Rwanda’s unbelievable Bisate Lodge is a stunning example of how to build in a natural landscape without causing harm. Constructed into an eroded volcanic cone, the pod-like villas – which were designed by Johannesburg-based architectural firm, Nicholas Plewman in collaboration with interior designers, Caline Williams-Wynn and Nilfah Adams from Artichoke – are surrounded by lush forest with views of the volcanic landscape. The lodge is part of an effort to honor the local culture while restoring the indigenous forest.
Designed to pay homage to the Rwandan culture and natural landscape, the eco-retreat is located near the Volcanoes National Park Headquarters and is part of a pioneering onsite indigenous reforestation project. Only six thatched-roof villas are located on the expansive 103-acre resort, which was built into a natural cavernous space in an overgrown volcanic cone.
Wanting to create an authentic Rwandan style, the resort’s overall interior design, which was led by designers, Caline Williams-Wynn and Nilfah Adams from Artichoke, was inspired by indigenous tradition. Much of the interior design includes an abundance of colorful prints and varying textures that were chosen to represent the local style. In fact, Teta Isibo, local fashion entrepreneur and founder of Inzuki Designs and one of Africa’s 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs for 2017 also collaborated on the design process.
Various sustainable features – such as chandeliers made of recycled glass and volcanic stone fireplaces – are found throughout the eco retreat. Local touches such as the traditional ibyansi milk jug motif are used throughout the space, and cow hides were used as rugs to represent the rural life in local villages. Additionally, items made from the traditional art process called Imigongo, where cow dung is mixed with soils of different colors and painted into geometric shapes, are also found in the interior.
Operated by sustainable ecotourism operator, Wilderness Safaris, construction of the Bisate Lodge was an ecological process throughout. According to the COO Grant Woodrow, the company put strategic care into building something that would enhance the area rather than harm it, “We wanted to ensure that our brand of responsible ecotourism made a real difference to both rural Rwandan people and biodiversity conservation.” Reservations for this amazing eco lodge can be made through Thousand Hills Africa.