Rift Valley fever(RVF) virus is an arbovirus in the Bunyaviridae family that, from phylogenetic analysis, appears to have first emerged in the mid-19th century and was only identified at the beginning of the 1930's in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. Despite being an arbovirus with a relatively simple but temporally and geographically stable genome, this zoonotic virus has already demonstrated a real capacity for emerging in new territories, as exemplified by the outbreaks in Egypt (1977), Western Africa (1988) and the Arabian Peninsula (2000), or for re-emerging after long periods of silence as observed very recently in Kenya and South Africa. The presence of competent vectors in countries previously free of RVF, the high viral titres in viraemic animals and the global changes in climate, travel and trade all contribute to make this virus a threat that must not be neglected as the consequences of RVF are dramatic, both for human and animal health. In this review, we present the latest advances in RVF virus research. In spite of this renewed interest, aspects of the epidemiology of RVF virus are still not fully understood and safe, effective vaccines are still not freely available for protecting humans and livestock against the dramatic consequences of this virus.