Travel Alert Status
Level 3: Reconsider Travel
Rwanda-Burundi Border—Exercise Increased Caution
The Nyungwe Forest National Park abuts the border with Burundi. Borders may not be clearly marked. It is required to obtain permits from the Rwanda Development Board prior to entry. Relations between Burundi and Rwanda are tense and there have been cross-border incursions and armed clashes.
Rwanda-Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Border—Exercise Increased Caution
Armed rebel and militia groups operate in DRC’s North and South Kivu provinces and Virunga Park. Borders may not be clearly marked and there have been cross-border incursions and armed clashes. It is required to obtain permits from the Rwanda Development Board prior to entry to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, which is adjacent to Virunga Park.
Safety and Security
There are currently no daytime travel restrictions in place for official U.S. citizens within Rwanda, but please review U.S. Embassy Kigali’s security messages for U.S. citizens in Rwanda.
In April 2012, conflict broke out in the eastern DRC between the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) and the M23, an armed group comprised of formerly integrated soldiers who defected from the FARDC. Ongoing fighting between those forces and among other armed groups has caused thousands of Congolese to enter northwest Rwanda as refugees. The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling near the Rwanda-DRC border given the possibility of renewed fighting.
In mid November 2012, cross-border fire landed within the borders of Rwanda in the vicinity of Gisenyi. One week later, there was an incursion by armed militants in the vicinity of Mudende. In early December 2012, a small element of armed individuals crossed the border from Eastern DRC and attacked a ranger camp northwest of Kinigi. The attack, which occurred just south of Volcanoes National Park, left one ranger dead. The Government of Rwanda has accused the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) of responsibility for these incursions. The FDLR is an armed group that includes former soldiers and supporters of the regime that orchestrated the 1994 genocide and that continues to operate in eastern DRC, near the border of Rwanda.
Grenade attacks aimed at the local populace have occurred on a recurring basis over the last five years in Rwanda. The most recent attack took place on March 26, 2013 at Kimironko vehicle park; one bystander was killed and several were injured. The Embassy urges you to remain vigilant, exercise caution, and avoid crowds, demonstrations, or any other form of public gathering.
An area of potential concern is the Mount Nyiragongo volcano, just outside the eastern DRC town of Goma and near the Rwandan border. The volcano is active and last erupted on January 17, 2002 killing 47 people, destroying 15% of Goma and leaving 120,000 people homeless. Rwanda is also located in a seismically active region. In January 2008, an earthquake centered in eastern Congo killed 39 people and injured about 700, including residents of the Rwandan border town of Cyangugu. In November 2012 an earthquake centered in southern Uganda was felt as far south as Kigali.
On occasion, travel by U.S. Embassy personnel may be restricted based on changing security conditions. For safety reasons, U.S. Embassy personnel are prohibited from driving outside Kigali city limits after dark (6:00 p.m.), and are not permitted to use motorcycle-taxis or mini-bus taxis.