as well as setting up the company’s office in Kigali in 2018, launching Magashi Camp in Akagera National Park and Wilderness’ conservation efforts in Gishwati in 2019, followed by the opening of Bisate Kwanda in 2021, Ingrid is excited to continue growing Wilderness Safaris in Rwanda.
In addition to managing all of the company’s operational aspects, Ingrid will continue to focus on growing Wilderness’ community and Children in the Wilderness (CITW) projects within the region. This is something that is very close to her heart, having spent many years working closely with CITW in Zambia. Ingrid has set up community committees with which the Wilderness Safaris Rwanda team implements CITW educational and community empowerment projects in the areas surrounding Bisate, Magashi and Gishwati. This includes large-scale agricultural projects, water provision for villagers, and partnerships with six schools supporting CITW’s environmental education and scholarship programme.
Ingrid grew up in the Netherlands and studied at the Amsterdam University of the Arts, where she obtained her first-level teaching and dancing degree in 1999. Whilst studying and living in Amsterdam she met her husband Rob. During this time, the travel bug bit and their love for experiencing new and interesting cultures and untouched nature began. These journeys brought them to unforgettable places in Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and Africa, igniting their desire to live an adventurous life abroad.
In 2006, after travelling through Zambia for a month and falling in love with the country, they decided to leave the comfort of their jobs and home in the Netherlands in search of a life in nature, living among different cultures. Their hospitality careers thus began in South Luangwa National Park, followed by almost seven years with Wilderness Safaris in Kafue National Park; here Rob and Ingrid started out as relief managers but were soon promoted to camp management. From then on, they quickly developed into General Managers, Concession Managers and later on Area Manager and Service Manager respectively.
From the onset, Ingrid was closely involved with Wilderness Safaris’ non-profit partner, CITW. After hosting the first CITW Zambian camp in Kafue in 2007, she became committed to the programme and was appointed CITW Co-ordinator for Zambia. Together with Rob, Ingrid made the move to Namibia in 2014 for three years, joining Namib Sky Balloon Safaris in Sossusvlei where they worked closely with Wilderness Safaris’ Kulala Desert Lodge and Little Kulala.
Ingrid is proud to have played such a pivotal role in the success of Wilderness Safaris in Rwanda, and is looking forward to ensuring that the company’s Rwanda operation grows from strength to strength. This includes the exciting development of the chimpanzee trekking experience, post the company’s 25-year concession agreement with the Rwanda Development Board for the development of a multi-phased conservation and tourism management programme in Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
“It is very exciting to have been a part of our Rwandan operation from the beginning and to have the opportunity to contribute to the success of Wilderness Safaris. This is an amazing country of beautiful people with a ‘can-do attitude’, very diverse landscapes and wildlife, and untold possibilities for growth and development”, she concludes.