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Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge?

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Sep 28th, 2007, 08:00 AM
  #1
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Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge?

I am going to Rwanda in January and just heard about this new lodge that was supposed to open in September 2007. I was going to stay at the Volcanos Lodge but this one is closer to the park entrance and supposed to be nice. Anyone have any thoughts or feedback?
AlwaysOnTheRoad is offline  
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Sep 28th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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We will be staying there early October. Let you know.
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Oct 4th, 2007, 07:05 AM
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We are staying there in January.

The lodge was supposed to open in July, then August, then September.

It's now October. Does anyone know anything more about it? Is it open? What's it like?

Google searches reveal no new information.
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Oct 4th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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It is open and guests have been accepted since Sept!

I was fortunate to be of their first guests in early September!

Lovely place!

At that time the dining room was still under construction and they served meals in one of the chalets.

Chalets are roomy with an open-plan design, with big windows, stunning views and a fireplace, huge bathroom with shower and tub. Classy yet simple in design.

The grounds are big and bit steep so walking from the parking area to the rooms for example requires a few resting steps along the way. But if you get tired walking to/from dining then you can forget about trekking gorillas!

Chefs are from Govs Camp in Kenya and the food is wonderful. The local staff is being trained by the Kenyan staff from Govs camps.

I will post my pictures very soon so please check daily to see:

http://www.go-safari.com/Volcans/GovernorsRwanda.htm
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Oct 4th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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I just returned from Rwanda in early Sept. The new lodge is up and running but not with full accomodations. It is lovely and situated right on the base of Sabyinyo. Fooe etc. done with the same level of service and class as one can expect from Gov's operation. Not inexpensive although I can not comment on the fee as I was hosted there. BUT certaily more desireable that virunga due to location. Views are drop dead gorgeous and yes, it is a long trek up the steps from the parking area. I would return in a heart beat.
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Oct 4th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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More steps than the ones at Gorilla Forest Camp in Bwindi?
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Oct 4th, 2007, 11:59 AM
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The steepest part (with steps) is from the parking to the dining area. From there it is less steep but uphill to the rooms (concrete/rock path not steps) which are much further apart than Gorilla Forest Camp!

GFC has very gentle steps to the rooms!
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Dec 5th, 2007, 12:49 PM
  #8
drs
 
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I just got back from 4 nights at the Sabyinyo Silverback. The eight seperate lodges are nestled high up between the volcanos with probably one of the best views in all of Rwanda. The bathroom was about as big as my bedroom at home! Hot water is fued from each lodge's fireplace. There are still a few final touches that probably need to happen and the feel of the place is surely still new, but food and service is already wonderful. Very convenient to the Park's Administrative offices, although the road up to the Silverback is very very bad and, ironically, it would be quicker just to walk if there was a path. Depending on what gorilla group you visit, the starting point is right back up near the hotel.

The Silverback is already maybe 100 times more luxury than any other place to stay in the country, with a price to match. For visiting the gorillas I couldnt imagine, however, regardless of the cost, staying anywhere else.

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Dec 5th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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drs -- thanks for the update.

A question or two for you if you don't mind. After the gorilla treks, is there anything else to do in the afternoon at the lodge or in the area near the lodge -- sightsee, visit the town, etc. A few weeks from now we will be staying there for three nights (two gorilla treks) and will have a driver and vehicle at our disposal the whole time. If our treks end early enough, we might be wanting for something to do.

Also, what is the meal set up? Is there a set dinner time and is buffet or menu? I don't really care, but our first night we may not arrive until about 8:30 p.m., and I'm wondering about our dinner that night.
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Dec 5th, 2007, 01:56 PM
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Found some pictures and it looks gorgeous.
And it also sounds like there is some sort've heat in the room.
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Dec 6th, 2007, 08:50 AM
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drs- you said it was by far the most luxurious place in Rwanda. Have you seen the Virunga Lodge and was it really that much nicer? I didn't stay at the Virunga Lodge due to the cost and location, but I did stop in to see it for a few minutes and it was very nice. I stayed at Le Palme in Ruhengeri (Musanze) and it was nice enough. It is new and well run. The price was about 1/10th the cost of Virunga also.
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Dec 6th, 2007, 09:29 AM
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tacos-
Would you mind sharing the rates with us for the Le Palme? Thanks!
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Dec 6th, 2007, 11:57 AM
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waynehazle -- Do you have a link to the pictures you mentioned? I've seen the ones on the link posted above by climbhighsleeplow, and they look nice. I was wondering if you had seen others?
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Dec 6th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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I just checked and saw that I found the same ones climbinghighsleeplow already found

This site has a flash header of similar, if not the same pics:
http://www.tribes.co.uk/countries/rw...lverback_lodge
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Dec 6th, 2007, 10:00 PM
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Le Palme was about $80 US. It is across from the Muhabura and down about 100 yards. It is probably about 6-8 months old now. Reminded me of a small Holiday Inn or something almost that nice. Maybe a very small step down from the Chez Lando in Kigali in a quality comparison. The staff was nice, food was ok, and there is a large bar and patio out back that could be fun if it ever got a crowd. I would definitely stay there given the other choices and costs.
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Feb 27th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a luxury lodge at the border of the Rwandan Virungas national park. In their case, the abuse of the words eco-tourism and community tourism are revolting. The only eco-aspect about this place, is the fact that it was built in the midst of nature. Beside that, it’s an assembly of cement, imported plastic couches and a generator that consumes 80 liter of gas oil a day.

