A relatively stable and secure country, Rwanda is perched in the heart of Africa, bordering Uganda and D.R. Congo on one side and Tanzania and Burundi on the other. For a very long time now, Rwanda has been considered the safest destination to travel to in Africa and world over, offering her visitors with great memories and exceeding their expectations.
Rwanda, dubbed the famous “land of a thousand hills” is known for its abundant flora and profusion of fauna, ranging from the world’s endangered mountain gorillas in Volcanoes national park, to the primate-rich Nyungwe forest national park, and teeming game in Akagera national park as well as a lively and organized Kigali city.
The country is truly a paradise for any nature and adventure lover that can be visited all year round! Putting aside Rwanda’s turbulent past, starting from the pre-colonial civil wars, to the genocide tragedy in 1994, the country has moved on to become a living testimony of peace, safety and security among all African countries.
Gorilla Trekking Safety
Rwanda’s main crowd-pullers are undeniably the mountain gorillas. The North-western based Volcanoes National park is the most visited of all parks in Rwanda. Given this fact, safety in this national park is an utmost consideration. A range of safety considerations have been put in place not only to protect the mountain gorillas but the visitors as well.
During a gorilla trek tour, all visitors are escorted by armed ranger to penetrate the forest; this is done to make sure travelers are safe and secure all the time, against bandits, wild animal attacks, rebels, or potential bodily injuries. Controlled tourism, such as limiting the number of trekkers to only eight per trek helps to limit chances of spreading contagious diseases to the mountain gorillas.
Diseases & Health Safety
Just like most sub-Saharan countries, Rwanda is susceptible to most diseases common in the tropics. The most regular one being malaria. The government of Rwanda has taken strong measures towards reducing the disease as well eradicating it completely. However, travelers are advised to always vaccinate themselves before coming to Rwanda and use insect / mosquito repellants in areas prone to the disease. Rwanda is completely free from dangerous epidemics like Ebola, Cholera and more diseases.
The Rwandan Genocide
This is one of the horrible occurrences to ever befall Rwanda, and a major land mark in the country’s turbulent history. The Rwandan genocide happened in the year 1994, following the bombing of a plane carrying the then Rwanda’s Hutu president – Juvenile Habyarimana. In a way of revenge, the dominant Hutu waged a civil war to kill the Tutsis who were responsible for a liberation war that brought the current president Paul Kagame to power.
During this time, over 1 million Tutsi Rwandans were killed brutally by the Hutus and over 2 million displaced, majority went missing, families torn apart, travel and tourism was put on standstill, especially in the central and northern parts.
Thanks to the change of government after all this turmoil, because the lesson learnt from genocide has seen Rwanda develop into a very safe haven for tourism. The government has done all its best to sensitize the locals and reassure the entire world about a positive and safe future for both Rwandans and the travelers.
Traffic & Road Safety in Rwanda
Most roads in Rwanda are well tarmacked, including many of those connecting to various national parks and other tourism destinations throughout the country. However, due to the fact that most roads pass through steep mountains, sometimes they maybe slippery and poorly lit, but the recommended speed in Rwanda is 40km/hr. to avoid any likelihood of accidents or slip-off.
Public transportation in Rwanda is completely safe in Rwanda, with the most common being Motorcycles around Kigali and for shorter distances. For longer distances to the country side, public buses are available; these are completely safe even for the women travelers and solo travelers; however avoid to travel at night.
While most travelers to this East African country should always take heed of minimum safety and security precautions as advised by their respective countries of origin from time to time, Rwanda is generally a safe country which should be explored with reasonable confidence.