Eine Karte mit einer Stecknadel in Ruanda

Safety in Rwanda: tips for travelers

How safe is it to travel to Rwanda?

How safe is it to travel to Rwanda?

Rwanda is a wonderful destination if you are looking for an unforgettable adventure in Africa. However, as with any trip to a foreign country, safety is paramount. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about safety in Rwanda so that you can start your trip carefree and well prepared. From the general safety situation to health and hygiene standards to important rules of conduct - here you will find all the information you need for a safe and unforgettable trip to Rwanda.

Written by: Anja Sterker Last updated at: June 26, 2024

General security situation in Rwanda

Rwanda has made considerable progress in terms of security and stability in recent years and is now considered one of the safest countries in Africa. The government has taken extensive measures to reduce crime and increase public safety. The political situation is stable and the authorities are continuously working to maintain and further improve the level of security.

Current security situation

According to reports from the German Foreign Office and other international security sources, the general security situation in Rwanda is good. The crime rate, especially in the capital Kigali, is relatively low compared to other African cities. Violent crime is rare and the risk for tourists is low as long as basic precautions are taken.

Political stability

Rwanda has a stable government that is strongly committed to promoting peace and security. Since the end of the genocide in 1994, the country has made remarkable progress and is now a role model for reconstruction and reconciliation. Regular elections and an active civil society contribute to political stability, which has a positive impact on the overall security situation.

Safety in cities and in the countryside

Rwanda offers travelers a variety of fascinating experiences, both in the vibrant cities and in the quiet rural areas. During your trip, it is important to be aware of the different safety aspects in urban and rural areas.

Safety in Kigali

Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, is known for its cleanliness and safety. The city has developed into a modern urban center that attracts both tourists and business travelers. Here are some tips to ensure your safety in Kigali:

  • Be careful at night: Although Kigali is considered safe compared to other African capitals, you should be careful at night. Avoid poorly lit streets and rely on official cabs or your hotel transport.
  • Keep valuables safe: Carry your valuables close to your body and use the safe in your hotel room. Pickpocketing can occur in crowded areas such as markets and public transportation.
  • Road safety: Always be aware of your surroundings in traffic. Pedestrian walkways are not always well developed and traffic can be chaotic.

Safety in rural areas

The rural regions of Rwanda are characterized by breathtaking nature and warm hospitality. Here you can visit the famous mountain gorillas or go on hikes through the impressive landscape. To travel safely and carefree, please note the following information:

  • Guided tours: book tours and activities through trustworthy providers. Guided tours not only offer safety, but also valuable insights into the culture and nature of the region.
  • Wildlife: When visiting national parks and game reserves, you should always follow the instructions of the rangers. Wild animals are unpredictable and a respectful distance is essential for your safety.

Safety in the national parks

Rwanda's national parks, such as Volcanoes National Park and Akagera National Park, are safe regions and offer well-organized tours for visitors. However, always contact reputable tour operators for your tours to ensure that you are accompanied by well-trained rangers and guides who will ensure your safety during the activities.

  • Hiking and trekking: Make sure you have the right equipment and are physically prepared for the planned activities. Inform your guides of any health concerns.
  • Communication: In some remote areas, mobile phone coverage may be limited. If you decide to do spontaneous activities on site, always inform someone about where you are going and your estimated time of return.

Road safety

Road safety in Rwanda is an important aspect that travelers should be aware of. Although the country has made considerable progress in improving its infrastructure, there are still some challenges you should be aware of in order to travel safely.

Road traffic

The roads in Rwanda have improved significantly in recent years, especially the main highways and the roads in Kigali. However, there are still unpaved and poorly maintained roads in more remote areas. Here are some tips to stay safe on the road:

  • Vehicle choice: When renting a car, choose a sturdy vehicle, ideally with four-wheel drive, especially if you are traveling off the main roads.
  • Driving style: Adapt your driving style to the local conditions. Drive defensively and watch out for sudden obstacles such as potholes, animals or pedestrians.
  • Road conditions: Find out in advance about the condition of the roads you want to drive on and allow sufficient time for your journey.

Public transportation

Public transportation in Rwanda is widely available and inexpensive, but safety and reliability vary. Here are some tips on using public transportation:

  • Buses and minibuses: these are the most common means of transportation, especially for longer distances. Make sure that the bus or minibus is not overloaded and appears to be in good condition. It is advisable to give preference to larger bus companies that are known for their reliability.
  • Cabs: Use registered cabs or call a cab through your hotel. Avoid getting into unknown or unregistered vehicles. There are also cab apps in Kigali that offer reliable rides.
  • Motorcycle cabs (Moto): These are widely available in the cities and are fast, but not always the safest choice. Always wear a helmet and make sure the driver has a valid driver's license.

Health and hygiene standards

Your health and well-being are top priorities when traveling to Rwanda. The country has made significant progress in the health sector in recent years, but as a traveler you should still consider some important points to ensure that your trip goes smoothly.

