Coronavirus: All you need to know before travelling to Rwanda for a safari amid Covid-19 guidelines

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In a bid to combat the diverse effects of Covid-19 on the economy and to continue promoting tourism, Rwanda has already announced reopening of her airport for foreign tourists starting with charter flights while general passenger planes will be allowed in from 1 August.

However, there are several guidelines that have been put in place to be followed by foreign tourists coming for safaris in Rwanda in order to control the spread of Covid-19. The measures include steps that foreign tourists have to go through before departing, at arrival, during and after their Rwanda safaris.

Here are the answers to the frequently asked questions about Rwanda’s Covid-19 guidelines for foreign tourists

What should I do before traveling to Rwanda

Before traveling to Rwanda, travelers need to have negative Covid-19 test results, use e-payment and while at the airport, they are encouraged to wear face masks, maintain social distance, hand sanitizing. Visitors are also required to use only authorized transportation from the airport to their designated hotel. They are also required to fill a Public Health Passenger Locator Form from the Rwanda’s Ministry of Health before arriving in Rwanda.

How long prior to arrival should the Covid-19 test be taken?

All visitors arriving at Kigali International Airport including transit passengers are required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test result from a certified laboratory and this test should be taken 72 hours before departure from their home countries.

Do I need to take a second test on arrival in Rwanda, if yes, how much does it cost and how long will I have to wait for the results?

Visitors will take a second PCR test once they arrive at their designated hotels. This test costs $50 plus $10 medical service fee. Visitors who come for tourism purposes will wait for 8 hours for the results while the rest of the visitors will wait for 24 hours. Visitors will be in isolation while waiting for the results at their designated hotels.

Which Covid-19 test is required by health authorities in Rwanda?

The Covid-19 test required by the Ministry of Health in Rwanda in order to visit the country is known as a Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (TR-PCR) Covid-19 test.

How will I reach my designated hotel in Rwanda?

Visitors will be taken to their pre-booked designated hotel by authorized transport upon arrival in Rwanda. For tourists, the tour operators for their safari will be in charge of their transportation. The rest of the visitors will either be transported by their designated hotels or by authorized taxis.

Is it possible to book a hotel of my choice for the 24-hour waiting time?

Visitors can choose to book from one of the 17 designated hotels to stay as they wait for their Covid-19 test results. The listed hotel rate is on full board basis, excluding alcohol while additional orders are paid for by the guest.

What should I expect at the designated hotel?

Guests will be tested for Covid-19 upon arrival at the designated hotel. After the test, they will wait for the results which will be sent directly to the guest via SMS or email by the Rwanda Biometrical Center. If the test result is result is negative, the guest will be invited to check out. If the guest tests positive for Covid-19, they will be taken to a medical facility for specialized care or evacuated in line with medical evacuation protocols.

Are there any contacts to refer to for Covid-19 related health issues?

For any Covid-19 related health issues, you can contact Rwanda Biometrical Center via he toll-free number 114 or the medical team on duty at Kigali International Airport on +250 781 415 724, available 24/7. Those with medical, logistical, and administrative issues at designated hotels can contact the site manager at the hotel.

Is there need to take another Covid-19 test before I depart from Rwanda after spending less than 72 hours in the country?

The Rwanda Biometrical Center staff will conduct an assessment and authorize departure accordingly for those spending less than 72 hours in Rwanda.

In case of a long itinerary which may include visiting 3 national parks and other places with some visits falling after 48 hours of test results, will I have to test again before visiting a national park?

Tourists will not have to test again before visiting a national park, however, tourists with primate related activities are advised to schedule them at the beginning of their itinerary. Visitors will take a final Covid-19 test before departing Rwanda.

If I test positive for Covid-19 in Rwanda, who covers my treatment costs and can I be evacuated to my country?

After testing positive for Covid-19 in Rwanda, visitors can either be evacuated in line with medical evacuation protocols or seek treatment at a designated treatment center in Rwanda at their own cost.

Can I be visited by friends while waiting for my Covid-19 test results at a designated hotel?

Guests waiting for their results will not be allowed to receive visitors since they will be in isolation at their designated hotels. While they are free to use electronic devices at the hotel, they must respect the privacy of other guests at all times.

Is it okay to book one hotel room in Rwanda for the 24-hour waiting period if we are coming as a family?

Yes. A family travelling together can book can book one hotel room suitable to accommodate them.

In case my Covid-19 test results are delayed, who pays for the additional waiting time and what happens to my tour booking?

The site manager at a designated hotel will advise on the results within the allotted time. The Rwanda Development Board reservations team can facilitate the rescheduling of booked permits in case of any Covid-19 related issues in line with the revised booking policy