On Saturday 1st August 2020, Rwanda Reopens Kigali International Airport to Travelers after about 4 months of lockdown to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country. Since June 17th, tourists arriving at the country on charter flights were allowed to visit the country for Rwanda gorilla tours or any other Rwanda tours as long as they follow the Ministry of Health guidelines.
Rwanda Air which is the Rwandan national carrier resumed on 1st August 2020 with a flight from Kigali International Airport to Dubai while the Kenyan and Ethiopian Airways made flights to Kigali as stated by the Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete on a phone interview with Xinhua.
The national carrier will restart services with selected African routes where travel restrictions have been eased and borders have been reopened, and with one long-haul route to Dubai. Other routes will gradually resume.
Ever since Rwanda tourism was reopened for tourists in July there were set guidelines to keep tourists safe. To ensure that all travelers are safe, each individual is required to adhere to the health guidelines issued by the Rwanda Ministry of Health. Some of the set guidelines as stated by the RwandAir CEO Yvonne Makolo include;
Note: Currently land borders of Rwanda remain closed, except for goods and cargo, as well as returning Rwandan citizens and legal residents.
For tests, a private test center has been set up at Petit Stade, Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali, by appointment only.
All visitors are required to maintain a distance of at least 10 meters at all times while visiting primates in Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park.
A very scenic and beautiful land of a thousand hills, Rwanda is one of the increasingly popular African safari destinations. Known as a small and beautiful country formed of several scenic hills, the country may not be that typical African safari destination but still home to several wild species that can be spotted on safari.
Gorilla trekking, wildlife viewing, chimpanzee trekking, birding, and cultural tours are the top safari activities in Rwanda. Here is a detail of each of the best activities to involve in when you choose to take a Rwanda safari;
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is the most popular activity undertaken by tourists. An easy to trek and close mountain Gorilla Park from the country’s national airport is Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
Rwanda gorilla safaris are the major drawcard for tours in Rwanda due to the fact that this was the base of the popular primatologist, Dian Fossey. When Dian Fossey decided to stay in Virunga and interact with the mountain gorillas, she was definitely the first human to closely relate with these species in the wild. Her book was later turned into a movie version titled Gorillas in the Mist and this drew worldwide attention on mountain gorillas.
A gorilla trekking permit in Rwanda costs US$ 1500 for each trek and 80 permits are available each day to enable 8 tourists to treks a single family of the 10 habituated gorilla families in the park. Rwanda gorilla tour permits are the most expensive but still, travelers have opted to visit the country and leaving out the cheaper permits in Uganda and Congo because it’s said to be easier to trek the gorilla in Rwanda than any other destination.
Rwanda may not be the ultimate Africa safari destination for wildlife tours but if you want a scenic tour within a beautiful setting, Akagera National Park should be on your list. The park is home to the big five wildlife African game which are the Buffaloes, Rhinos, Leopards, Lions, and Elephants.
Akagera is a much preferable East African destination since it is one of the closest wildlife parks from the country’s national Airport-Kigali international Airport. It is just about a 3 hours’ drive to the park from the Airport. You also spot other wild animals like giraffes, zebras, and hippos.
Birding Rwanda is one perfect choice for any ardent birder. The country is relevantly small in area and therefore can be birded within a short period of time. Rwanda has 703 bird species recorded within her boundaries, 510 species known to be residents, and 183 being seasonal and migrant birds.
The best spots for birding in Rwanda are Nyungwe Forest National Park, Akagera National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and several other spots outside the parks. With a much vegetated large area, Rwanda arguably offers the best montane birding experiences in Africa.
Other factors that make birding in Rwanda much referable is that the country hosts 29 Albertine Rift bird species, there’s a very good road network and as well as good security.
The best canopy walk experience in East Africa is in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park. A canopy walk can literally be explained as a walk above within the tree canopies of the ancient Nyungwe Forest on a suspension bridge rising 70 m high and covering 60 m long.
A canopy walk is one of a kind as you see the forest from above whereas sighting several bird and primate species. The walk starts from any of the three trailheads where you will walk to from the Uwinka visitor center. If you need a unique safari activity then the canopy walk is a preferable option with experiences like no other.
Rwanda was largely affected by the 1994 genocide which took the country several years to recover from. With the new government, Rwanda has decided to share her story with the world and therefore several museums in the country describe events that unfolded in the genocide period.
The Rwanda Genocide Memorial Museum has all details of the genocide. Other museums offer the chance to learn about the traditions of Rwanda. A better way of taking a cultural tour is also by visiting the communities and learning from local guides.
With Rwanda’s international airport now reopened for flights, it is a great opportunity for tourists who wanted to visit the country during the novel coronavirus. During this time, there are different discounts on gorilla permits and other activities that tourists can take advantage of.
Here are some of the recommended itineraries that tourists can choose when going on the East Africa safari.