Health precautions

Before traveling to Rwanda, it is advisable to inform yourself about the necessary vaccinations and medical precautions. Recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, meningococcal disease and rabies. In some cases, malaria prophylaxis may also be required, especially if you are traveling to rural areas or national parks. Make sure your standard vaccinations are up to date and consult a doctor or tropical institute for individual advice before you travel.

Hygiene standards

Hygiene standards in Rwanda have improved in recent years, especially in urban areas and tourist facilities. Nevertheless, you should observe some basic hygiene rules to avoid health problems:

  • Drinking water: Only drink bottled or boiled water. Avoid ice cubes in drinks, as these are often made from tap water.
  • Food safety: Only eat in restaurants and stalls that have good hygiene standards. Make sure food is well cooked and avoid raw or undercooked food, especially meat and fish.
  • Wash your hands: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use a disinfectant, especially before eating and after using the toilet.

By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of diarrhea and other health problems and enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Medical care

Medical care in Rwanda is good in the major cities such as Kigali, but the quality of health services in rural areas can vary. It is advisable to take out comprehensive travel insurance that also covers repatriation in the event of an emergency.


Rwanda is considered one of the safest countries in Africa, but as in any other country, there is criminal activity that you should be aware of. Being well prepared and aware of potential dangers can help make your trip safe and enjoyable.

The crime rate in Rwanda, especially in the capital Kigali, is comparatively low. Violent crime is rare and the general risk to tourists is low. Most criminal activity is limited to petty crime such as pickpocketing and vehicle break-ins.

Precautionary measures

To minimize the risk of becoming a victim of crime, you should take the following precautions:

  • Keep valuables safe: Do not carry large amounts of money or valuable jewelry with you. Use the safe in your hotel room to store valuables safely.
  • Stay alert: Be particularly vigilant in busy areas such as markets, bus stations and tourist attractions. Pickpockets often use the crowds to strike unnoticed.
  • Do not attract unnecessary attention: Try to remain inconspicuous. Avoid showing expensive electronic devices or jewelry.

Common scams

Although serious cases of fraud are rare, there are some common scams that you should be aware of:

  • Changing money: only change your money at official bureaux de change or banks. Avoid exchanging money on the street, as scams often occur here.
  • Counterfeit products: You may be offered counterfeit products at markets and street vendors. Act with caution and buy high-quality items from trustworthy stores.
  • Inflated prices: Some traders and cab drivers may try to overcharge you. Find out the usual prices in advance and bargain if necessary.

Cultural sensitivity and behavior

Rwanda is a country with a rich culture and deeply rooted traditions. A respectful attitude towards the locals and an understanding of their customs and habits will go a long way towards making your trip more enjoyable and safer.

Cultural characteristics

Rwanda has a diverse and fascinating culture that is reflected in daily customs and social life. Here are some cultural characteristics you should know about:

  • Hospitality: Rwandans are known for their hospitality. It is customary to greet guests warmly and treat them with respect. Return this kindness and be open and respectful.
  • Greetings: A formal greeting is important. A handshake, often accompanied by a slight bow, is a common form of greeting. It is considered polite to maintain eye contact when greeting someone.
  • Clothing: Be sure to dress appropriately, especially in rural areas and religious sites. Clothing that is too revealing may be perceived as disrespectful. Women should cover their shoulders and knees.

Behavioral tips

Respectful and appropriate behavior can avoid misunderstandings and help you gain deeper insights into the local culture:

  • Take photographs: Always ask permission before taking photos of people, especially in rural areas. Many locals consider it disrespectful to be photographed without prior consent.
  • Language: Learning a few words in Kinyarwanda, the local language, is greatly appreciated. A simple "Muraho" (hello) or "Urakoze" (thank you) shows that you are making an effort to respect the local culture.
  • Religion and traditions: Respect religious practices and traditional ceremonies. Visit churches and religious sites with proper reverence and dress appropriately.
  • Show patience: In Rwanda, things move at a somewhat slower pace. Show patience and understanding if things do not progress as quickly as expected.
  • Waste disposal: Be careful not to leave garbage in the countryside or in urban areas. Rwanda is known for its cleanliness and there are strict regulations on waste disposal.

Hang eines Berges mit kleinen Haeusern
Sonnenaufgang über den Bergen des Nyungwe Waldes

Rwanda is a safe and hospitable destination that offers travelers unforgettable experiences. The general security situation is stable and with the right precautions you can explore both urban and rural areas safely. Take health precautions, be respectful of the local culture and take the time to read up on the latest safety information. With these tips, you are well equipped to enjoy your trip to Rwanda to the full.

For more information on Rwanda and detailed travel advice, please visit the website of the German Federal Foreign Office. There you will find comprehensive resources and links to help you plan your trip.

Do you have any questions or need individual travel advice? Please feel free to contact us! Our team of experts are on hand to help you plan your tailor-made dream trip to Rwanda. Let's create your unforgettable trip together!

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