Wilderness has earned its reputation for its commitment to conscious and considered tourism, quickly becoming one of the continent’s leading names for luxury safari offerings. Now the brand is returning back to the Rwandan jungle, with its new Wilderness Bisate Reserve slated to welcome guests in September.
The announcement builds on Wilderness’ conservation commitments within Rwanda, where the brand already has three camps, including two in the Volcano National Park, the same site of the planned expansion.
Laying on the lower slopes of the extinct volcano that shares the same name, those who know the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’ will also know guests come to the Bisate forest for only one thing: the endangered mountain gorilla. With just an estimated 1,000 in the world, this dense rainforest is where a third of those remaining mountain gorillas call home.
Gorillas may reign as kings in this jungle, but they are also at the heart of Wilderness’ conservation efforts in the area. The brand has already overseen the planting of nearly 100,000 indigenous trees as part of the new development, transforming the former agricultural site into a thriving forest.
Wilderness has also made a conscious effort to collaborate with local authorities for the new reserve. “It has been extremely rewarding to work closely with the Rwanda Development Board and our other partners to grow our positive impact in Rwanda,” explains Rob Baas, managing director of Wilderness Rwanda.
“Bisate continues to receive local and international acclaim, and we are extremely proud to announce our expansion plans and to embark on the build of Bisate Reserve, which will elevate our guest experience to even greater heights.”
The Wilderness Bisate Reserve will feature just four expansive villas and while details remain limited, they appear to follow the same distinctive design as Wilderness’ other site in the Bisate forest. The architecture pays tribute to the regal traditions and heritage of Rwanda, which are brought to life with the use of sustainable and natural materials. Nestled among the treetops, each villa will offer captivating vistas of the six majestic volcanoes that surround the park.
The reserve will also continue Wilderness’ ethos of marrying world-leading conservation with exclusive adventures through its offerings of immersive guest activities. Its aim is that visitors will not only be able to see the gorillas firsthand, but will play an active part in their preservation – so that guests of the future may also share a chance to see these magnificent creatures.
And it’s not just gorillas on the sight-seeing shopping list, the rich biodiversity of the surrounding rainforest means guests are likely to meet a host of their natural neighbors, including black-fronted duiker, golden monkeys and over 200 species of tropic birds.
Since Wilderness opened its first Bisate Lodge in 2017, other luxury competitors seem to have joined in moving into the neighborhood, including One&Only’s Gorilla’s Nest and Singita’s Kwitonda Lodge. This new reserve will seek to reclaim Wilderness’ territory in this area within the luxury safari market.
The new reserve is said to signal a new level of luxury within the region, with intentions to “redefine luxury, conservation and exclusivity”, according to the brand. Notable in its name as a ‘reserve’, rather than a site, camp or lodge, this reiterates Wilderness’ dedication to natural conservation. “Reserve also talks to the finest wine and whisky; the finest in luxury,” adds Baas.
“Staying at Bisate Reserve will bring these two worlds together in a profound way for our guests, offering the most exclusive, intimate and impactful experience.”