Tourist Safety and Security Uganda, Rwanda

There are currently no tourist security threats within Uganda or Rwanda, but you should get up-to-date information if you plan to cross the border into Burundi and/or the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), an armed group that includes former soldiers and supporters of the toppled Hutu regime in the 1994 genocide, operates in eastern DRC, near to the border with Rwanda. In January and February 2009, Congolese and Rwandan troops carried out a combined offensive against the FDLR inside Congo. However the FDLR does not pose any serious security threat inside Rwanda. Infact the security situation in the great lakes is more stable today (2012) compared to the past years.
The U.S department of state usually gives a good observation of the security situation in Rwanda below:
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1007.htm

General Safety Tips on a safari in Africa

  • Packaged safaris have minimal safety risks as your tour guide will get updates about the area you are about to travel. Keep to small groups and don’t take a lift from a stranger when you are on your own.
  • Read the local news; in Uganda and Rwanda many local daily news papers and Radio stations broadcast in English and French, and websites like http://newvision.co.ug,http://monitor.co.ug are updated with top stories in the region daily.

Safety Tips within Cities:
The central areas of the larger cities (kampala and Kigali) have a very minimal criminal element that can prey on unwary tourists.

  • Do not walk alone in apparently deserted places especially at night; wherever possible walk with a group.
  • Be on the look out for pickpockets and bag snatchers
  • Do not carry more cash than required.
  • Do not wear expensive jewellery.
  • Keep a photocopy of the first few pages of your passport, visas and air tickets, separately from the original documents.
  • Keep close to your tour guide.

Safety on Roads:

  • When driving in Africa there are a few simple rules, drive carefully and slowly (speed kills), remember animals and humans can cross the road at any time (quite often just in front of you), try never to drive at night, stay alert as roads are often poorly maintained and pot holes are to be found.
  • Another fairly common occurrence are vehicles in poor mechanical conditions.
  • Always wear your seat belts.
  • If you are renting a car, keep the doors and windows locked while driving in the major cities.

Safety on Safari (in the field):

  • Always listen to your guide!
  • When visiting wildlife areas do not walk into the bush without your guide!
  • Do not approach any wild animals: It is dangerous!
  • Do not swim in any rivers (common presence of crocodiles and hippos)!
  • Never feed any animals, however inquisitive they may appear to be!

If unsure of any area, approach the local police station or tourism office for further advice and guidance.