Is Rwanda Safe? Is Rwanda Safe To Visit? How Safe Is Rwanda, Is It Safe To Travel To Rwanda?
Before booking a Rwanda safari most visitors have these questions: – Is Rwanda safe to visit? Is Rwanda safe? Is it safe to travel to Rwanda? How safe is Rwanda? The answer is that Rwanda is a very safe place to visit and it is one of the safest countries to visit in Africa. Crime is low and locals are welcoming, friendly, and hospitable.
The country is located in East-central Africa, a region known for insecurity, so it is understandable when you’re concerned before booking your Rwanda gorilla tour to Volcanoes National Park, a chimpanzee trek, or canopy walk in Nyungwe National Park Forest – an ancient forest said to have existed since the ice age – or Rwanda wildlife safaris to Akagera National Park to look for the famed “Big 5” in one of African’s most scenic savanna. This article will enlighten you on:-
- How safe is Rwanda?
- A few safety concerns
- How to keep safe on a safari in Rwanda?
- Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safety Guidelines
- Rwanda Game Viewing Safety Guidelines
- Safety in Other East African Safari Countries near Rwanda
How Safe Is Rwanda?
Rwanda is arguably the safest country in Africa, which is immediately apparent upon arrival in the relaxed, clean, and charming capital, Kigali.
Rwanda’s response to the 1994 genocide was an attempt to pull the country together, rather than further dividing it. Today this has the effect of a solid safety record for travelers on Rwanda safari tours and Rwandans, with an emphasis on security.
Kigali city is one of the only cities in Africa where you can comfortably walk on a street at night while using your smartphone and not lose it. Here you walk any street or alley without having to constantly look over your shoulders worrying about getting mugged like it is in most African cities and towns. The clean and very tidy streets all across the country are well lit and with security cameras.
Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, Rwanda did not hesitate to take coronavirus by the horns: lockdowns were implemented quickly and enforced strictly. Today more than 60% of the population is vaccinated – something the British Medical Journal calls a feat “in a continent that is a Covid-19 vaccine desert”.
In 2022, Rwanda was named the sixth-safest country in the world for solo travelers, according to a study published by Usebounce, which elaborates a ranking that combines crime and safety to assess where individual travelers can travel and feel safe.
Here Are A Few Rwanda Safety Concerns You Should Be Aware Of
Though at very low levels, there are petty crimes in Rwanda such as; pickpocketing, phone snatching, and car break-ins. But while planning your Rwanda gorilla trekking safari or Rwanda wildlife safari, you should note that serious crime or hostility explicitly aimed at travelers is infrequent, and there’s no more to worry about here than in some countries.
Malaria is also present throughout most of Rwanda, except for Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park where the risk is medium due to the high altitude. Akagera National Park and the Lake Kivu area are particularly high-risk zones for Malaria.
Despite the impressive epidemiological picture in Rwanda, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Committee of the International Health Regulations maintained COVID-19 at the highest level of classification; a Public Health Emergency of International Concern that was declared in January 2020 and a pandemic on 11th March 2020.
In addition to the emerging transmission dynamic in the Southern African countries and parts of Asia, the worst is not yet over.
Yellow Fever is spread by infected mosquitoes. Symptoms are similar to malaria ranging from flu-like chills and fever to server hepatitis and jaundice. If left untreated or not diagnosed early, the disease is life-threatening.
Possibly the least safe aspects of Rwanda are the condition of its roads in rural areas. Flooding can also present danger to drivers during the rainy seasons from March to May and October to November.
Altitude sickness can cause serious illness for travelers on hiking safaris in Rwanda who plan to trek in the Volcanoes National Park as several peaks are over 8,200ft (2,500m). You should take the time to acclimatize as you ascend the volcano.
How to Keep Safe on Safari in Rwanda?
Here are useful Rwanda safety travel tips:-
- Do not leave money, passports, and devices like phones in your hotel room.
- If there is a safe keep those that you cannot carry with you in a safe
- Avoid ostentatious displays of wealth and keep use of your digital gadgets to a minimum in crowded public places.
- Do not leave valuables in the car
- Ensure the door to your hotel room is locked when you go to bed
- Always make copies of your travel documents and store these separately.
- Keep money in a belt that deters pickpockets and turn down offers of friendly assistance when it comes to exchanging money.
Keep Within The Law
- I need to stress that no one is above the law and you can’t offer a bribe in Rwanda and get away like in most African countries.
- If you break any law you will be charged without any favor.
- If you’re driving, the easiest laws to break are the traffic laws such as driving above the speed limit.
- Ensure you or your driver respect the speed limit and other road/traffic laws
- Drink driving is illegal and punishable by a fine and jail time.
- Using a cell phone while driving is also illegal
- Do not liter! Rwanda is one of the cleanest countries on Earth because the effort has been put into enforcing laws against littering.
- A culture of cleanliness has been developed through communal cleaning activities every last Saturday of the month.
- Plastic bags are not allowed anywhere in Rwanda both in the city, Rwanda national parks, and all other tourist spots all over the country.
Don’t Mention The Genocide
- If it’s a Rwanda gorilla safari or a wildlife safari in Rwanda, remember that the horrific 1994 Rwanda genocide is still fresh in the memories of many adult Rwandans.
- Please avoid starting a conversation about the genocide with just about anyone because it is a very sensitive topic.
Be Careful About What You Photograph
- Do not take pictures of military sites and government buildings.
- It is prohibited.
- You will be detained promptly.
Take Anti-Malarial Precautions
- The best defense against malaria is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes during the night when the female Anopheles mosquito is active.
Alert Your Agent Of Any Chronic Illness Or Allergies
- Always alert your agent of any chronic illness or allergies.
