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 US 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 classified as low income. Located in central Africa (north of Burundi and south Uganda), the climate is classified as humid equatorial (long dry season) in the east, with cooler temperatures in some high-altitude areas.
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 certificate proving yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers aged ≥ 1 year coming from countries with risk of YF transmission. This does not apply to airport transit stops (no exit through immigration checkpoint) in risk countries.
Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your visit, your health care provider may offer you vaccination against COVID-19, Ebola virus disease, 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 US Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
WHO—International Travel and Health (current online update, Country List)(2018) Malaria risk due predominantly to P. falciparum exists throughout the year in the entire 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.
- Drug resistance3 : Chloroquine.
- Malaria species: P. falciparum 90%, P. vivax 5%, P. ovale 5%.
- Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or tafenoquine.4
3 Refers to P. falciparum malaria unless otherwise noted.
4 Primaquine and tafenoquine can cause hemolytic anemia in people with G6PD deficiency. Patients must be screened for G6PD deficiency before starting primaquine or tafenoquine. See Tafenoquine Approved for Malaria Prophylaxis and Treatment for more information.
See also: Library article for Travelers' Diarrhea
High risk exists throughout the country, including in deluxe accommodations. Community sanitation and food safety measures are generally inadequate. Some itineraries (e.g., remote destinations, austere accommodations) and activities (e.g., ecotourism, eating street or local-market food) further increase risk.
Travelers should observe food and beverage precautions, which 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
Other Disease and Health Risks
The material below includes information from the US Department of State (DOS), the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development 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). US (DOS), UK (FCO), and Canada (GAC) have no current warnings.
No intrinsic risk of attack by terrorist groups exists, but unforeseen attacks are possible.
Low risk of violent crime (armed robbery and home robbery) and low risk of petty crime exist throughout the country, mainly in Kigali and in crowded places.
Theft of valuables from unattended vehicles and accommodations is common.
Protests and demonstrations may infrequently occur and have the potential to turn violent without warning. Bystanders are at risk of harm from violence or from the response by authorities. Disruption to transportation, free movement, or the ability to carry out daily activities may occur.
Armed conflict occurs, a dangerous security environment exists, and armed groups are present in areas bordering Burundi and the Democratic Republic of 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 more than 24 per 100,000 population, the highest risk category. Carefully assess the safety of transportation options before any road travel.
There are no restrictions on mobile phone usage while driving.
Structural standards for vehicles may not meet international standards.
The US Federal Aviation Administration has determined that the civil aviation authority of this country oversees its air carriers in accordance with minimum international safety standards.
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] 252-554-800; travel.gc.ca/assistance/embassies-consulates/rwanda
- United Kingdom: [+250] 252-556-000; 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.