Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 14 January 2020, 11:57 NZDT
  • Still current at: 24 February 2020

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Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to Rwanda's borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi due to the unpredictable security situation, and the risk of banditry and cross-border incursions by armed groups.

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Rwanda due to crime.

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Border regions
Due to ongoing tensions, borders with the DRC and Burundi could close without notice. If you travel to these areas, be vigilant as the security situation could deteriorate with little warning.

In early August 2018, Ebola was detected in the North Kivu province of the DRC. As a result of this, the Rwandan government has put in place screening procedures for Ebola at all entry points into Rwanda, including land borders and international airports.

Security issues and civil unrest
Grenade attacks have occurred from time to time in recent years, particularly in Kigali and Musanze. These incidents have killed and injured a number of people. Genocide memorial sites, markets, bus stops and taxis have previously been targeted.  

New Zealanders in Rwanda are advised to be security-conscious in public and crowded places and follow any instructions issued by the local authorities. Avoid all demonstrations, protests and large public gatherings as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent with little warning. Monitor the media for new security risks.

Although crime levels in Rwanda remain relatively low and violent crime is rare, petty crime (such as bag snatching and pickpocketing) does occur, particularly in crowded places. Incidents of armed robbery, theft from hotel rooms, residences and vehicles have been reported in Kigali.

New Zealanders are advised to avoid walking or travelling alone at night and guard personal belongings carefully. When travelling by road you should keep doors locked and windows up at all times. We advise avoiding wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as electronic devices, cameras and jewellery.

Avoid using minibuses and motorbikes. Only use licenced auto taxis, which have an orange stripe on the side.

General travel advice
New Zealanders travelling or living in Rwanda should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

Authorities may ask for proof of your identity, so carry a colour photocopy of your passport and visa for Rwanda at all times. Failure to produce these could result in detention.

Photography of government buildings, airports, military sites and public monuments is prohibited, and could result in detention. If in doubt, don’t take a picture.

Laws about appropriate speech regarding the genocide are strictly enforced. Promoting ideas based on “ethnic, regional, racial, religious, language, or other divisive characteristics” is prohibited and can result in imprisonment and fines.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

New Zealanders in Rwanda are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

The New Zealand Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is accredited to Rwanda

Street Address Bole Sub City, Woreda 09, House No 111, Behind Atlas Hotel/close to Shala Park, (Namibia Street), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Postal Address New Zealand Embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private Bag 18-901 Wellington Mail Centre 5045, Wellington Telephone +251-11-515-1269 Fax +251-11-552-6115 Email Web Site Hours Monday – Friday, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm Note In an emergency or if you require urgent assistance, please call the Embassy on +251 11 515 1269. Outside of business hours you will be redirected to an after-hours duty service.

See our regional advice for Africa

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Ethiopia

Street Address
Bole Sub City, Woreda 09, House No 111, Behind Atlas Hotel/close to Shala Park, (Namibia Street), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Telephone: +251-11-515-1269

Fax: +251-11-552-6115



Hours: Monday – Friday, 9am-12pm & 1pm-4pm

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