Hot air balloons take off in Akagera Park
Wednesday March 09 2022
Last year, as countries in the region were struggling to return to thriving economic activities such as tourism, 30 white rhinos, were translocated to the Akagera National Park in Rwanda to boost its wild animals and attract more tourists.
A partnership between the Rwanda Development Board and Akagera Management Company has seen the introduction of hot air balloon services operated by the Royal Balloons Rwanda, further increasing the park’s offering.
Tourists to Akagera can now enjoy the park from a bird's eye view of a game drive to see elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalos, but also the rich and diverse flora.
Clare Akamanzi, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board, said to grow the country’s adventure tourism experiences, they will continue forging new partnerships and investments to exceed visitors’ expectations.
The balloon service will cost citizens $250, and EAC citizens and resident foreigners including diplomats $350; others will pay $450. Children aged between six and12 years will fly at half price.
The company says their rates are lower than those charged at the Serengeti in Tanzania and Masai Mara in Kenya, where it costs $600 per person.
The flights take 45 minutes to one hour depending on weather conditions, and as per tradition there is a champagne ceremony after landing and everyone receives a flight certificate signed by the pilots.
Royal Balloon Rwanda, which runs the service is part of a 30-year old tourism group, and operates hotels in Turkey and hot air balloon services in eastern and southern Africa.
The Akagera National Park was established in 1934, making it one of the oldest on the continent. It was gazetted to protect its unique bio-diversity, a mixture of savannah grasslands, mountain and marshlands.