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View From Above

One of the most exciting ways to see Rwanda is from the air. A helicopter ride above the stunning rolling green hills and pristine water bodies is breathtaking. Some landscapes simply demand a view from above.

The sound of whirring blades, the feeling of liftoff and the striking view of the ground falling away from you can only be experienced aboard a helicopter. Rwanda’s territory hides great discoveries. Through it, the watershed between the Congo and the Nile drainage basins runs from north to south. Nyabarongo is the country’s longest river. From the air, it looks like a snake gliding from south-west to the north-east before merging with Ruvubu to form Akagera river.

Rwanda has many lakes, the largest being Lake Kivu which occupies the floor of the Albertine Rift along the western boarder. Other noticeable lakes (from the sky) include Burera, Ruhondo, Muhazi, Rweru and Ihema. Off course, the land of 1,000 hills is known for its stack of highlands elevating thousands of feet above sea level. Mountains dominate central and western Rwanda with Karisimbi standing taller than the rest. The east is predominantly Savannah.

Aerial scenic tours are spectacular. At night, Kigali looks like a patch of diamonds sprinkled on a dark surface. Sightseeing helicopters are very small and the experience can be nerve-wrecking for beginners but that’s the beauty of it. Low attitude flying over Akagera National Park is a great opportunity to see animals and enjoy the magnificent view of Lake Ihema.

Flying in a helicopter enables you to see what the pilot sees and does not require a window seat to see the sky around you and the land beneath you. These little flying machines do not require a runway while taking off and landing. They simply ascend and descend. They can land almost anywhere. From the vantage point, you can see Rwanda at a glance and gain a wide insight of the country’s geographical features. The experience is highly rewarding to both leisure and business flyers.

Exploring Rwanda from the sky is a privilege only a few used to enjoy but affordable packages are currently being offered by Akagera Aviation, the sole operator in the helicopter tours category. You don’t have to shell out a fortune for this experience. Some occasions like weddings happen once in a life time (in most cases) and command a special treat. You can spare some money from your wedding budget and fly with your better half to your honeymoon sanctuary somewhere in Karongi. Prepare to be awestruck by the scenery and clear visibility the Rwandan sky guarantees throughout the year.

Bloomberg and CNN have ranked Rwanda among the world’s top 17 destinations in 2017. The San Francisco Chronicle placed the land of 1,000 hills and a million smiles in the top 10 while Conde Nast Traveler named Rwanda the 14th most attractive travel destination in the world and 2nd in Africa. Not bad for a country that was reduced to ashes less than 23 years ago. In 2015, Rwanda was ranked among the top 3 world’s greenest places by the World Travel Guide, an international travel handbook for adventurous travellers.

Helicopter tours range from spins above Kigali, Nyabarongo and Bugesera to longer rides across the volcanoes, twin lakes, Lake Kivu as well as Nyungwe and Akagera national parks. This selection of thoughtfully designed excursions has been packaged to ensure unforgettable experiences for customers. A helicopter is also an ideal solution for those who need to reach their destinations faster and save time.

Helicopters fly lower than planes and hover over points of interest. Akagera Aviation rates are fairly reasonable, considering their bucket-list nature and the bragging rights that come with them.

Some attractions require an aerial view for a comprehensive observation.Take the Nyungwe National Park for instance, which stretches close to 1,000 square kilometers. The forest is too big to survey thoroughly from a ground level. Rather than trekking in the jungle, a visitor can enjoy a bird’s-eye view. You will have no idea how astonishing the forest is until you fly over it. Seeing how thick vegetation winds through the landscape, nourishing the surface and falling over deep valleys will take your breath away.

Mark Twain wrote, “The air up their is pure, fine and bracing.” We are a brood of species created without wings but given the brains to pull off great inventions.

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