Safety and security
- Get advice locally about areas of risk and security concerns
- Take common-sense precautions about safety and security
- Know who to contact in case of an emergency
Irish citizens should exercise caution when travelling near the Rwanda-DRC border given the possibility of fighting there. You should be alert to the possibility of incursions, stray bullets or artillery fire entering Rwanda. There are many points where the border is not marked.
Take care not to cross the border unintentionally at any of these points. The border crossings between Rwanda and the DRC at Gisenyi/Goma and Cyangugu/Bukavu are currently open between 6am and 6pm. Both borders are liable to short notice closure and you shouldn’t rely on them as points of exit from DRC. If you are crossing regularly between Rwanda and the DRC you may encounter immigration difficulties if you have not regularized your residency status.
Take care when travelling near the border with Burundi due to instability and the risk of banditry.
Parc National des Volcans
It’s safe to visit gorillas or climb volcanoes in Parc National des Volcans as long as you are part of an organised tour. You should note that the park authorities only permit gorilla trekking that is undertaken as part of an organised tour.
Although the threat from terrorism in Rwanda is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
Since 2011, there have been a number of grenade attacks throughout Rwanda, mainly in Kigali and Musanze. There were 2 grenade attacks in Musanze, northern Rwanda, in January 2014. There were 2 grenade attacks in Kicukiro market in Kigali in September 2013. There were also grenade attacks in Nyabugogo market in Kigali in July 2013 and on Kimironko taxi park in Kigali in March 2013. The attacks resulted in fatalities and a large number of injuries. Although there have been no grenade attacks for over 18 months, further indiscriminate attacks cannot be ruled out, including in places frequented by foreigners. You should remain vigilant.
While levels of crime are relatively low in Rwanda, there has been an increase in petty theft. Always take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Rwanda, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at our Embassy in Kampala in Uganda if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Rwanda, you should be careful. Avoid road travel after dark as roads are unlit and driving standards are poor. The road infrastructure from Kigali to all major towns is generally good but roads can be narrow and winding.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Note that driving is on the right side
- Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic theft
- Be careful during the annual rains in late spring and autumn. Roads may become impassable for anything but four-wheel-drive vehicles. There may be landslides or floods on some of the major roads
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
We strongly advise against taking shared taxis or motorbike taxis due to the high rate of accidents.
Thu, 12 May 2016 12:30:18 BST