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Uganda Rwanda land borders of Kyanika and Katuna reopened

Virunga Ranges seen from Ruhija Bwindi
Virunga Ranges seen from Ruhija Bwindi

In a communication issued by the Rwanda Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 28 January 2022, it appears the Rwanda-Uganda land border of Gatuna (known as Katuna in Uganda) is set to re-open on 31 January 2022. If the Gatuna border is re-opened, the rest of the land borders (Kyanika & Kagitumba) would eventually be re-opened. 

In the official border re-opening the announcement, the regulations around Covid-19 have not been communicated. It seems the restrictions around Covid-19 will be shared soon. In terms of the current Covid-19 requirements for Uganda, the Uganda government has launched mandatory Covid-19 testing for all arriving passengers irrespective of the vaccination status. The testing started on 27 October 2021. The cost for the test is USD30. It’s advisable to pre-register for the test here and pay for the test here

In addition, regardless of vaccination status, all visitors to Uganda are expected to carry a negative PCR test taken within 72hrs before boarding the flight to Uganda. Then, on exiting Uganda, another negative test was taken within 72hrs is required before departure. The exit PCR can be taken in Entebbe. Depending on the itinerary, Kampala, Mbarara city, or at Bwindi National Park (Buhoma gate). The PCR test results are typically available in about 12-48hrs at the cost of USD ~65.

The prospect of re-opening the land borders between Uganda and Rwanda is excellent news for tour operators, including Bamboo Ecotours. Before the closure of the land borders, gorilla treks to Bwindi National Park in Uganda, originating from Kigali, Rwanda, were quite popular due to two significant reasons. 

The first one is Kigali International Airport’s proximity to Bwindi National Park. It takes about 4hrs to drive from Kigali to Bwindi National Park compared to 8-9hrs from Entebbe International Airport to Bwindi. Secondly, gorilla treks to Uganda via Rwanda provide an opportunity to visit two countries on one trip.

For instance, consider a 3-Day Gorilla Trekking Safari in Uganda organized by Bamboo Ecotours. On day one of the trip, clients are picked up from Kigali, Rwanda, to visit Kigali Genocide Memorial and do a complimentary Kigali City Tour. The clients then cross into Uganda via the Kyanika or Katuna border on the same day. On day two of the trek, guests trek mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park. On day three, tourists can track golden monkeys in the nearby Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and later drive back to Kigali International Airport to travel to the next destination. 

We will keep updating this page as more information on the Rwanda-Uganda land border crossing is available.

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