When is the Best Time to Visit Rwanda?

When is the Best Time to Visit Rwanda?

When is the Best Time to Visit Rwanda?

Get to know When is the Best Time to Visit Rwanda?. Stable weather makes June to September the best time to visit Rwanda. During these drier months, fewer rain showers make conditions perfect for seeing the gorillas. If you want to explore the great outdoors we recommend avoiding the long rainy season of March to May.

Rwanda has two wet seasons and two dry seasons, each showing a different side of the African Great Lakes region. In October, the country sees a short period of rain showers, followed by a dry season from December to February and a longer rainy season during the months of March to May. Over that period, the rain can be heavy and may make visiting some areas more challenging.

One of Rwanda’s main draws is the opportunity to go gorilla trekking but there are also other reasons to head to this lush central African country. There are three national parks to explore and a large wildlife population, as well as burgeoning tea and coffee industries.

When is the Best Time to Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda?

For many travelers, the main reason for visiting Rwanda is, understandably, the chance to see gorillas. And while it is possible to go gorilla trekking throughout the year, the best possible times are during the dry patch from mid-December to the beginning of February, and over the longer dry season from June to September. Drier weather means a lower risk of contracting malaria, as well as easier hiking through the forest terrain, which can be muddy and treacherous in wet weather. Because Rwanda is so close to the equator, it is wise to pack waterproof gear even during the dry months, as the weather can be unpredictable.

Gorillas aren’t the only attraction: you can also go chimpanzee trekking. The best time for that, if you’re visiting Nyungwe National Park, is during the rainier parts of the year – the middle of February to the beginning of June, and the middle of September to the middle of December. During these periods, it’s easier for guides to find the animals. In the drier seasons, the chimpanzees tend to venture further into the denser parts of the forests to find food, and so it’s not as easy to locate them.

The best time to go to Rwanda by season.

The best time visit Rwanda is from mid-May to mid-October, this is the long dry season and has perfect conditions for tracking gorillas. There are four seasons to consider when planning your Rwanda safari, however the weather is fairly temperate and favor travel year round, thanks to its compact size, proximity to the equator and high altitude, which gives it a fresh highland feel and consistent temperature. The average daytime temperature is around 30°C or 86°F. The capital of Kigali enjoys an average temperature of 21°C or 70°F.

You can track gorillas year round in Rwanda, however you will want to bear in mind that the rainier months will make tracking more difficult with muddy conditions.

March – mid-May

This is Rwanda’s long rain season, and it can be unrelenting, which is particularly marked in the mountainous regions. Gorilla tracking is less suited to this period, although if you are looking to track the chimpanzees in the Nyungwe area this can be an optimum time, as the figs and fruits within the forest ripen and they tend to be seen lower down in the trees eating, are more stationary and also seen in larger groups.

Mid May – mid-October

This is the long dry season with ideal conditions for gorilla tracking in Volcanoes National Park and for visiting the Rwanda wildlife overall, so if you have complete flexibility with your dates we would recommend travelling during this time. Animal sightings are more common at this time, with golden monkeys and mountain gorillas as well as habitat tolerant species such as buffalo and elephant all more visible in the dry season. As gorillas reside in the rainforest, we still recommend taking waterproof clothing even during these drier months. This is also peak season in Rwanda, so prices can be higher.

Mid-October – November

A short rains period, these months can also be great for birding, as trees and plants are flowering and visible birdlife is prolific, and it is even possible to enjoy specialist birding trips (specifically late November/early December or late May). Green seasons also make for excellent photography conditions, with rains tending to be quick and heavy before clearing to blue skies – ideal for capturing scenery.

December – February

Another peak time to travel, this short dry period is better for animal sightings. The drier periods can also be ideal for those looking to hike, canoe or climb, with no need for shelter from rain. Lodge prices tend to be higher during these busier times of the year.

When to go if you want to see:

  • Chimpanzees: Nyungwe Forest is one of the largest areas of montane forest with its 13 species of primates – the most popular trek is for chimps. The best time is outside of the rainy season.
  • Gorilla Doctors: You can visit the gorilla doctors any time of the year when you organize in advance through us.
  • Golden Monkeys: Seen in Volcanoes National Park avoiding the rainy season months of April, May, and November.
  • Mountain Gorillas: You can track the mountain gorillas all year-round. We advise you avoid the rainy season months of April, May, and November.

Best Time to:

FEB-MAY, Enjoy a Cuppa

The moderate climate and rich volcanic soil are responsible for tea being Rwanda’s main export. Hills and mountain sides are blanketed in tea plantations, and some of the producers around Nyungwe offer tours. Learn about how tea is grown, harvested and eventually makes its way to your cup. If tea isn’t your thing, there are also a large number of coffee plantations, with Rwanda’s beans being exported far and wide. As harvest time approaches the coffee cherries turn a dark red, transforming the emerald green fields, between February and May. Some producers are beginning to welcome visitors and offer tours, but it’s not as wide-spread as the tea industry.

JUN-SEPT, Visit the National Parks.

Besides its wildly popular primates, Rwanda also has a wide variety of other animals across its three national parks. The dry season is ideal for the best viewing opportunities. In addition to spotting gorillas at Volcanoes, and chimpanzees and monkeys at Nyungwe Forest, look out for giraffes, elephants and other animals at Akagera. Although the horrific genocide that swept the country in 1994 resulted in the decimation of the lion population, several lions were donated to Akagera in 2015. Bird watchers can look out for close to 700 species of bird spread across various regions. Nyungwe Forest alone has around 280 species.

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