The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted everyone all around the world, and we’re all learning what we can safely do as the pandemic continues to evolve. 2020 was a difficult year for many, followed by a long 2021 as the virus continued to mutate, and now that we’re in 2022 most people are evaluating what they can safely continue to do or begin doing. 2022 is deemed the year for travel with many people having postponed vacations, honeymoons, and travel for what seems like far too long.
I do have good news for you. Rwanda re-opened to visitors in early 2021 and has had solid success preventing the spread of Covid-19 throughout the pandemic. A large percentage of the population is vaccinated, and every town has rapid and PCR testing facilities readily available.
So what’s it like to travel to Rwanda now?
Plan to stay 1 night in a “quarantine hotel” which gets booked before your departure to Rwanda. You will take a PCR test when you arrive at Kigali (KGL) airport and then your driver will meet you at the airport and drive you to your hotel. The tests costs $60USD and is payable on arrival. They accept cash or credit card, but I recommend carrying cash in case their credit card terminals are not working. The test results typically take 10 hours to be processed, and results will be available to both you and the hotel. Once you’re at the hotel it’s expected that you’ll remain in your room until the results are available, but you will receive room service meals and beverages. As soon as you have your negative result, you are free to start your adventure!
How will I remain healthy while in Rwanda?
Everyone in Rwanda is expected to wear masks other than when eating. Even if you are outside you are expected to wear a mask. The government has done a first rate job keeping local transmission to a minimum by mandating mask wearing since the early days of the pandemic. You will also see hand washing stations in front of most buildings where it is expected that you will wash your hands before entering. Using hand sanitizer in addition to the hand washing stations is common practice. Many buildings also have staff who check your temperature (non-contact) before you can enter.
Will I still be able to see all the sights, shop, and experience everything like normal?
All National Parks, museums, cultural centers, shops, and businesses remain open. As for visiting the national parks, the testing protocol varies depending on the national park. For example, you will need a PCR test within 24 hours of visiting the gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. We will take you to the testing facility (which never have a wait longer than 15 minutes) and arrange for your results to be ready prior to park entrance.
Is it safe to travel during the pandemic?
The thought of traveling during the pandemic may seem daunting, but Rwanda has excellent and speedy testing facilities and the government has well observed mandates in place to keep locals and visitors healthy. Flying internationally requires proof of a negative PCR test which adds reassurance that your fellow passengers have also tested negative prior to flying. Wearing a mask, respecting personal space, frequent hand washing, and using hand sanitizers all contribute to preventing the spread of Covid-19 – as well as common colds and germs.
Here are some handy reference links as requirements will likely continue to be updated:
Entry/Exit Requirements: https://rbc.gov.rw/index.php?id=762
Rwanda Reopens: https://www.visitrwanda.com/rwanda-reopens/