This small landlocked Central African country sits just south of the equator. Australians visit mainly for treks to see the mountain gorillas, often as part of a multicountry African itinerary.

The following information provides some broad and general guidelines about health risks and recommendations for travel to Rwanda . This should not be taken as a substitute for a personal consultation with one of our travel health doctors, whose advice will be specific for you and your trip and may include other issues not mentioned here.

  • Plan Head - Calendar/Itinerary?

    Six to eight weeks out from departure is a good time to have a travel health consultation. You may need blood tests to check immunity to diseases or need a course of vaccines like rabies for example, and this gives you plenty of time to get everything completed. If you are travelling sooner however it's not too late for an appointment, simply make one as soon as you can.

  • Mosquito's and Bugs

    Mosquitoes transmit a number of viruses including malaria which in Rwanda is a problem year round. While there are medication options to reduce the risk of malaria, mosquito avoidance is the only way to prevent many of these diseases.

  • Eating/Drinking

    Travellers diarrhoea, giardia and dysentery are just some of the illnesses caused by contaminated food and water. Tap water in Rwanda is generally not safe to drink

  • Vaccine Recommendations

    Travellers should be up to date for routine childhood vaccines such as tetanus, measles and hepatitis B. Any of the following vaccines may also be recommended – hepatitis A, typhoid, rabies, influenza. Yellow fever, and an international certificate of vaccination will be required if arriving from or travelling to adjacent countries where transmission occurs. Decisions regarding which vaccines are most appropriate depend on duration and nature of travel, itinerary, age, underlying medical conditions and past vaccination.

List of Common Health Issues

  • Hepatitis A

    Hepatitis A is vaccination is usually recommended for travel to Rwanda.

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  • Typhoid

    A food and water borne disease, typhoid vaccination is often recommended.

  • Rabies

    Avoid being bitten or scratched by any mammal. Consider pre-travel rabies vaccination, especially if travelling more extensively through Africa. Thoroughly rinse and disinfect any animal wound and seek prompt medical care for post exposure vaccination and wound care.

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  • Influenza

    Influenza is one of the most common vaccine preventable illnesses in travellers. In tropical climates there is no 'flu season', risk being all year round.

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  • Malaria

    Risk is high year round below 2500m. Most cases are falciparum malaria, the most serious form. Mosquito avoidance is essential. Preventative medication should be discussed with one of our doctors. Different options are available. We have malaria maps and knowledge to help guide this decision making process. Any fever after travel to malaria risk areas requires assessment and an urgent blood test to exclude malaria, whether or not preventive medication has been taken.

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  • Travellers’ diarrhoea & respiratory illness

    Observe strict food and water safety precautions and observe good hand hygiene. Consider taking a self treatment medication and first aid kit with guidelines for use. Those with underlying medical conditions, pregnant women / the elderly or young should speak to their doctor or us about the wisdom of trekking to remote locations often visited in Rwanda. Medical facilities are extremely limited and not up to Western standards.

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  • Schistosomiasis

    Caused by microscopic parasite in lakes (such as Lake Kivu) and rivers, which penetrate the skin. The lifecycle leads to migration in different stages through various organs over weeks to months, leading to chronic infection. Avoid skin contact with slow moving fresh water. If exposed, a test and if required treatment, are available on return

  • Accidents, alcohol, illicit drugs and tattoos

    Examples include motorbike accidents on poorly lit/maintained roads (wear a helmet), surfing injuries, near drowning, fights and assaults, twisted/broken ankles from potholes in footpaths, and exhaust pipe burns. Alcohol may be tainted/spiked. Be sensible. Make sure you and your friends look after each other and pack a first aid kit. Tattoos carry the risk of HIV/ hep B and C. Drugs carry the risk of jail time or worse.

  • Motor vehicle accidents and security

    Risk is highest on secondary roads. Avoid minibuses/motorbikes/unlicensed taxis especially at night. Be aware of personal security. Avoid travel within 10 km of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi because of armed conflict. Follow the Australian government’s Smartraveller website for up to date information.

  • Sexually transmitted illness

    Avoid the risk of HIV and other STD’s, which are all of much higher risk in Africa than Australia.

Latest Health Alerts

  • COVID 19 (Coronavirus)

    March 29, 2020

    As there is no non-essential overseas travel at this time this article will simply remain as an information resource for COVID-19. See our main COVID-19 page for more detailed information. We hope to be able to inform our travelers once again after this crisis passes. The links below remain trustworthy

  • Sri Lanka – Dengue Fever

    January 9, 2020

    Over 48,000 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Sri Lanka since 1st October 2019, a significant increase in incidence. Travellers should observe strict mosquito avoidance measures, particularly during daylight hours.

  • Solomon Islands – proof of measles vaccination required

    December 19, 2019

    As a result of recent outbreaks of measles in various countries, the Solomon Islands' will be requiring arriving travellers from/via American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Philippines, Samoa, or Tonga to show proof of measles vaccination, effective December 28th 2019. Vaccination needs to have been at least 15 days prior and