As part of Rwanda’s effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the government recently updated its travel protocols.
Rwanda travel specialist Adventure Consults offers 10 Frequently Asked Questions & Answers about traveling to the East African nation during the pandemic.
- What are the key requirements before flying to Rwanda?
All international travelers arriving in Rwanda must present a negative COVID-19 certificate. The only accepted test is a SARS-CoV 2 Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) performed within 72 hours prior to departure. Other tests, such as Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RDTs), are not accepted.
- Do travelers need another test upon arrival in Rwanda?
All arriving passengers (including children above five years of age) — irrespective of vaccination status or country of origin — are required to undertake a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test on arrival at a Rwanda airport or any other point of entry.
All travelers arriving in Rwanda must complete the Passenger Locator Form and upload the COVID-19 test certificate and vaccine certificate (if applicable) before heading to the airport in their country of origin. You can access the locator form at this link.
- What are the COVID 19 PCR test requirements for children?
Children below five (5) years of age are exempt from the pre-departure requirement if they are accompanied by parents holding a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate. They are also exempt from the arrival test.
- What’s the cost of testing on arrival and what’s the recommended mode of payment?
Passengers can also opt for cash payment on arrival, but change will be given in local currency (RWF). Overall, it’s better to pay in advance.
- What is the procedure upon arrival at Kigali Airport or any entry point?
On arrival, all passengers are required to go through the recommended Port Health procedure of identifying body temperature and symptoms.
After entering the airport terminal (before customs), look for the Adventure Consults VIP airport meet-and-greet staff with a sign reading “ADVENTURE CONSULTS and YOUR SURNAME.” They will show you to the laboratory specialists to take a COVID-19 swab for testing.
- What’s the next step after collecting samples?
After health officials have taken their swab, Adventure Consults staff will help you through immigration procedures and baggage claim. You will then meet your field guide and transfer to a hotel or proceed with your trip (if fully vaccinated and depending on nature of itinerary).
- What’s the procedure for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers?
Fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to proceed to the hotel of their choice within Rwanda and wait for results. They must present a valid vaccination certificate showing their full vaccination status to be eligible.
Those who are not fully vaccinated will transfer to one of the designated hotels within Kigali (booked with Adventure Consults in advance) and wait for results. Unvaccinated travelers are required to quarantine at specific hotels for at least 24 hours before proceeding with their safari. Please check with Adventure Consults for more info (email@example.com).
- How long does it take to get results and how are results revealed to travelers?
Test results can be checked on the RBC website COVID-19 results portal by using the phone number you entered while filling out the Passenger Locator Form and a unique code received after submitting the locator form prior to departures. Travelers can also receive the results by SMS and/or email. The turnaround time for results is 24 hours from the time a sample was collected.
If the results do not appear and it’s been more than 24 hours, Adventure Consults will be available to assist with quick follow up. Please call the numbers provided or contact central reservations office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- What happens to travelers who test positive?
If a traveler tests positive for COVID-19 (even if asymptomatic), they will be treated as indicated by Rwanda’s National Covid-19 Management Guidelines until they have fully recovered, at their own cost. Adventure Consults encourages all travelers to Rwanda to have international travel insurance.
- What are the requirements for departing passengers?
All travelers departing from Rwanda must test negative for COVID-19. The only accepted test is a SARSCoV 2 Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) performed within 72 hours before departure performed by the Rwanda Biomedical Center, National Reference Laboratory, or provincial or district hospitals.
Other tests, such as Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RDTs), are not accepted.
Outbound COVID-19 test is not mandatory for accompanied children under five years of age. All travelers are encouraged to book and pay for their tests at least two days prior to departure through the online platform available at www.rbc.gov.rw.
Travelers are advised to check with their airline about the COVID-19 requirements at their final destination and/or transit countries.
Passengers are not allowed to check in at the airport without a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. If the results are not available within 48 hours as mentioned above, please contact the Lab Help Desk at (+250) 787243836 or (+250) 787793446 or (+250) 784026239.
Please note that this information covers Rwanda’s COVID-19 protocols as they were at the time of compilation. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) keep changing and sometimes on very short notice. Adventure Consults recommends that travelers keep checking with their sales team for the latest information to ensure that everyone meets required travel procedures.