After 3 years of closure, the Rwanda Uganda border post reopens on January 31, 2022. The government of Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda in 2019 at Gatuna/Katuna in Kabale and Cyanika/Kyanika in southern Uganda.
The two border crossing points serve as entry points for both travelers and cargo from Uganda to Rwanda. The land borders are adjacent to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, both of which provide superb Uganda gorilla trekking safaris. They are also close to Volcanoes National Park, Africa’s most accessible destination for gorilla trekking in Rwanda.
Hundreds of cargo trucks, as well as all travelers on Rwanda gorilla safaris from Uganda and Uganda gorilla safaris from Rwanda, were barred from accessing the two countries as a result of the border closure. The Rwandan government first claimed that the closure was due to ongoing construction work to upgrade the customs post.
Rwanda, however, stopped its citizens from accessing Uganda, stating that Uganda was interfering in their affairs. The Rwanda Uganda border closures caused financial hardship for Rwandan and Ugandan citizens doing cross-border trade.
Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda were hosted by Angolan President Joao Lourenco and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi to discuss reopening the border and solving the issue, with the last meeting was held in February 2020.
Although Rwanda insisted on keeping the border closed until the contentious issues were resolved, the Rwandan government announced on January 28th, 2022, in a statement shared by Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Adonia Ayebare, that it would reopen its land border with Uganda on January 31st, 2022.
Why Rwanda-Uganda Border Reopened?
According to a statement released by Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Adonia Ayebare, the reopening of the Rwanda-Uganda land border posts on January 28, 2022, is the result of a recent meeting between Uganda’s UPDF commander of land forces and first son, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
The stated also pointed out that Rwandan and Ugandan health officials are ready to work together to implement the necessary steps to ease and enable travel in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic. Rwanda also expressed its commitment to resolve pending issues with Uganda, believing that reopening the border would serve as a swift method to improve and enhance ties between the two East African nations.
Meanwhile, on Friday, January 28, 2022, the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat commended Rwandan and Ugandan authorities for their work toward re-opening land border crossing points on January 31.
EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki praised the decision, calling it a step forward for regional integration and emphasizing that strengthening bilateral ties between the two EAC Partner States will revitalize social, economic, and political relations.
“Reopening this vital trade route is compatible with the ideals of the EAC Common Market Protocol and is likely to boost economic and social development in the Partner States by restoring free movement of goods, people, capital, and labor,” Mathuki noted. Reopening the border, according to Mathuki, will improve regional peace and security.
Benefits Of Reopening The Rwanda-Uganda Border For Tourism
The re-opening of Rwanda-Uganda border posts is excellent news for East African collaboration, especially tourism, according to the Rwanda tour operators association.
During their Africa safaris, many visitors combine safaris in Uganda and Rwanda. These combined Rwanda Uganda safaris include flying to Kigali International Airport in Rwanda and connecting to Uganda by the Cyanika or Katuna borders, or traveling from Uganda to Rwanda via the same borders. From Rwanda, you can easily go on a gorilla safari in Uganda, chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, or Uganda wildlife safaris for the big game, as well as visit the country’s many more natural treasures.
The tour provides the quickest way to visit the Uganda gorilla trekking locations of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, as well as Queen Elizabeth National Park for wildlife game drives and boat cruise and Kibale National Park for wild Chimpanzees tracking on foot. It gives you a shorter drive time while providing you a taste of both Rwanda and Uganda. Also with the current price of the Gorilla permit in Rwanda, Uganda is now a preferred Africa safari destination for Gorilla trekking.
About The Two Uganda-Rwanda Border Crossing Points
As noted above, there are two main border crossing points between Uganda and Rwanda. These are the Cyanika/Kyanika border and Gatuna/Katuna;
- Kyanika/Cyanika Border Crossing Point
Despite being less busy than the Gatuna land border crossing post, the Cyanika border takes in more tourists and individual travelers than the Gatuna border post. This is since it links two key tourism hubs in East Africa. On the Uganda side, this border post is located in Kisoro District, and on the Rwanda side, Cyanika is located in the district of Burera. The border is about 120km from Kigali city, 11km from the nearby Kisoro town.
The Uganda Mountain Gorilla habitats of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park are located near Kisoro.
If you have booked for gorilla trekking in Uganda (Bwindi or Mgahinga) from Kigali, you will find the Cyanika border post to be the most reliable. It is closer to the Rushaga sector of Bwindi national park. It is closer to the Bwindi National Park’s gorilla trekking sector of Rushaga. Kisoro is also adjacent to Mgahinga National Park, which is famed in Uganda for three gorgeous volcanoes, Mountain Gorillas, and Golden Monkey trekking.
Also, if you are on Rwanda gorilla safaris to Volcanoes National Park, you can enter Rwanda from Uganda via the Kyanika border. Burera town in Rwanda, like Kisoro, is a tourism hub with two spectacular twin lakes, Lake Burera and Ruhondo. The town is near the Volcanoes National Park, which is well-known for gorilla trekking in Rwanda, the Musanze caves, and climbing mountains such as Karisimbi.
And even you can continue from Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) via the Goma-Grand Barriere border crossing, where you can undertake gorilla trekking in Congo or ascend the active Nyiragongo volcano in Virunga National Park.
Crossing this border is pretty simple if you have all of the necessary paperwork. If you are a tourist, you will need to obtain an East African Tourist VISA. Otherwise, you may be required to obtain a VISA for either Uganda or Rwanda.
Everything appears to be so straightforward with the East African VISA. In addition to the Visa, you may be requested for your address or the contact details of the person you are visiting in Uganda or Rwanda. When all of your paperwork and information has been validated, you will receive a stamp in your passport and be able to cross the border.
- Katuna/Gatuna Border Crossing Point
This border post, known as Gatuna in Rwanda and Katuna in Uganda, serves as the entry point for travelers and goods passing from Uganda to Rwanda and vice versa. The majority of products traveling from Uganda to Rwanda come through the Gatuna border. It sees more business and tourist activity than the Cyanika border crossing.
The border post in Uganda is located at Kabale (A district in the Southwestern part of Uganda). The border is located in the district of Gichumbi on the Rwandan side. The Katuna border checkpoint is dominated by commercial vehicles. It is Uganda’s and Rwanda’s busiest border point. This border is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Although it was created for business purposes, a citizen from Uganda Rwanda, and some other countries do not require a VISA to pass this border post. International visitors can obtain a VISA at a border station or utilize the East African Tourist Visa.
Aside from the VISA and passport, immigration will want contact information, address, and the reason for the visit. If everything checks out, your passport will be stamped and you will be able to continue your travel. The only way to cross the border is on foot. You may need to change money from one of the many money exchange agents on both sides of the border.
The reopening of the Rwanda-Uganda land border is excellent news for both nations’ tourism sectors. Apart from the shorter trip, there are several more reasons why people choose to visit Uganda via Rwanda. Uganda offers more amazing African safari activities and experiences than Rwanda. Uganda has10 national parks and more than a dozen reserves.
The gorilla habituation experience, trekking volcanoes, the Batwa cultural experience, wildlife drives, whitewater rafting, golden monkey tracking, chimp tracking, and launch cruises are some of the distinctive tourism activities in Uganda. In general, Uganda has more hotels and lodges. Please contact us if you want to visit Uganda through Kigali.