Is Rwanda safe for tourists?
If you’re planning a trip to Rwanda, you’ve probably wondered, Is Rwanda safe for tourists? Gondwana’s answer is a wholehearted “Yes!” It is common knowledge that political instability and a civil war left permanent scars on the country. However, don’t let this deter you from travelling to Rwanda! The country has rebuilt into a vibrant, progressive space with an emphasis on community growth and preserving its natural resources.
Over 20 years have passed since 1994’s Rwandan genocide, but the tragedy still affects the population who experienced violence and loss first hand. The 2004 film Hotel Rwanda brought the world’s attention back to the Rwandan Civil War and Genocide. Though this film thankfully served as a reminder for this part of history, the current state of Rwanda is a much more peaceful place than the historical film represents. Currently, Rwanda has the highest percentage of women in parliament in the world. The Rwandan government and community have worked tirelessly to recover from the violence. Gondwana’s Rwanda Ecotour includes a visit to the genocide museum in Kigali, providing travellers with a cultural experience that highlights both the dark and light times of the country’s history.
Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, is known as one of Africa’s safest and most modern cities. Kigali has experienced dramatic economic growth in the last few years. World class restaurants, impressive hotels and a vibrant arts and culture community have turned the capital into a model city for the rest of Africa. One way that Kigali is uplifting it’s population is through building strong communities and helping people overcome poverty. Aspire Rwanda is a non-profit in Kigali that helps marginalized women learn life skills for an empowered future. Gondwana’s Rwanda trip participates in a cooking class led by the students at Aspire, and a portion of the trip’s sales are donated to this organization.
Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park is one of Rwanda’s biggest tourist attractions. Volcanoes is one of three national parks where the critically endangered mountain gorillas can be found, and has a high concentration of these primates. Though violence and guerrilla activity is known to exist in the Congo’s Virunga National park, there is no known threat of guerrillas in Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes is considered to be especially safe because tourism and gorilla trekking bring in thousands of travellers each year. Mountain gorilla treks are very regulated, and trained guides and trackers lead travellers safely through the park. The government and park rangers strive to keep this area safe to promote ecotourism, the safety of the gorillas, and the conservation of their habitat.
As with all travel, it is important to use common sense about safety wherever you go. Tourists need to be be vigilant and aware of their surroundings and valuables at all times. When you don’t know the language or customs, it can be difficult to know what hotels, restaurants, or tour guides to trust. Joining a small group tour with a trusted travel company like Gondwana can take a lot of the stress out of planning your vacation. Join Gondwana’s Rwanda Ecotour to see the cultural and natural highlights of this unique country.