January is the time of year for ânew beginningsâ and with the numerous alterations and improvements to the lodge there has been plenty of âgetting used toâ the new brighter warmer rooms and fabulous decorations in and around the main buildings. The lodge, guest cottages and suites are looking brighter, fresher, more contemporary and our guests are loving the new elegant look. Here are some excerpts from our visitors book ‘Timelessly elegant and comfortable’ and ‘I read about the refurbishment on the blog but this far exceeds by expectations’.
We have been kept busy with a series of the bigger groups who arrive in private charters from all over the world but are all equally entranced by their time with the Gorillas. Sunny mornings have given all of them quality time with the Primates and some extraordinary photos to go with them.
In line with the other lodges in the Governors group we are delighted to be giving every guest the chance to help us, in our efforts to reduce plastic waste, by accepting the use of reusable water bottles and bringing the down drastically the number of plastic bottles used. Likewise, we were delighted to learn, when we had our source water tested by the government laboratories, that our water which comes from a natural spring in the forest is classified as the healthiest water in Rwanda!
Amongst our guests this month have been many of the board of AWF, the African Wildlife Foundation, who had so much to do with both the preservation of the Gorilla species and the original construction of the lodge for the community. They were as pleased with our improvements as we are but our pleasure was in attending the ceremony that was hugely well attended to commemorate their donation of 28 hectares of land to help the governmentâs plans to extend the area under conservation.
Here is an extract from the AWF representative’s speech at the event:
‘As they say, a journey of a thousand miles â even in the land of a thousand hills â begins with one step. In our case, that first step in Rwanda was taken three decades ago and we have continued to take many important steps forward.
The second key step in our journey in Rwanda was in 2007 when AWF pioneered community-ownership of high-end ecotourism lodges through the creation of Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge with support from US Government through USAID.
Since opening, the lodge has generated over USD2.9 million for the Socola community, represented here today (look at the hillside when you say this where the community is sitting). We are very pleased to continue our partnership with Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge and are thrilled that Dominic from Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is here today.’
At a time when conserved areas are shrinking globally, it is wonderful to be part of such an expansion program. To help with this expansion we have set aside a few acres of our own and are propagating and growing what will be a total of 15,000 indigenous tree seedlings to distribute to all our neighbours to help reforest the land adjacent to the park.