Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is Rwanda’s first uniquely community owned lodge and we know that in order to protect gorillas, you have to look after communities.
Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a world-class lodge that was conceived and is and operated by the Governors Camp Collection, in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation (“AWF”) and its partner in Rwanda, the International Gorilla Conservation Program (“IGCP”). The lodge is owned by a Community Trust, SACOLA, (Sabyinyo Community Livelihood Association) which was set up specifically to receive rental and other income from the lodge, and to use that income to drive socio-economic development and conservation initiatives in the Kinigi area, which is adjacent to the Volcanoes National Park in North-Western Rwanda.
Lease fees paid by the lodge, plus a community development levy paid by every guest, are received by SACOLA. These income streams are the driving force behind many local businesses and the construction of homes for needy families in the area – and have ultimately had a most positive impact on the lives of local people and gorilla conservation. These income streams are the driving force behind many local businesses and the construction of homes for needy families in the area. They have ultimately had a most positive impact on the lives of local people and gorilla conservation. This unique revenue-sharing model sees the community directly benefiting from gorilla tourism and has been copied across many parts of Africa. Total revenue from the lodge is almost at US $4 million and has directly benefited some 6,000 households in the Kinigi District of Rwanda. In the 12 years since its inception, SACOLA’s programs have contributed in a meaningful way to the conservation and preservation of the Mountain Gorilla and its fragile habitat. SACOLA’s programs also complement the excellent conservation work being done in the region by AWF (www.awf.org) and its local partner, IGCP (www.igcp.org).
Special thanks must go to Gaylord and Kathy Layton of Tayside Associates LLC and the Rwanda Development Board who were also instrumental in getting this landmark project off the ground.