- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
Avoid non-essential travel.
Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020
Rwanda is generally safe and crime levels are relatively low. However, there have been reports of burglary, theft and mugging in Kigali. You should take precautions with valuables and remain vigilant.
If you are travelling near the DRC/Rwanda and Burundi/Rwanda borders, we advise you to exercise a high degree of caution
The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains volatile, and the situation in Burundi has also become volatile with increased tensions and violence related to the ongoing political crisis. There is a continuing risk that the security situation in the region could deteriorate rapidly. You should remain alert to the possibility of military incursions, stray bullets and/or artillery fire entering Rwanda if you are near the DRC border.
Travel to Rwanda from Ireland
The Irish government advises against all non-essential international travel at this time. Travel restrictions are in place to protect public health and to mitigate the risk of new variants of COVID-19 entering the country. Details of these restrictions are available on the travel section of the gov.ie website.
In weighing decisions to travel to Rwanda at this time, Irish citizens should take into consideration the risk of restrictions being introduced during their travel and, also, the impact which responding to COVID-19 may have on local health care systems over the course of their proposed visit.
As of 1st August, Kigali International Airport has reopened. All arrivals must present a negative COVID-19 test result, taken within 72 hours of departure. Upon presentation of this test, individuals must quarantine at a designated hotel for at least 24 hours and complete a second COVID-19 test. Land borders remain closed to all but Rwandan citizens and legal residents. Further information on COVID-19 in Rwanda can be found on the website of the Ministry of Health.
Travel to Ireland from Rwanda
From 16 January, all passengers arriving into Ireland are required to have a negative / not detected result from a pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrival in Ireland. This is a mandatory requirement. Passengers will be asked to present evidence of their negative/‘not detected’ result before boarding their airplane or ferry and will be denied boarding if they cannot produce such evidence. Further information is available here.
If you must travel to Ireland, you are required to fill out a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form online before you travel.
If a citizen has a genuine humanitarian emergency requiring urgent travel, they should contact the Embassy immediately for advice and consular assistance before commencing their journey.
A legal requirement to quarantine has been introduced for all passengers arriving in Ireland from 4 February 2021. If you travel to Ireland for essential reasons from Rwanda:
• 14-day quarantine period must be undertaken at the address specified on the Passenger Locator Form
• you must complete the full 14 days of quarantine - regardless of whether you have a negative test result
If you do not fulfil the legal requirement for mandatory quarantine you are committing an offence, and can be fined up to €2,500 or get a prison sentence of up to 6 months, or both. Further information on essential travel to Ireland from abroad is available on the gov.ie website
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Rwanda, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Kampala in Uganda or our Consular Assistance Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin on +353 1 408 2000.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
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.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Photography of public buildings is prohibited.
Plastic bags are banned in Rwanda and any visible bags may be confiscated on arrival.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural disasters and climate
During the two rainy seasons (February to May and September to December), Rwanda frequently experiences intense thunderstorms. Landslides and floods are also common during these seasons. If you’re travelling to or living in Rwanda, monitor regional weather forecasts and always follow local authorities’ instructions about security and evacuation.
The last recorded earthquakes in Bukavu (eastern DRC) and Cyangugu in south-west Rwanda were in 2008. Both caused a number of fatalities. If you’re travelling to Rwanda, make sure you find out from local contacts or your hotel what you should do in the event of an earthquake.
Yellow fever certificates
You may be asked for your yellow fever vaccination certificate when you are checking in for your flight to Rwanda and/or on arrival at Kigali International Airport.
It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Rwanda and you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Rwanda. You will need one blank page on your passport for entry stamps.
Ireland doesn’t have an Embassy or Consulate in Rwanda so we can’t verify detailed travel advice to ensure that it’s accurate, appropriate and up to date. However, we encourage you to conduct your own research and to read these links to travel advice from other foreign ministries:
- UK: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- New Zealand: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- USA: Department of State
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management. If there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Embassy of Ireland Kampala on Tel: +256 417 713 000.
Please note that if you are an Irish citizen and require urgent assistance while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number, +256 417 713 000, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox. This mailbox will be monitored regularly.
Embassy of Ireland
Post Office Box 7791
Plot 25, Yusuf Lule Road
Monday to Thursday 10:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:00
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.