Rwanda announced the reopening of tourism activities following the government’s move to ease on the lockdown restrictions set up to control the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
In addition to reopening tourism activities, the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), a government agency that promotes tourism in Rwanda also announced the resumption of international travel for charter flights.
“Rwanda Development Board (RDB) is pleased to announce the reopening of tourism activities as well as the resumption of international travel for charter flights, effective 17 June 2020.” Read a statement from RDB.
Furthermore, the Board announced more good news especially to Rwandans and east African citizens living in Rwanda as well foreign residents who are interested in visiting the endangered mountain gorillas. Travelers from these two categories were offered a huge discount for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, a home for Rwanda’s mountain gorillas. RDB announced that both Rwandans and east African citizens living in Rwanda will be required to pay only $200 for a gorilla permit while foreign residents will only pay $500 for the same instead of the usual $1,500. This offer applies until December 31 2020 according to RDB.
“Together with the private sector, RDB is offering attractive all-inclusive tourism packages for Rwandans and foreign residents. These packages have been designed to showcase Rwanda’s remarkable leisure and recreational experiences, from adventures in the mountains, to memorable excursions in serene landscapes, and a taste of our lively cities.” Wrote RDB.
The Board also provided several guidelines that will be followed by both domestic and international tourists during their visits in the country’s national parks.
Here is the list of guidelines released by RDB for all tourist activities in Rwanda to protect both people and animals from the spread of Covid-19.
Specific guidelines for international visitors
- Visitors travelling by charter flights (individual and groups) will be welcomed to the country.
- Visitors are expected to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival.
- Tourists will take a second Covid-19 test prior to visiting any tourist attraction. The following options are available:
- Tourists can take the first Covid-19 RT-PCR (Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction) test in the country of origin at an ISO certified laboratory, 72 hours before departure and the second test will be taken upon arrival at Kigali International Airport. They are required to submit the results of the first test to the following address (firstname.lastname@example.org) before departure and also upon arrival at Kigali International Airport. They will be expected to wait 8 hours for results of the second test at designated hotels in Rwanda. This is applicable to direct flights only.
- Tourists who are not able to test in their country of origin have the option to be tested twice in Rwanda: The first test will be taken upon arrival at Kigali International Airport while the second test will be taken 48 hours after arrival. Tourists will only be expected to visit tourist sites after two consecutive negative tests and will wait for their results at designated hotels.
- Departing visitors will also be offered a COVID-19 test at the airport.
- The cost of the COVID-19 test will be included in tour packages.
- While in the country, visitors and flight crew members are expected to abide by guidelines of the Health Ministry and specific guidelines for tourists’ attractions including National Parks.
- For any emergency, question and/or feedback related to COVID -19, please call toll-free number 114.
Specific guidelines for domestic tourists
- Domestic tourists visiting Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Parks are required to test negative 48 hours prior to visiting these attractions. The results should be presented at the Parks’ reception.
- A private test center has been set up at Petit Stade, Amahoro National Stadium. Testing will be done by appointment.
- The cost of Covid-19 test for the domestic market (Rwandans and Foreign Residents) will be included in the parks’ permit prices.
- Rwandans and Foreign Residents are encouraged to take advantage of discounted and diversified tourism packages including visiting various tourist attractions and staying in hotels at various tourism destinations in the country.
In addition to general guidelines, the following recommendations apply to the national parks:
For Akagera National Park, vehicle tyres and tourist footwear must go through a disinfection bath at entrance. Tourists should carry hand sanitizers in their vehicles whilst visiting the park.
Other activities in Akagera National Park will also ensure physical distancing:
- Boat trips: will accommodate a maximum of 6 (six) people and the guide
- Night drives: only 1 (one) group will be permitted, with a maximum of 6 (six) people.
- Day guided game drives: maximum of 6 (six) people per vehicle allowed.
- Tourists are required to maintain a distance of at least 10 meters at all times while visiting primates in Nyungwe and Volcanoes National Park.
- For gorilla visits, a group of 6 (six) tourists will be permitted for a maximum of 1 (one) hour for every visitation. For golden monkeys, a group of 12 (twelve) tourists will be permitted for a maximum of 1 (one) hour for every visitation. For chimpanzees, a group of 8 (eight) tourists will be permitted for a maximum of 1 (one) hour for every visitation.