Is Rwanda safe for tourists?

tourists approaching the Virunga Mountains for the hike on Mount Bisoke volcano

One of the biggest concerns for tourists planning to travel to Africa, more so to Sub-Saharan Africa, is safety or security. Rwanda is located in the central Africa, a region known for insecurity so it is understandable when one is concerned before booking that gorilla trekking trip, a safari to meet the chimpanzees and walk in the canopy of Nyungwe forest an ancient forest said to have existed since the ice age or safari trip to Akagera National Park to look for the famed big five in one of African’s most scenic savanna.

This blog will enlighten you on how safe Rwanda is and how to keep safe in Rwanda

Rwanda, by far is the most secure and safest country in Africa….

Due to her tumultuous past and location in a volatile region, Rwanda has invested heavily in her security systems. Rwanda has one of the most effective militaries in Africa that has ensured insurgencies in the region never spill over into her land, and a police force so professional that ensures everyone in Rwanda is safe and none is above the law!

I don’t know any cities in Africa where you can comfortably walk on a street at night while using your smartphone and not lose it within minutes, it is possible only in Rwanda’s capital Kigali City and in all other towns in Rwanda. 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.

A few safety concerns and how to keep safe in Rwanda

There is no perfect society, keep this in mind when you visit Rwanda because it is not heaven 😊

Though at very low levels, there are petty crimes such as; pickpocketing, phone snatching, car break-ins

Take the following precautions to avoid any surprises:

  • 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
  • Do not display money in public or show off how you got a lot of money in public
  • Do not leave valuables in the car
  • Ensure the door to your hotel room is locked when you go to bed
  • Do not leave your smartphone unattended to on a table or charging spot. Keep it in your pocket if not in use.
  • Do not give away your email. Some locals will approach you and request for your email to send you soliciting emails.

I need to stress that no one is above the law and you can’t offer a bribe and get away like in most African countries. If you break any law you will be charged without any favor.

Respect the traditions and cultures

Some of things not to do while in Rwanda to keep within the law and respect the local traditions:

  • Do not liter! Rwanda is probably the cleanest country in Africa because 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.
  • Obey traffic rules to the hilt! If you will be 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
  • The 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 very sensitive topic.
  • Rwandan women are some of the most respected and protected in Africa. Disrespecting a Rwandan woman may be one of the quickest ways to earn you jail time in Rwanda. If you are man, avoid bad touches, vulgar conversations etc…
  • Do not take pictures of military sites, government buildings and border crossing points. It is totally prohibited. I need to stress, do not take pictures of any military installation, you will be detained promptly.

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