Visiting stunning Rwanda should be on any avid travelers bucket list, with incredible wildlife, and breathtaking natural beauty in every corner of this nation. But the question of safety is an important one, especially with the Rwandan Genocide fresh in the minds of many around the world. With almost all visitors to Rwanda spending some time in Kigali, it’s natural to therefore wonder: “Is Kigali safe?”
Thankfully, Kigali remains one of the safest capital cities to visit in Africa, if not the safest, but crime does still exist, and there are things tourists must be aware of.
So, how safe is Kigali? Is Kigali safe for female travelers? Here’s our run down of what you need to know when visiting Kigali:
How safe is Kigali: Crime
Whilst robberies, petty theft, and violent crime are all relatively uncommon in Rwanda, Kigali is the most likely place in the country where such an attack could take place.
The vast majority of visits to Kigali will encounter no problems, but there are a few things to be aware of.
Unfortunately, there have been increased reports of thefts and muggings targeting foreigners in recent years. Bag snatching, and targeting cars in traffic jams have been reported. Therefore be vigilant and take precautions. Keep bags secured and attached firmly to your person when out and about, and keep car doors locked when driving.
Make sure to not leave valuables in parked cars, and try to avoid carrying large amounts of cash, or valuables with you when walking around Kigali.
Furthermore, pickpockets operate at Kigali bus station and busy markets.
Is Kigali safe at night?
Kigali is generally regarded as relatively safe at night, but like in any big city or capital, vigilance is always important, and crime does occur at night.
It’s best to avoid walking alone in badly-lit areas of the capital at night, and areas away from popular hot-spots. If walking around at night, it’s advised to walk in a group, or if alone, a taxi is a good option – ask your hotel, guide or a friend for a trustworthy taxi recommendation.
How safe is Kigali for female travelers?
Kigali is probably one of the safest African cities to visit as a solo female traveler, however attacks against women have taken place in the past – albeit they are rare.
Solo women should avoid walking alone at night (use a recommended taxi), and be wary of drinks being offered by strangers.
Is Kigali safe for LGBTQ travelers?
Being LGBTQ is not illegal in Kigali, but discrimination still exists in Rwanda. Whilst Kigali does have a few bars that are LGBTQ friendly, it’s advised to be relatively discreet as Rwanda remains quite conservative in comparison to many Western nations.
Terrorism in Kigali
Terrorism in Kigali and Rwanda is almost unheard of, which adds to Kigali’s reputation of being a safe tourist destination.
However with cities in the wider region experiencing attacks at busy public spaces, such as football stadiums and malls, terrorist activity can’t be completely ruled out.
Is water safe to drink in Kigali?
Whether the water is safe to drink in Kigali or not depends on who you ask, but for a visitor to the country it is highly recommended to buy bottled water, or to boil tap water before drinking it.
How safe is Kigali to visit?
Kigali’s reputation as a safe city is a well earned one, and the city remains a safe one to walk around, explore, and enjoy. However, while crime and robbery is rare, pickpockets do operate and so visitors must still remain vigilant.