Africa

Why Rwanda is our Top Pick in Africa in the Age of COVID-19

In the age of Covid-19, finding somewhere safe to travel to has become a next to impossible task. Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work for you – and while Europe and Asia may be off-limits for now, Africa offers a welcome respite, having the fewest reported cases outside of Oceania. With its verdant natural parks, a low number of cases, and welcoming tourist policies, Rwanda is the ideal place for a socially-distant vacation.

In the age of Covid-19, finding somewhere safe to travel to has become a next to impossible task. Luckily for you, we’ve done the hard work for you – and while Europe and Asia may be off-limits for now, Africa offers a welcome respite, having the fewest reported cases outside of Oceania. With its verdant natural parks, a low number of cases, and welcoming tourist policies, Rwanda is the ideal place for a socially-distant vacation. 

“Car-Free Day | Kigali, 1 March 2020” by Paul Kagame is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Rwanda recorded its first confirmed case of Covid-19 on March 14, 2020 and has done a remarkable job of keeping the virus under control since then. Testing is frequent and widespread, and according to John Hopkins University, Rwanda only has 4,671 cases of Covid-19. Like many countries around the world, Rwanda shut its borders to international travelers at the onset of the outbreak. However, with a number of safety measures in place, it reopened its borders on June 17, 2020 to visitors and international flights resumed in August.  

Of course, safety is still the first thing on everyone’s mind these days, and the Rwandan government has taken a number of steps to make sure that both Rwandan citizens and visitors remain healthy and safe with the resumption of international travel. All arriving passengers are required to present a negative Covid-19 test (taken within 72 hours prior to their arrival). A second test will be administered upon arrival in Rwanda. The results of the 2nd test are ready within 24 hours, but you’ll have to stay at a designated hotel (at your own cost) while you wait for your results. 

Like everything else these days, these policies are subject to change. We recommend checking the Government of Rwanda’s Covid-19 website for the most up-to-date travel, quarantine, and testing procedures for visiting Rwanda.

However, if you clear all of these hurdles and get a clean bill of health, you can immediately start enjoying all that Rwanda has to offer. Although social distancing and mask are still a must, businesses, shops, hotels and restaurants have reopened (though bars remain closed). However if you want to stay away from the crowds, there’s no better place to go than on of Rwanda’s three national parks. 

Volcanoes National Park:

“Volcano” by johncooke is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Volcanoes National park, home to the endangered mountain gorilla, has a rich variety of ecosystems including an evergreen and bamboo forest, an open grassland, swamp, and heath. Visitors can hike, canoe, or bike their way through the park or sign up for a guided gorilla tracking tour. 

Akagera National Park:

“Zebras in Akagera National Park” by johncooke is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Akagera National park (home to eastern black rhinos, buffalo, elephants, antelope, zebras, giraffes, and over 490 species of birds) is the ideal place for visitors looking to go on a safari. If that wasn’t enough for you, Lake Ihema boasts of a large pod of hippos and nile crocodiles. Visitors can explore the park by car (either on a tour or self-guided – though a tour guide is heavily recommended) and stay at one of the park’s various lodges (including a bush camp in the north!)

Nyungwe National Park:

“Nyungwe National Park” by Rwanda Government is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Last but not least is Nyungwe National Park, one of the oldest rainforests in Africa and the source of 70% of Rwanda’s water. Like Volcanoes and Akagera National Park, there are an abundant number of animals and fauna to see here, but make sure you make time to check out the Isumo waterfall and the Canopy Walk Suspension Bridge. 

It’s important to note that tourists will need to fill out a guest registration and indemnity form prior to their visit and submit them electronically to the following email addresses: 

Volcanoes National Park – anaclet.budahera@rdb.rw

Nyungwe National Park – thierry.hitimana@rdb.rw

Akagera National Park – akagera@africanparks.org

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