The health risk information presented here is summarized from Shoreland Travax®, a decision-support tool used by health care providers to perform a detailed health risk analysis based on specific locations, individual travel styles, and traveler risk behaviors. Travax provides practitioners current, independently researched malaria risk and prevention recommendations in a map-based format that goes beyond the annual WHO and CDC statements included here. Not included here are current reports from Travax of disease outbreaks or environmental events that may pose elevated risks to travelers’ health and safety. The Providers section of this site offers a directory of health care providers who utilize Shoreland Travax for travel health counseling. Learn more about the detailed reports and maps available from these practitioners (includes links to samples).
Rwanda is a developing nation in the lowest 25% of the world's economies. Located between Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa, its climate is temperate with 2 distinct rainy seasons.
See also: Library article for Yellow Fever
An official yellow fever vaccination certificate may be required depending on your itinerary. Vaccination is usually recommended if you’ll be traveling in areas where there is risk of yellow fever transmission.
- Requirement: A vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged ≥ 1 year coming from countries with risk of YF transmission. Some airlines reportedly may impose a boarding requirement for proof of YF vaccination for travelers coming from nonrisk countries, despite Rwanda's published declaration to the contrary under the International Health Regulations.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, rabies, or typhoid fever. Routine immunizations, such as those that prevent tetanus/diphtheria or "childhood" diseases, should be reviewed and updated as needed.
See also: Library article for Malaria
The following is current information as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)(2015) Malaria risk due predominantly to P. falciparum exists throughout the year in the whole country.
- Recommended prevention: C – Risk of P. falciparum malaria, in combination with reported chloroquine and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine resistance. Mosquito bite prevention plus atovaquone–proguanil or doxycycline or mefloquine chemoprophylaxis (select according to reported side effects and contraindications) a
aAlternatively, for travel to rural areas with low risk of malaria infection, mosquito bite prevention can be combined with stand–by emergency treatment (SBET).
WHO Country List footnote: When available, the date of the most recent update or confirmation is indicated in parentheses in the country list. If no date is indicated, the most recent update or confirmation was provided before 2013.
CDC—Health Information for International Travel (current online edition)Areas with malaria: All.
- Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: Moderate.
- Drug resistance4: Chloroquine.
- Malaria species: P. falciparum >90%, P. vivax 5%, P. ovale 5%.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine.
4 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
High risk exists throughout the country, including in deluxe accommodations. Food and beverage precautions may reduce the likelihood of illness.
Travelers should carry loperamide for self-treatment of diarrhea and, if risk is moderate to high, an antibiotic to add if diarrhea is severe. Consult a knowledgeable health care provider regarding which antibiotic is appropriate for you and most effective for your destination.
Insect- and Arthropod-Borne Diseases
African trypanosomiasis may pose a risk. Personal protective measures are important.
Other Disease and Health Risks
The material below includes information from the U.S. Department of State (DOS), U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), as well as from additional open-source material. Standard safety precautions that apply to all international travel can be found in the Library article Safety and Security.
Consular Travel Advice
Due to ongoing security concerns and military conflict, Australia (DFAT) advises reconsidering travel (or avoiding nonessential travel) within 10 km (6.2 mi) of the borders with Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the towns of Gisenyi, Kibuye, and Cyangugu (Western Province). U.S. (DOS) has a more limited warning. U.K. (FCO) and Canada (GAC) have no current warnings.
Low risk of attack by domestic terrorist groups exists throughout the country. Targets may include domestic and international organizations and businesses; public places and events, including those frequented by tourists; and transportation systems.
Low risk of violent crime (armed robbery) and risk of petty crime exist throughout the country, mainly in Kigali.
Scams involving ATMs have been reported.
Protests and demonstrations may infrequently occur and have the potential to turn violent without warning.
Armed conflict occurs and a dangerous security environment exists in areas bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Other Safety Threats
Risk exists for fatal wildlife attacks on safaris and in game parks and reserves, including in Akagera, Nyungwe, and Volcanoes national parks. Travelers should closely follow park regulations, always maintain a safe distance from wildlife, and should not exit vehicles or protected enclosures.
Significant risk of traffic-related injury or death exists. The road-traffic death rate is greater than 24 per 100,000 population, the highest risk category. Carefully assess the safety of transportation options before any road travel. Driving at night is not advised. Seek local advice before traveling on roads outside urban areas after dark.
Traffic flows on the right-hand side of the road. Travelers (including drivers and pedestrians) accustomed to traffic moving on the opposite side should be vigilant when navigating traffic.
Public buses and mototaxis do not meet international safety standards (due to unsafe vehicles, poor maintenance, and hazardous driving).
The rainy season is from February through May and from September to December. Floods, mudslides, and landslides may occur.
Seismic and volcanic activity frequently occurs, especially in northwestern areas.
Selected Embassies or Consulates in Rwanda
- United States: [+250] 252-596-400; rw.usembassy.gov
- Canada: [+250] 252-573-210; travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates/rwanda
- United Kingdom: [+250] 252-556000; www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-high-commission-kigali
- Australia: Australia does not have an embassy or consulate in Rwanda.
Rwanda's Embassies or Consulates in Selected Countries
- In the U.S.: www.rwandaembassy.org
- In Canada: rwandahighcommission.ca/en
- In the U.K.: www.rwandahc.org
- In Australia: rwandacg.org.au
HIV testing is not required to obtain a tourist, work, or residence visa.