Is Rwanda Safe Today? (10 Top Travel Trips for Travelers)

Is Rwanda a safe country? Here are 10 pieces of safe travel advice for Rwanda, whether you’re visiting the gorillas or experiencing the local culture.

Is it safe to travel to Rwanda

Is it safe to travel to Rwanda?

The 10 Safe Travel Advice for Rwanda

Travel insurance

Anyone visiting Rwanda is required by law to have health insurance. You have 30 days to get it if you enter the country without it. Rwanda’s medical facilities and services are inadequate, thus any visitor to Rwanda should purchase a travel insurance policy that includes comprehensive medical coverage, as well as air medical evacuation.

Medical fees could be costly if you become ill or injured while traveling. Make sure you have travel insurance that includes emergency assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Crime in Rwanda

Rwanda is one of Africa’s safest locations, especially for solitary tourists. Locals are cordial, friendly, and hospitable, and crime is quite low, with visitors occasionally witnessing a petty crimes. Pickpockets can be found in crowded settings like markets, and rental automobiles can be broken into for valuables. Travelers are rarely victims of violent crimes.

Out of respect for the local customs, women travelers are urged to dress modestly.

Plastic bags

While going across Rwanda, you will notice how clean the country is; in 2008, the government outlawed all non-biodegradable polyethylene plastic bags. Large signs warn tourists that luggage searches may be done at the airport; individuals found with these bags may be fined 50,000 Rwandan Francs (US$61) or perhaps imprisoned, depending on the severity of the offense. Get rid of the plastic bags and be a responsible tourist.

Getting around safely

Between major cities, towns, and bordering countries, Rwanda has a well-established and reliable bus network. Scammers and touts lurk around transportation hubs, waiting for unsuspecting visitors. Make sure you buy your tickets from the bus company counters. Minibusses are a common mode of public transportation in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, and other important cities. They are less expensive, but the bus will not leave unless it is completely filled, and there is no set schedule. Furthermore, they can be overcrowded, making long travels uncomfortable, and frequently resulting in road vehicle collisions.

Licensed taxis are clearly identifiable by their white hue, orange stripe, and roof sign and may be seen at Kigali International Airport and around the capital. They are the safest means of private transportation, but they are not as cheap as public transportation. You must either pick one up at a designated rank or have your hotel/restaurant call for one. If the taxi does not have a meter, haggle the fare before getting in.

You can rent a car to go across Rwanda, although night driving is not recommended due to poor road conditions and unlit roads in rural areas. During the wet seasons of autumn and late spring, landslides and flooding can pose a threat to driving.

Border safety

Rwanda – Uganda

The Rwandan government has now opened its border with Uganda and advised its residents not to visit there for the past two years, escalating a political disagreement between the two countries. Before attempting to cross, travelers should verify with government officials.

Rwanda – Burundi

Due to crime and the ongoing fighting between the government and rebel groups, government travel advisories advise passengers to evaluate their need to travel within 6 miles (10 kilometers) of the border. Nyungwe Forest National Park and Volcanoes National Park are also part of this area.

The two nations’ relations are fragile, with Burundi prohibiting Rwandans from using public transportation and Rwanda imposing trade restrictions on food imported from Burundi. At any time, border crossings may close. Because to the significant security risk, Burundi is classified a no-go zone. Violent crime, conflict, and terrorism are all prevalent in the country.

Rwanda – The Democratic Republic of the Congo

According to government travel recommendations, border crossings between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo can close at any time, therefore tourists are urged not to rely on them. Local battles between government forces and militia groups in North and South Kivu provinces have also raised security concerns near the border. There have been kidnappings, robberies, and sexual assaults.

Anyone arriving in Rwanda from an Ebola-affected province in the Democratic Republic of Congo is subject to quarantine, according to the Rwandan Ministry of Health.

Local laws

  • In Rwanda, drug possession, use, and trafficking are all illegal, with offenders facing steep penalties and possible prison time.
  • It is forbidden to photograph military personnel, government buildings, or border crossing locations.
  • Drunk driving is unlawful and carries a fine as well as a jail sentence. It is also unlawful to use a cell phone while driving.
  • Talking about the Rwandan genocide in an inappropriate or contentious manner can result in financial penalties and jail.

Gorilla trek safety

Mountain gorillas are one of Rwanda’s most popular tourist attractions, and the government has made steps to safeguard these animals while still ensuring sustainable and safe tourism. For safety considerations, such as bandits, civil turmoil, potential injury, and the safety of the gorillas themselves, visitors must organize a guided excursion to observe the gorillas. Controlled tourism prevents any potential health risk to the gorillas as they are susceptible to diseases plus reduces the risk of human-gorilla interactions where people may be injured or killed.

LGBTQ+ safety

Although homosexuality is not illegal in Rwanda, it is not universally accepted and remains taboo. Although the country remains conservative, with local LGBTQ+ persons facing discrimination, other African countries are perceived to be more homophobic. Although there are a few gay-friendly establishments in Kigali, it is best for LGBTQ+ travelers to be covert at all times for safety reasons.

Malaria

Malaria is widespread in Rwanda, and the government has taken great steps to try to eradicate it through community-based initiatives such as mosquito nets, home spraying, and prompt medical assessment and treatment. Check out our Rwanda travel health post to learn more about how to protect yourself and keep well while traveling.

Rwandan genocide

Hundreds of thousands of Tutsi, moderate Hutus, and Twa people were killed as a result of the Rwandan government’s instigation of genocide during the civil war in 1994. More than two million Rwandans were forced to flee their homes, with many people going missing and families being torn apart. Since the genocide, there has been a lot of work done to get past this horrific and tragic tragedy and create a more positive and safe future for all Rwandans, thanks to changes in governance.

The laws surrounding genocide are carefully enforced, and encouraging racist or divisive behavior is unlawful and punishable by fines and imprisonment. Travelers are encouraged to keep any discussion of the genocide respectful and to avoid it altogether. Many people in the area were affected by the tragedy and are still traumatized. It’s also a bad idea to refer to residents by their ethnicity. Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial to learn more.

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