Rwanda

Summary

Ireland does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Rwanda.  As such, it is not possible for us to objectively verify information and ensuring that it is accurate, appropriate and up-to-date.  Likewise, the level of consular assistance and support we can provide to Irish citizens in times of emergency may be limited.  Emergency consular assistance, advice and support may be sought through resident offices of other EU member states; the British Embassy in Kigali has often provided assistance to Irish citizens and the Irish Embassy in Uganda maintains links with it.

Irish citizens require a visa to enter Rwanda.  Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; no additional period of validity beyond this is required.  For detailed entry requirements for Rwanda, please contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate for Rwanda.  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.

Irish citizens should exercise caution when travelling near the Rwanda-DRC border given the possibility of renewed fighting.  You should be alert to the possibility of incursions, stray bullets or artillery fire entering Rwanda. 

Random grenade attacks have occurred in Rwanda.  You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.  

Safety and Security

You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

Events associated with the conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have occurred close to the Rwandan border. You should be alert to the possibility of incursions, stray bullets or artillery fire entering Rwanda.  There are many points where the Rwanda-DRC border is not clearly 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 06:00 and 18:00. Both borders are liable to short notice closure and you should not rely on them as a point of exit from DRC. If you are crossing regularly between Rwanda and the DRC you may encounter immigration difficulties if you have not regularised your residency status. Take care when travelling near the border with Burundi due to instability in Burundi’s border area.

Gorilla trekking is available as part of organised tours in the Parc National des Volcans (also known as Volcanoes Park). The park authorities do not permit gorilla trekking that is not undertaken as part of an organised tour.

There was a grenade attack in Nyabugogo market in Kigali on 26 July 2013 and on Kimironko taxi park in Kigali on 26 March 2013. Both attacks resulted in fatalities and a large number of injuries. During 2011 and early 2012 there was a series of grenade attacks throughout Rwanda, predominantly in Kigali. There were some arrests and convictions, but it remains unclear who was behind these attacks. Further indiscriminate attacks cannot be ruled out, including in places frequented by foreigners. You should remain vigilant.

Levels of crime remain relatively low in Rwanda, but there have been reports of bag snatching and mugging incidents targeting foreigners.

You should take sensible precautions. Take care when walking at night. Pre-arrange transport. Don’t carry large amounts of money and don’t leave cars unsupervised in the town centre.  Please ensure that your passport is secure at all times.

The road infrastructure from Kigali to all major towns is generally good but roads can be narrow and winding. Please note that driving is on the right side.  There can be landslides on some of the major roads during the annual rains in late spring and autumn.  Road travel after dark should be avoided as roads are unlit and driving standards are poor. We strongly advise against taking shared taxis or motorbike taxis due to the high rate of accidents.

Local Laws and Customs

Plastic bags are banned in Rwanda and any visible bags may be confiscated on arrival.

Photography of public buildings is prohibited.

Natural Disasters and Climate

The last recorded earthquakes in Bukavu (eastern DRC) and Cyangugu in South-West Rwanda were on 3 February 2008. Both caused a number of fatalities.  

During the two rainy seasons (February to May and September to December), intense thunderstorms are frequent. Roads may become impassable to all but four-wheel-drive vehicles. Landslides and floods are common during these seasons. Travellers should keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

Additional Country Info

Emergency treatment and/or evacuation are very expensive in Rwanda.  It is therefore strongly recommended that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance (including medical evacuation) before travelling.

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We encourage citizens travelling to this destination to register their contact details here
 Rwanda

Security Status

  1. Take normal precautions
  2. Exercise caution
  3. Exercise extreme caution
  4. Avoid non-essential travel
  5. Do not travel