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Our Virunga Lodge Manager in Rwanda, David Magyezi, recently came to London for a few weeks on a training program that saw him visit some of the finest hotels in London. At the end of the trip he wrote a letter, which will be shared in three parts, the first part included here!
My appreciation goes to Praveen, Director of Volcanoes Safaris, who chose me to do some training in the UK. What a great chance to be training with the Connaught Hotel, one of the best in London! The knowledge I will share with all Volcanoes Safaris lodges will be invaluable.
This experience was excellent and all the staff was very friendly and helpful. I started with reception staff, then concierge and duty managers. I then visited their butler department which is a combination of bar, dining, kitchen and housekeeping. I even had one night’s accommodation at the hotel! It was a surprise to me but they wanted me to have the complete guests' experience and it was truly incredible.
Thanks to this training I developed some ideas of what we can do to improve our own lodges. I will especially concentrate on the following areas:
A special thanks goes to Geraldine, the Human Resources Manager, for having allowed me to train with her staff. The way they treated me was excellent and she even invited me to have lunch with her afterwards, where I collected my official training certificate! I really felt like I was part of their family.
David, Virunga Lodge Manager
Tracking chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as they swing from the branches in the canopy high above the forest floor is nothing short of exhilarating. The chimps effortlessly cross and scamper through the trees above the gorge, and visitors on the other hand must cross the river using natural bridges in order to keep up with the chimps. So although the walk usually lasts only 2–3 hours, descending the steep gorge and crossing the log bridges over the river requires some agility and fitness.
Chimpanzee tracking is also available in nearby Kalinzu, a forest reserve 30 minutes drive from Kyambura Gorge Lodge where there is a community of about 40 habituated chimpanzees.