Threat level: Low
Visitors to Rwanda are advised to remain cautious throughout their stay; although the current terrorist threat level is low, travellers should be aware of the heightened global threat of terrorism to western tourists. Providing the correct precautions are taken, most visitors to the country should have a trouble free trip. Rwanda suffered heavily as a country during the 1994 genocide and despite the devastating effects it had on the country, it has recovered from this tragedy and is welcoming to tourists. The tourism industry plays a major part to the Rwandan economy.
The Kigali region has experienced some increase in crime rates but the majority of the country has low levels.
Recent security events
There have been a number of grenade attacks in the country during recent years. The Kigali, Musanze and Kicukiro regions are the most at risk as this is where attacks have occurred in the past. It isn’t clear as to the origin to the attacks but some of them may have been targeted at foreign nationals, resulting in some fatalities and a large number of injuries.
Foreign nationals should exercise a degree of caution when travelling inside the country. Avoid travelling on your own if possible.
There have been incidents of petty crime in the capital city Kigali such as bag snatching, mugging and stealing from occupied vehicles in traffic jams. Foreign nationals are increasingly becoming victims as they are perceived to be a wealthy group and easy targets. Lock car doors when driving and travel in a convoy if possible, avoid travelling alone or travelling after dark.
Gorilla trekking is available as part of organised tours in the Parc National des Volcans and is one of the most popular tourist activities in the country. If you are planning to participate in a gorilla trek it is important to ensure that you on go on treks organised by park authorities. Any other groups advertising gorilla treks are violating very serious laws. Poachers operate in the park area and are often armed and dangerous, the wildlife also represents a serious threat if you are not with an official guide who can keep you safe.
The country is an active member of the United Nations, African Union and also the Commonwealth of Nations. Rwanda has a particularly strong relationship with the United States, built mainly on the United States’ interests in sustainable development of Rwanda.
The country’s relationship with France was strained due to the alleged French complicity with the genocidaires but have recently been re-established. Rwanda has bilateral relations with 8 countries including Belgium and India.
UK driving licences, most EU licences and U.S. licences will allow you to drive in Rwanda for 12 months. Anything beyond that will require a Rwandan driving licence. Most of the major roads in Rwanda are good quality but can sometimes be affected by landslides during wet seasons, you should take this into consideration during internal travel.
Motorbike taxis are the most common form of public transport, it is highly advised not to use these services as they are the most vulnerable to accidents.
Avoid road travel after dark as roads are ill-lit and the general standard of driving is poor.
Official languages: Kinyarwanda, English and French Religion: Christianity Currency: Rwandan Franc
Foreign nationals of Australia, Germany, Sweden, Israel, South Africa, the UK and the USA can purchase a tourist visa on arrival in Rwanda. All other nationals listed in the chart must obtain a visa in advance. All travellers to Rwanda require a yellow fever vaccination certificate.
It is advised that visitors to Rwanda are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is recommended for most travellers to also get a Tetanus, Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations. You should check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
There is a low risk of yellow fever in Rwanda, however, if you are coming from a country where there is an endemic, you will have to provide a certificate of vaccination. There is some risk of the disease in the country; check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Anyone visiting Rwandan territory must have health insurance and there is a limited amount of medical facilities in Rwanda. Serious injury or illness may require travel via air ambulance to Kenya or South Africa which can prove costly.
Around Kigali, there is a high risk of malaria, it is highly advised to take precautions to prevent the risk of contracting the disease. This includes protocols such as sleeping with a mosquito net, using quality insect repellent spray and taking anti-malarial medication. Seek further medical advice for more information.