Augustin Ndikuriyo is the managing director of Augustine Tours, a Rwandan company that organises tours of East Africa. The majority of his clients come from Europe, and Germany in particular, so the company has recently opened a new office in Luneburg.
Augustin, why do you think so many of your clients come from Germany?
First of all, I have to say that Germany is a European powerhouse in terms of business. Speaking of the travel industry, Germany has seen in the last two years an increase of outbound travel of 4% beside other European countries like The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Poland and the UK which have seen their outbound travel increase, according to ITB World Travel Trends 2016/2017.
Augustine Tours-Europe, our new office won’t only serve German clients, but will operate as a door for both EU and non-EU Leisure & Business Travelers to Africa.
Are there countries outside Europe that you get a lot of business from?
With more than 30 countries already served, USA, Australia, South Africa and South Korea have massively contributed to the economic growth of the company. Clients from those countries are mostly interested into small group or private tours offering a unique holiday experience.
As a company, we believe in a personalized travel experience, hence we are totally flexible when it comes to itinerary design and tour planning. We have a wealth of local knowledge that we happily transmit to the visitors. That is something clients like about our tours.
What places in Africa are the most popular tour destinations?
Currently, we are offering Tours to East Africa mainly to Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. More African countries are to be included on our destinations list. The important thing about those countries is the fact that they share a lot in terms of wildlife, culture, history, landscapes.
They even have a common language -Swahili -which is spoken all the way from Kenya to Burundi. Another advantage about this region is that the five East African countries can be travelled all together; with a trip starting in Kenya continuing in Tanzania plus an excellent combined tour programs that can start in Uganda going through Rwanda, ending in Burundi.
Do you offer tours in different languages?
Having English, French & German as the business languages, our tours are mainly conducted in English. Some partners have in the last years requested us to offer tours with Russian and Chinese speaking guides.
Given the aim that each tour has to be unique, we can arrange for small group tours a Chinese speaking guide. This special guide can only be offered on small group travel and needs to be booked in advance.
On last minute trips, this service cannot be offered. If a client falls in English, French or German speaking group, they just have to send us an email specifying with languages they prefer to be used.
Is there anywhere that you tour that would be dangerous for solo travellers?
Thanks for asking that good question. East Africa is normally a safe travel destination for both solo, small or large groups of travellers. However, if you only consider the statement that reads “The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Burundi, if you don’t have an essential reason to stay in Burundi, you should consider leaving.”, you’d say the opposite and Burundi would be removed from your travel plans. When it comes to the question of safety, we talk to our clients and advise them from a real experience of the situation on the ground.
Your tours often encompass several countries – do your guests need to organise separate visas for them all?
For combined tours, the East African Tourist Visa allows travellers to visit Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya a single multiple entry. The visa has to be applied from the country which serves as your first entry. However, Burundi and Tanzania haven’t yet subscribed to the common visa.
For Burundi, a visa application needs to be made from the embassy in the traveller residence country, and we provide all the needed documents. If there is no Burundi embassy in that country, a special entry can be obtained which grants the visa upon arrival at the airport. Tourist visa to Tanzania can be obtained from the border or airport.
And finally, do you have a favourite tour?
There is one tour that has seen increasing requests from our website visitors, the 15 Day All Inclusive Uganda Rwanda Burundi Tour which is being offered now at €4,790.00 per person for bookings made before January 31,2019.
Falling in the category of Africa Private Tours, the tour starts in Uganda and ends in Burundi and can be booked anytime. The tour offers a lifetime gorilla trekking experience in Uganda’ Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a wildlife game drive in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park and a rich cultural rich experience with Burundi drummers.