COVID-19 took hold in March 2020, forcing the world to shut down and retreat into lockdown. So, it was with a great sense of happiness and relief that Wilderness Rwanda hosted CEO Keith Vincent, and COO Dave Bennett recently. For Dave, locked down in Mauritius, it was the first time he was able to reconnect with the staff and experience the African bush in the twenty months since the pandemic began.
The Magashi team welcomed them into camp, proudly showing them the beauty of the camp and the concession. While their stay at Magashi was short, they were treated to wonderful game drives and boating safaris with one of Rwanda’s first FGASA-qualified guides, Alphonse. Along the lake shore, with Magashi’s renowned sunset cocktails, it was good to reconnect with old friends and new.
After some meetings in Kigali, Bisate was also a brief stop to visit the team and experience the trails, the nursery, the greenhouse and, of course, to see the new Bisate Kwanda day lounge, before joining the Bisate guests for drinks and dinner. While Keith hosted a CNBC TV crew the following morning, Ironman Dave set off to climb Bisoke, which he managed in record time!
While both Dave and Keith were so impressed with the camps, service and food, for both of them, the best part was to say hello again to our staff and people. “To me that was the ultimate highlight”, noted Keith. “Not to mention that the Bisate Kwanda was mind-blowing cool too!”
Reconnecting with the Rwandan team was a re-energising and a rejuvenating experience, and hopefully marks the return of regular visits and catch-ups across the regions.
In Dave’s words, “Even during these very difficult times the compassion, empathy, and energy of our teams on the ground is truly inspiring. Delivering staggering service and magic moments in extreme conditions was a personal highlight, and it’s difficult to portray how very grateful and thankful I am for our wonderful People of Wilderness – you are the glue that holds this business together!”
Left to right; top to bottom: Jimmy Nsengimana, agronomist; Joseph Nsengiyumva, chef; Aimable Rukundo Ramadhan, barman-waiter; Dave Bennett, COO; Keith Vincent, CEO; Ingrid Baas, Operations Manager; Rob Baas, MD; Johnson Hakizimana, trainee chef
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