- This is so that both your lodge and guide are informed of any special needs you may have.
Bring Appropriate Clothing
- Bring appropriate clothing to protect against the sun, and mosquitoes and to stay warm on open vehicle game drives
Check Latest Rwanda COVID-19 Travel SOPS
- Check the latest Rwanda COVID-19 travel Standard Operating Procedures
- Ensure that you’ll be able to the criteria during your Rwanda safari tours.
- All incoming travelers eligible (aged 12 years and above) for the Covid-19 vaccine are encouraged to be fully vaccinated before their travel to Rwanda.
Book A Rwanda Tour With A Reputable Tour Operator
- For gorilla tours in Rwanda and other Rwanda holidays always book a tour with a reputable tour operator.
- These Rwanda tour operators always make your safety a priority
- They will be quick to alert you to potential risks that could see you get hurt or put in a dangerous situation.
Buy Good Travel & Health Insurance
- Comprehensive travel insurance is essential during any vacation safaris in Rwanda.
- Your travel insurance should protect you against cancellation and curtailment costs if you cannot travel or safari to Rwanda or must cut your Rwanda vacation short because of an unexpected event like:-
- Illness, injury or death, or a vehicle accident on your way to the airport.
- Being called to jury duty, quarantined, or home damage before you depart.
- Losing your job or experiencing a terrorist attack.
- Travel insurance also gives you peace of mind while you travel, covers emergency medical expenses, and provides a 24-hour hotline.
Rwanda Gorilla Trekking Safety
The mountain gorillas are a major tourist attraction in Rwanda and gorilla trekking in Rwanda is one of the top best things to do in Rwanda. It is a very safe activity. Mountain gorillas are gentle giants and conflict with people is almost unheard of. Dangerous incidents are virtually unheard of on Rwanda gorilla tours.
You will be taken to a habituated gorilla family by experienced park ranger guides. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda see people every day and they’ve learned that people are no threat to them. They mostly ignore humans although young gorillas might sometimes show some curiosity.
Here Are Some Gorilla Trekking Safety Guidelines:-
- Always follow your ranger guide’s instructions and guidelines.
- Stay together as a group with your ranger guide.
- Always keep the recommended distance (at least 7m) after encountering gorillas.
- Wait for your guide’s instruction if a gorilla approaches you.
- On the rare occasion of a gorilla charging, crouch down slowly, look down and wait for further instruction from your guide. Never look a gorilla in the eyes.
- Don’t make any quick movements and keep your voice down.
- Never block the path of gorillas when they are walking.
- Don’t use a flash when photographing mountain gorillas.
- Never take food or drink close to the mountain gorillas.
- Cover your arms and legs to avoid nettle stings.
- Use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes and other harmful insects
- Wear a hat, use sunscreen, and drink plenty of water.
- Wear sturdy hiking shoes, and waterproof clothing
- Bring a waterproof bag for your camera and other belongings.
Rwanda Game Viewing Safety Guidelines
Rwanda game viewing safaris in Akagera National Park are generally very safe. A professional local guide will ensure your safety on a guided safari. Self-drive safaris in Rwanda are safe as well, as long as you treat animals with respect and follow all park rules. It is extremely rare for incidents to occur.
Here Are Some Safety Guidelines & Tips:-
- Always follow the instructions of your guide.
- Keep your voice low when close to wild animals of Rwanda
- During game drives, stay in the car except at designated areas where you’re allowed to get out
- Standing up in the car, hanging out of the window, or sitting on the roof is not advised
- Never drive too close to animals if you are on a Rwanda self-drive safari and back off if the animals seem disturbed
- Do not drive between elephants in a herd, especially females and their young
- Never run or jog in a wildlife area as it entices predators to attack
- Never walk between a hippo and water; it may panic and charge because its safety route to the water is blocked
- Use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes
- Wear a hat, use sunscreen and drink plenty of water
- Bring warm clothes for morning game drives
Safety In Other East African Safari Countries Near Rwanda
These combined East African safaris are comprehensive tour packages that incorporate more than one country in the region. Therefore, if you combine your Rwanda trip with a safari in any other nearby East African country, you should as well be mindful of your safety.
Due to the sheer number and variety of its animals, and the professionalism of its safari industry, Tanzania is one of the best countries for wildlife safaris in Africa.
Tanzania is generally safe for travelers – most visits are crime-free. The majority of people will be traveling outside the cities, which lessens the risk of crime. Tanzania safaris especially Tanzania wildlife safaris are typically very safe and qualified guides know how to handle wildlife encounters.
Most travelers will be flying around the country or in organized transfer vehicles, but self-drivers should be careful of potholes and not drive at night. It’s a good idea to ensure safari guides and Mount Kilimanjaro hiking operators have a solid, reliable reputation before booking your Tanzania holiday.
The Kenya safari industry is the most established in Africa, and good infrastructure enables travelers to easily get around the country.
Kenya is largely safe for the many visitors it receives each year. Even within cities such as Nairobi, crime is not an issue for most tourists – though, of course, it pays to be cautious and vigilant. There are travel warnings associated with the Somalian border area and the northern coast, but it’s easy to avoid these regions.
The usual safety precautions apply in the cities. On a safari in Kenya, most risks are associated with wild animals of Kenya – and with a good guide, these risks are minimal. If self-driving, avoid the roads at night and use a reputable car hire company.
Visitors rarely experience crime. Experienced rangers, and often security, accompany travelers into the forests to visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda; most treks are trouble-free. The usual considerations apply in cities.
Are you still wondering: is Rwanda safe? Our travel experts are happy to answer any further questions you may have and plan a completely customized, private, and safe Rwanda trip for you. Get in touch with us for your tailor-made Rwanda safari.