Safety tips in Rwanda are essential not only to foreign visitors on Rwanda safaris to see mountain gorillas but also to those on cultural safaris. For nearly 30 years now, Rwanda has enjoyed peace and stability making it a preferred destination for vacation and investments. Unlike other countries, in Rwanda, it is safe to travel to the most remote border areas although it is not 100% safe meaning, there is still a need for you to be keen on your surroundings.
Rwanda- the Land of a Thousand Hills is a landlocked country and it is one of the fast-growing economies in the world. However, like in any country, cases such as petty theft, credit card fraud, etc, are experienced and there is a need to be careful while in the urban areas. Yes, the presence of security is seen almost everywhere comprising of different organs including police, army, and tourism police- all these are intended to ensure that there is ultimate peace and security to allow visitors to have their best of Rwanda safaris.
Kigali is the capital of Rwanda and it is notably one of the safest cities and cleanest in the world. Economically, there is a tremendous change in Kigali capital and Rwanda at large with several classic hotels, and lodges set up and the routes leading to top tourist sites well-maintained to East African standards.
The political situation in Rwanda
Politically, Rwanda is one of the stable places on the African continent. She has enjoyed steady peace and security since the end of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. There has been a remarkable boom in the business and general economy of Rwanda. The government and communities have worked together and vowed not to have a repeat of the 1994-related incidents, but rather to work on revamping the country.
Rwanda is one of the countries with tight laws and there is no room to promote genocide-related thoughts. Issues of political violence are minimal in Rwanda and where you find peaceful protests, visitors are strongly advised to avoid them. In any case, they occur, it is better to find an alternative route taking you outside the city to your destination. It is also better to stay updated with the local news and any security alerts prior to leaving your hotel or traveling to Rwanda and you can always get in touch with the embassy of Rwanda back in your home before taking flights to Kigali.
Yes, Rwanda is safe but not 100%, therefore it is important that you be keen on petty crimes though they occur at a low rate. Petty crimes such as pickpockets are common not only in Kigali but also in other urban areas across other countries. While walking or moving around urban centers, always be active and protective of your valuables. Better still, leave your valuable back in your area of residents or hotel.
There is a reason why Kigali is ranked among the cleanest cities in the world. In 2008, the Rwandan government banned all non-biodegradable polyethene plastic bags and as soon as you get to Kigali airport, there are warning signs, and failure to respect the law, it may attract a fine of 50,000 Rwandan francs that is US Dollars 61 or even go to jail and this may depend on the offense. Always be a responsible traveler and dump your plastics where they are supposed to be.
Traffic road safety
To East African standards, the Rwandan roads are of better standards. Rwanda has for long tried to maintain its road network and this has eased visitor movement to the remote destinations for vacation. There are traffic rules to be observed while driving in Rwanda and most importantly, you are advised not to drive at night or move in dark corners. Try as much as you can or let your driver ensure that you are at the destination early enough because anything can happen during dark hours and higher chances are you won’t get assistance as much as you require it at that moment.
Gorilla trekking safety
All gorilla safaris to Rwanda are safe. Every year, a large population of travelers heads to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda to carry out mountain gorilla trekking. It should be noted that Rwanda safari destinations such as Volcanoes National Park are highly protected by the park rangers who also work with other security organs to ensure that there is ultimate peace and stability which guarantees a safe and secure gorilla safari to all travelers.
Health insurance is essential for anyone visiting Rwanda for vacation or any other purpose. For travelers who get to the country without insurance, you will be given 30 days to work it out. Note, that most medical facilities and services provide basic health services and travel insurance is essential because it does provide adequate medical coverage.
It is safe and easy to get around Rwanda. The road network has improved greatly in Rwanda and it is possible to connect to the main cities and the countryside to enjoy your vacation. There are rental car companies to hire a car in Rwanda or take public means of transportation. Hiring a car is fine because you can get to your destination, unlike public means where you may be dropped off in the main town since they don’t branch to remote tourist sites of your interest.
Border safety between Uganda and Rwanda has improved with now re-opening of the border. This means that tourists can travel to Uganda from Rwanda and vice versa. You can even combine Rwanda safaris and Uganda safaris – for instance, gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and in Bwindi or Mgahinga Gorilla National Park or wildlife safaris in Uganda.
Local laws to obey
- Don’t carry drugs/engage in drug trafficking as they attract heavy fines and can lead you to be jailed.
- Avoid inappropriate or divisive talk about the Rwandan genocide.
- Don’t drive when drunk.
- Always observe traffic road rules when driving in Rwanda especially if you are on self-drive.