Gatwick gains Rwanda route

Direct flights to Rwanda become available for the first time from the UK this week with the launch of RwandAir services from Gatwick to the capital Kigali.

Services will operate three times a week aboard a new Airbus A330-200 with business, premium economy and economy seats. RwandAir’s business-class cabin includes fully-flat beds.

Services depart Gatwick on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, with a flight time of eight hours 40 minutes. Economy return fares are available from £372.

UK travellers are already among the top-five nationalities to visit Rwanda, which welcomed 1.3 million visitors last year. They mainly head for the three national parks for safaris to see ‘big game’ animals such as elephants, buffalo, lions and leopards, and visits to areas with mountain gorillas.

Resort operator One&Only will open a lodge in Nyungwe this year and operator Wilderness Safaris is due to open the Bisate Lodge near the Volcanoes National Park.

Operators Red Savannah, Expert Africa and Wild Frontiers also offer tailor-made trips in Rwanda, which has recently opened the Kigali Convention Centre.

Rwanda Development Board chief tourism officer Belise Kariza said: “Rwanda has seen a transformation in recent years and is becoming one of the most sought-after destinations for premium travellers.”

Gatwick chief commercial officer Guy Stephenson said: “Rwanda is the latest long-haul destination Gatwick serves and we now boast more than 50 long-haul routes.”