Lonely Planet Writer

Rwanda set for nature tourism boom as direct flights launch from London to Kigali

Travellers from the UK eager to explore the beauty of Rwanda will now have an easier way to get there, as RwandAir launches three weekly non-stop flights from London Gatwick to Kigali.

The capital of Rwanda, Kigali, and its central business district.
A new flight from London to Kigali will bring more travellers to the area. Image by Sproetniek/Getty Images

The new route, which starts on 26 May, is RwandAir’s first flight to Europe and its second long-haul destination. With tourism as a top industry in the country, Rwanda has been drawing in travellers with a range of attractions, perhaps most importantly, its beautiful national parks and the animals that inhabit them. In addition, new luxury nature resorts are opening at a time when the country is returning animal species into their natural habitats.

This month, after 10 years of absence, black rhinos have been brought into Akagera National Park to help restore the animals’ population. The endangered animal saw its numbers decimated by poaching and now there are strong efforts to reintroduce species back into the park.

This new luxury nature resort is opening in Rwanda.
Nyungwe Forest Lodge Rwanda. Image by One&Only

In addition, new accommodation options are opening for travellers looking for a bit of luxury while still getting close to the wilderness. Two new nature resorts are opening in Rwanda from One&Only, a Dubai-based luxury resort company with properties around the world.

One&Only Nyungwe House is located near Nyungwe Forest National Park in Gisakura, a working tea plantation. The Nyungwe Forest is thought to be one of the oldest forests in Africa and is home to many primate species. Guests will be able to explore the national park and see the animals that live there, like chimpanzees and colobus monkeys.

A dominant male (Silverback) Mountain Gorilla (gorilla beringei beringei). The silverback is the leader of the Susa-group. One of his juvenile sons is lying on his back.
A dominant male (Silverback) Mountain Gorilla (gorilla beringei beringei). The silverback is the leader of the Susa-group. One of his juvenile sons is lying on his back. Image by ©Guenter Guni/Getty Images

The company is also opening the One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, located near the village of Kingi, in the foothills of the Virunga Volcano range near Volcanoes National Park. There, guests will be able to see the habitat of the endangered mountain gorillas – a key attraction in Rwanda. There are only hundreds of the gorillas left worldwide and half live in the Virunga Mountains. According to the company, the new accommodations will “honour the location and natural elements will be woven throughout the resort”.