Rwanda’s efforts to grow its tourism sector in as sustainable a way as possible appear to be paying off. And the country is now firmly on the world tourism map, attracting increasing numbers of tourists from short- and long-haul markets. RwandAir’s fleet is expanding and new flights and airlines are coming. These include:
• RwandAir is adding a second B737-800 to its fleet, which will provide service to Johannesburg, Dubai and Lagos. With the planned 2015 opening of the new Bugesera International Airport south of Kigali, Rwanda is becoming well positioned to be a major transportation hub for Eastern and Central Africa.
• Turkish Airlines has announced that it will launch a direct route from Istanbul to Kigali in April 2012. Kigali is its 18th destination city in Africa. A code-sharing agreement between Turkish Airlines and RwandAir will increase access even further. Turkish Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which includes Lufthansa and United Airlines.
• Qatar Airways is launching daily service using an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 12 seats in Business Class and 132 seats in Economy from Doha to Kigali via Entebbe on 21 March.
• KLM launched service to Kigali via Amsterdam less than a year ago and now offers daily service via KLM and KLM/Kenya Airways.
• Ethiopian Airlines offers weekly service from London Heathrow via Addis Ababa.
• SN Brussels Airlines flies from Gatwick and Brussels to Kigali four times a week.
Among the major attractions of Rwanda, developments in Nyungwe National Park in the southern part of the country are helping to expand Rwanda’s ecotourism and cultural tourism experiences for visitors. Highlights include:
• Nyungwe is home to about 400 chimpanzees and 13 species of other primates, including large troops of Colobus monkeys, gray-cheeked mangabeys and L’Hoest moneys.
• The Thousand Hills Trail opened in November 2011 near Nyungwe National Park.
• Nyungwe includes the Congo-Nile Divide Trail and the Source of the White Nile.
• Several other trails ready for hikers throughout the Park with names such as Imbaraga, Bigugu, Igishigishgi, Irebero, Isumo and Karamba.
• World-class birding with 310 species, including 27 Albertine Rift endemics.
• The only Canopy Walk in East Africa – suspended 60 meters above the forest floor, a spectacular way to visit the forest.
• One of richest centers of plant diversity in East Africa with over 1100 species of flora, 250 of which are Albertine Rift Endemics and over 140 species of orchids.