- 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
High Degree of Caution
Travel to Rwanda
There are no COVID-19 restrictions in place for travel to Rwanda from Ireland. There is no requirement to present certificates of vaccination/testing for COVID-19 or to complete a Passenger Locator Form.
General Travel Advice
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.
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 there is an emergency, or if you need help and advice, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Kampala in Uganda +256 417 713 000.
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.
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.
Entry requirements - (visa/passport)
Irish citizens require a visa to enter Rwanda.
Irish citizens travelling to Rwanda can apply for an eVisa online. Passengers can also acquire a 30 day entry visa upon arrival.
Passports 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. 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.
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.
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
Tel: +256 417 713 000
Fax: + 256 414 344 353
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.