Even more revolting is the fact that, in theory, this place is owned by the village living in extreme poverty next to it. Unfortunately only a handful of villagers are aware of this. The management of the lodge is in the hands of Governors Camps, a British Kenya-based ground operator who gives 50 USD per client and a percentage of the annual profits to a community trust. That is in case there are any profits. Despite the fact that their Kenyan lodges have a close to 100 % occupancy rate and that prices per night vary from 450 to 700 USD, the manager doubts whether he will actually be able to make some profit in Rwanda. The fact that all reservations and bookkeeping go through the Kenyan headquarters, might explain why.

It seems like Governors Camps simply got a huge investment for free and they are doing everything they can to keep the so-called owners as ignorant as possible. The entire investment has been paid for by USAID and African Wildlife Foundation. I really wander why these institutions have agreed to finance such a scam.

If you want great views, I'd recommend Virunga Lodge. If you simply want quality, you can get it at le Palme for less then 100 $.
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Feb 29th, 2008, 03:50 PM
  #17
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I was at this lodge a month ago and found my stay comfortable. The food was so-so and the complementary wine - undrinkable. In general I simply ignore the words "eco-lodge". I find that in travel they mean nothing.

There have been several reviews of this lodge on TripAdvisor.
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Jul 8th, 2008, 01:29 AM
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I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Blanchecamala’s review of Sabyinyo Silverback lodge which is both misinformed and a vicious attack on the community of Kinigi and the revenues that they gain from Sabyinyo Silverback lodge and which they use to drive their socio-economic projects.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is a world-class lodge that was conceived, construction was project managed and operated by Governors Camp. In partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation (“AWF”) and its partner in Rwanda, the International Gorilla Conservation Program (“IGCP”). Ownership of the lodge rests with a Community Trust (SACOLA) which receives a rental income from the lodge, which is a percentage of the revenue generated by the lodge, and a fixed bed night fee paid by every guest for each night. SACOLA uses this income (which amounts to a substantial sum each month) to drive socio-economic development and conservation initiatives in the Kinigi area, which is adjacent to the Parc National des Volcans in North Western Rwanda.

In May 2006 all legal agreements were signed between Governors Camp’s Rwandese subsidiary, Governors Camp Rwanda Ltd, and SACOLA, and these agreements were indorsed by AWF / IGCP and the Organisation Rwandaise du Tourism et des Parcs Nationaux (“ORTPN”), the Rwandese Tourism and National Parks Authority. In June 2006 construction began, and the first clients were accommodated in mid-August 2007.

SACOLA began its socio-economic development programs and conservation initiatives in Kinigi, the area adjacent to the Parc National des Volcans, home of the Mountain Gorilla, in September 2007. SACOLA’s programs improve the livelihoods of residents in the Kinigi area which number around 6000 households and contribute in a meaningful way to 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). To date these programmes have included the establishment or roads, water tanks and bursaries.

We are extremely proud of the relationship we have developed with our community neighbours and the difference that Sabyinyo Silverback lodge has made and will make to the livelihoods of the people of Kinigi. Indeed this model of community Tourism has been deemed so successful that AWF (African Wildife Foundation) is now rolling out other community lodges based on the Sabyinyo model across the continent.

In truth what is “revolting” is blanchecamala’s attitude to this inspiring and innovative project and the damage that he seeks to do to the community who stand to benefit from this project from his vitriolic comments.
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Jul 8th, 2008, 08:35 AM
  #19
 
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Sabyinyo: thanks for posting how the arrangement works, it is important for people to understand. Is it possible to post a % or an example of a revenue dollar figure that goes to the community in an average month? Unfortunately there is so much 'green washing' these days the lines have blurred between lodge claims and official partnerships like this. I always find it impactful when a statement can be made in terms of dollars or operating percentage as it helps clarify exactly what the community receives. I know this is a first of it's kind model in Rwanda and I hope it does very well.

A similar project in Uganda with the AWF, IGCP, and an excellent operator Wildplaces, in combination with the Nkuringo Community is opening August 1st, Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge.

That definitely indicates that AWF is pleased with the set up of Sabyinyo.
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