Is Rwanda Safe? 10 Travel Tips for Visitors

Is Rwanda safe ?  Yes, Rwanda is the safest country in Africa and the 9th safest country in the world. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists come  to Rwanda safaris , mostly for gorilla trekking experinces with no problem at all. Your Rwanda gorilla trek  will definitely be trouble free with just a reputable tour operator

Rising from the tragic past of the 1993 Rwandan genocide, Rwanda still feels some of the effects of genocide, with many people still associating Rwanda with its dangerous past. The current government should be credited for leading once a failed and hopeless nation into one of the safest places to visit in the world

1. The level of Crimes in Rwanda

Rwanda is one of the safest destinations in the world for solo travelers and women. There is very low crime rates here, with visitors sometimes experiencing petty crime, and locals are welcoming, friendly and hospitable. Pickpockets are active in crowded places, such as markets, and hire cars may be broken into for valuables. Violent crimes against travelers are extremely rare.
Women travelers are advised to dress modestly out of respect for the local culture.

Is Rwanda Safe

2. Road Safety in Rwanda

Driving is very possible but  traffic can often  be chaotic On the first and third Sunday of each month, Kigali is car free from 7:00 a.m. to noon.
Pedestrian infrastructure is quite developed but or nonexistent in some areas of the city. Pedestrians should exercise extreme caution.

Transportation options include motorcycle taxis (motos), buses, minibuses (matatus), taxis and bicycle taxis. There are many motorcycle taxis on city roads. Drivers typically speed and ignore traffic rules.

There are several car rental agencies located in the city. Check that
vehicle has working safety features including seatbelts, brakes, headlights,
taillights, brake lights, turn signals, windshield wipers, horn, door locks and adequate tires prior to signing agreement.

3. Getting arround in Rwanda

Rwanda public transport is quite safe compared to most African countries. Roads in general are in good conditions even when they tend to be small most of the times, and most public buses have a toll free line to call the authorities should you have a problem while on your way to any destination in Rwanda. You will be surprised to find that almost all roads in the cities are paved and well lit with solar lights. However major highways tend not to have lights but that very common even in the developed world

Busses in Rwanda have a well organised network between major towns and cities. Nice buses have been introduced recently but many remain dirty and crowded.

When in the bus park, please follow the signs and ensure that you know the name of the destination you wish to travel to. Sometimes there are scammers who are looking for their next unsuspecting targets . 

It is possible to use private hire taxi but this option tend to be more expensive but worth it.

4. Travel insuarance

By Rwandan law, anyone travelling in the country must have health insurance. If you arrive in the country without it, you have 30 days to sort it out. Rwanda’s medical facilities and services are basic so it’s vital that any traveller to Rwanda takes out a travel insurance policy with adequate medical coverage including air medical evacuation. Is Rwanda Safe? 10 Travel Tips for Visitors

5. Rwanda Border Conflicts with its neigbouring countries

Rwanda – Uganda Boarder safety 2022

This is a very common route for those wishing to go for an optional cheaper gorilla trekking in Uganda and those who come from Uganda to connect to Rwanda for their outward flights. Due to some political disputes between the two sister countries in February 2019, the land borders were closed off and heavy military deployment was  done on Rwanda side. Now that has change and the boarders are open and safe for all tourists and locals wishing to visit the two countries

 

Rwanda- Burundi Boarder and safety.

The Rwanda-Burundi border was initially closed in 2015 following a diplomatic standoff. Burundi officials when contacted said even when the boarders had remained closed, there was talks between the two countries and as a result, the two boarders has been now opened as of 2022. That being said, it is now safe to cross the boarder between Burundi and Rwanda without any issues.

Rwanda – DR Congo boarder safety.

The two land boarders were briefly closed in March 2022 when DR Congo accused Rwanda for supporting M23 rebels claims that the Rwandan authority deny. There was also a standoff when locals in Goma overrun-ed  the Grand Barrier boader between Rwanda and DR Congo and one person was shot in this violent demonstration. The situation was put to order and the boarder was opened.

As of now 24 October 2022, there are fresh m23 attacks in Eastern Congo and we believe the situation might be the same as the one earlier this year. We shall keep you updated.

 

6. Rwanda Laws and Fines

Unlike other African countries, the laws in Rwanda are very strict and there is very limited space for the corrupt. Smoking marijuana for example can be a serious crime here and so does trying to bribe the police. When you come here, you should avoid taking photos of the military bases, driving under influence of alcohol,

7. Gorilla trekking safety

The mountain gorillas are one of Rwanda’s main tourism drawcards and the government has taken measures to protect these animals and ensure that tourism is sustainable and safe. Travellers must book a guided tour to see the gorillas for safety reasons such as bandits, civil unrest, potential injury and for the safety of the animals themselves. 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

8. LGBTQ safety in Rwanda

Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Rwanda but it’s not widely accepted and still considered taboo. The country is still conservative, also with local LGBTQ people experiencing prejudice. Furthermore, there are other African countries that are considered more homophobic. Kigali does have a few gay-friendly spots but it’s best for safety reasons that LGBTQ travellers remain discreet at all times.

9. Malaria

Malaria is present all across Rwanda and the government has taken significant steps to try and eradicate this disease. With various community initiatives such as mosquito nets, house spraying and rapid medical assessment and treatment. To learn more about how you can protect yourself and stay healthy while travelling,

Is Rwanda Safe? 10 Travel Tips for Visitors

10. Rwandan genocide. Is Rwanda Safe? 10 Travel Tips for Visitors

In 1994, the Rwandan government instigated the genocide during the civil war, which saw hundreds of thousands of Tutsi, moderate Hutus and Twa people murdered. Over 2 million Rwandans were displaced, with many people missing and families torn apart. With changes in government since the genocide, there has been considerable work done to move beyond this horrible and tragic event. In order to create a more positive and safe future for all Rwandans.

Laws around genocide are strictly enforced and the promotion of racist or divisive behaviour is illegal and punishable by fines and jail time. Travellers are advised to keep any talk about the genocide respectful and it’s advised to avoid talking about it. Many locals have been affected by the atrocity and still experience trauma. Travellers should also avoid referring to locals by their ethnicity. To learn more, visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

Is Rwanda Safe? 10 Travel Tips for Visitors

11. Tap Water

It’s advisable that you don’t drink tap water in Rwanda unless it’s been filtered, boiled or disinfected with iodine tablets. Rather opt for bottled water from a trusted source. Avoid drinking water from streams, rivers and lakes as a precaution against contracting bilharzia.

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John Doe

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