This month, Bisate ticked all the boxes. Our reforestation boomed with the planting of many new saplings, the Bisate community thrived with the start of a new cooperative for arts and crafts, and with the kind donations of our guests the families most in need received some warm clothing. The lodge was nearly fully booked with happy guests and the Bisate kitchen service elevated to the next level with additional chef training.
Climate and Landscape
October delivered the blessing of rain on most afternoons – ideal circumstances as almost all the mornings were dry with a pleasant temperatures. Perfect for gorilla tracking or any other outdoor activities!
The rain in the afternoon complemented the cosy feeling at Bisate. How about a freshly-brewed cappuccino made from Gato Keza coffee beans in front of the fireplace… or a massage in the comfort and privacy of your room?
The evening before experiencing their first encounter with the gorillas our guests often ask us what makes it so special. Well, that is not an easy question to answer as it is the combination of so many factors and everyone experiences it in a different way.
However, what definitely comes to mind is that you will notice the intelligence of the gorillas and how, in so many ways, they are just like us. As an example of their intelligence we would like to share a story from the Gorilla Doctors who went to visit the Rugendo group to help the baby Mayani, who unfortunately had a nylon snare strapped around one wrist.
When the team was ready, they darted Mayani with a sedative to begin the intervention to administer the treatment. There are four silverbacks in the Rugendo group, so the Gorilla Doctors were concerned about the safety of this intervention; silverbacks and other gorillas can become aggressive if they suspect that a group member is in danger. But in this intervention, the Gorilla Doctors had some help.
The dominant silverback, Bukima, began pacing back and forth between the doctors treating Mayani and the group of gorillas. Vocalising to calm his group members, he continued to block his group members from approaching the intervention team throughout the entire time that the doctors worked. With Bukima keeping the other gorillas at bay, the doctors quickly removed the snare from Mayani’s wrist. Fortunately, the snare had not lacerated the skin and Mayani should make a full recovery. The doctors had never experienced the help of a silverback like this before.
Reforestation and Conservation
October is the perfect month for tree planting; with a bit of rain nearly every day everything just wants to grow! Bisate is looking beautiful, green and lush. Just this month we planted more than 860 bamboos and 515 trees. In our nursery we have roughly 970 new saplings and thousands of planted seeds. Our agronomist will nourish these new saplings so that they are ready to be planted in the next rainy season (this coming March).
All our guests are invited to contribute to the reforestation at Bisate by planting their own tree; for many of our guests, this is one of the highlights of their stay. One of the families that recently stayed at Bisate mentioned that they would never forget meeting Jean Moise the agronomist and appreciating his passion and dedication towards the reforestation of the area.
The reforestation is driving the recolonisation of the property by all kinds of wildlife. At the moment we are most excited by the returning rodents. We have identified a climbing mouse and brush-furred rat as the first returning species.
A group of ladies of the Bisate community have organised themselves in to a cooperation. Together they make arts and crafts which they sell to our guests at a small stall. These strong ladies of the community say that it is important to be independent and they are very proud of their achievements.
We received very kind donations from our guests for the community. We advise all our guests not to give any handouts when visiting the surrounding community but to rather leave it with us so that we can distribute fairly and in agreement with the community leaders.
Some of our guests decide to collect clothing and other necessities after returning home from their holiday. Recently we received bags full of items from Bermuda and from the USA. A big thank you to all our guests for their contributions, together we really do change lives.
The Bisate team is becoming more confident in their responsibilities every day. During October Linda van Rensburg came from Cape Town to work with the chefs on our menu and to provide additional training to all kitchen staff.
The dishes that the team prepares all look beautiful and taste even better! After the training the chefs are even more ready to stand on their own two feet and make sure that every meal served is a work of art from the Bisate kitchen!
More training is on the way in the coming month, this time for the service and housekeeping department.
“We could not have wished for a better stay. It is rare to see the passion and care everyone at Bisate has for both the guests and the local community. Of course the gorilla experience was unique and wonderful. I look forward to a return trip in the future. Thank you all.”
“What an amazing experience! The lodge was superb, we felt right at home from the start. That and three amazing days of tracking golden monkeys and gorillas will forever stay in our memory as highlights. Highly recommendable to all our travel-crazy friends! Thank you all so much!”
“What is there to say! Three days pass by in what seems like an instant. Amazing days spent with the gorillas and monkeys and then pampered by an amazing staff that responds to any request – spoken or anticipated. Lastly the lodge itself is world class. Ingrid and Rob, thank you for your special hospitality. You have created an EDEN in the jungle.”
“Bisate is a beautiful, magical lodge with such gracious hosts. Your care of the guests, the community, the environment shows in every detail. Our stay here could not have been more enjoyable and was the trip of a lifetime. Our goal was to see the gorillas. Our stay here added an extra element that we never anticipated but gave us immense joy. Thank you.”