Since the Pandemic hit the world, Tourism has been on standstill for the past months, suspension of tourism activities, and lockdowns issued by governments to control the spread of the Virus. Rwanda experienced the same, though a few countries have opened up, Rwandan government restarted tourism on 17th of June 2020 for both domestic and international tourists, parks were opened up, Kigali international Airport is only open for Charter flights and SOPs in place for visitors, service providers, and management at tourism destinations to follow. They have also opened gorilla tourism in Rwanda’s Volcanoes national Park.
Rwanda is one of the African countries in East Africa and a home for the endangered species which are often referred to as “the gentle giants of the forest”, gorilla tourism is the leading adventure in Rwanda that has attracted many visitors, Gorilla trekking is a lifetime experience of seeing the endangered and rare mountain gorillas in their natural environment.
Rwanda government has put guidelines or SOPs in place to provide a framework for various types of tourism activities, operators, and attractions including national parks, boat riding, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, birding, museums, culture, and heritage sites. The government will update the guidelines as the COVID-19 situation evolves, and in conformity with measures from the Rwanda Ministry of Health.
How many visitors are allowed to see each gorilla family in Rwanda per day?
As a safety measure for both the gorillas and travelers, Rwanda reduced its numbers of visitors for each gorilla group in Volcanoes National Park from 8 visitors to a group of 6 (six) tourists accepted for a maximum of 1 (one) hour for per day per gorilla family to control congestion and ensure social distancing. All visitors will have to follow the Parks SOPs and guidelines as issued by the ministry of health in Rwanda.
What gorilla Permit discounts are available in the new normal in Rwanda?
Rwanda Development board published discounts for travel activities in the new normal, the following promotional gorilla trekking prices are inclusive of COVID-19 test cost and will be valid until 31st December 2020 and purchase is subject to availability, Gorilla trekking Permit in Volcanoes National Park for Nationals and East African Citizens nationals living in Rwanda now costs USD300, Foreign residents cost USD500 and for International tourists remains USD1, 500.
Corporates/Organizations get 10% discount on bulk purchases for example 30 permits, Families also get 15% discount for family visits (couples and children over 15 years old). Tour/Hotel Operator Rates also get 15% discount for each permit purchased that includes 1 night in accommodation and tourism activity. Book your gorilla safari now to enjoy some discounts.
About gorilla trekking in Rwanda
The mountain gorillas are the famous attraction in volcanoes national park with gorilla trekking happening every day throughout the year. Gorilla trekking is an activity that involves visiting the habituated endangered mountain gorillas in their natural environment, as you view the way they feed, move, rest, and live in harmony. Volcanoes National Park has 10 habituated gorilla families for trekking every day, only 6 visitors per gorilla family may trek every day because of COVID 19. The chances of seeing the mountain gorillas are 99% as you are guided by trackers, guides, and park rangers. Gorilla trekking starts every day in Kinigi at 7:00 am with a briefing on guidelines to follow while on the trek, even though the gorillas have 99% DNA as the humans, they remain wild and they advise you to follow the dos and don’ts from the guides. The gorilla trek can take 30 minutes to more hours, depending on the movement and location of the gorillas in the forest.
What are the Guidelines for gorilla trekking in the New Normal in Rwanda?
Guidelines have been compiled through reference materials including from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), Global Association for Attractions Industry, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Rwanda Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines on COVID-19 prevention. The guidelines provide a framework for reopening the tourism industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We highly recommend that you follow the guidelines for your safety and safety of others for travel to recover. See guidelines;
- Masks: Always use your mask will on your safari and ensure the correct use of masks for guests and staff at all times.
- Hygiene and sanitation: We shall provide means to wash/sanitize hands frequently throughout the safari in the Vehicle, and the vehicle will be sanitized on frequently touched areas.
- Physical distancing: Our guides will ensure they keep a distance while on safari with you, also ensure physical distancing while at the Lodge/hotel of at least 1–2 meters.
- Hotels and other tourism destinations will ensure temperature screening of all incoming guests and alert health authorities on toll-free number 114 in case of any anomaly.
- Cashless modes of transactions are highly recommended. These include mobile money, debit/credit cards, and bank transfers.
- We shall Clean and disinfect tourist cars and boats before and after use. Keep 50% occupancy for effective physical distancing.
- Visitors traveling by charter flights (individuals and groups) will be welcomed to the country for now until further 1st August when commercial flights begin.
- Rwanda expects all visitors to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival at Kigali international Airport.
- Tourists will take a second Covid-19 test prior to visit the volcanoes national Park for gorilla trek. 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 they will take the second test upon arrival at Kigali International Airport. It requires them to submit the results of the first test to the following address (email@example.com) before departure and also upon arrival at Kigali International Airport. Government will expect them to wait 8 hours for results of the second test at designated hotels in Rwanda. This applies to direct flights only.
- Tourists who cannot test in their country of origin have the option to test twice in Rwanda: they will take The first test upon arrival at Kigali International Airport while they will take the second test 48 hours after. The government only expects tourists to visit tourist sites after two consecutive negative tests and will wait for their results at designated hotels.
- Rwanda government may provide an optional test on request at departure.
- The cost of the COVID-19 test will be included in tour packages and gorilla permits.
- Flight crew members and visitors must follow guidelines set by the ministry of health and other guidelines set by specific tourist attractions, sites, and national parks.
- For any emergency question and/or feedback related to COVID -19, please call toll-free number 114 while in Rwanda.
Where to stay while trekking gorilla in Rwanda in the new normal?
While on your visit to volcanoes national park, staying in a good, clean, comfortable, and beautiful lodge/camp is ideal for an incredible safari. There are many lodges and hotels in volcanoes national park ranging from budget to luxury, namely; Bisate lodge and Virunga lodge are luxury options, Sabinyo silverback lodge, five volcanoes lodge, Le bamboo Mountain gorilla lodge are Midrange options to consider, Kinigi guesthouse, Hotel Muhavura and gorilla volcanoes lodge are some of the budget hotels. The hotel rooms can sell out quickly especially during the prime season, your accommodation choice needs to be booked in advance for your visit to volcanoes national park.
Why book with Encounter Africa safaris to trek gorilla in Rwanda in the New Normal?
Encounter Africa safaris offer amazing experiences to volcanoes, national Park, and Rwanda as a destination for the past years. Contact us for our discounted packages and also tailor-made gorilla trips, birding, cultural experiences, and trek Golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park. Our magic in organizing authentic experience stems from the fact that we have overtime assembled a team mixed with young and energetic staff guided by a well-experienced Team and passionate about what they do. Encounter Africa Safaris is highly rated and reviewed on trip Advisor and safari bookings.