When to go to Rwanda
Like most national parks and reserves in East Africa, the best time to visit Rwanda is the June to October period which is the dry season. This period lies in-between the rains so the conditions for activities like gorilla tracking, chimpanzee tracking, game drives and forest hikes are best. The period between December and March is also a good time to visit the country, although the festive period can often be very busy so make sure you plan well in advance.
Dry Peak Season
December to March
This period is another good opportunity to visit Rwanda, as it is after the short rains of November, and before the long rains arrive in April. Sometimes the rains arrive early in late March so we’d advise traveling early March if that is your desired month. Obviously the festive period – between Christmas and New Year in particular – is busy so if you would like to travel over this time, please book at least a year in advance.
Short Rainy Season
April to May
This is the rainy season in Rwanda, and across most of East Africa. These rains arrive in countries like Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, and can often be intense downpours. While these are often sporadic and heavy downpours in the morning and late afternoon, the rains can last all day and will, inevitably, make the forests and national parks denser and thicker in vegetation. This makes the forest floors very slippery and difficult for trekking. The mountain gorillas also tend to move to higher ground during the rains so your gorilla hike may be longer than other times of the year.
June to October
This is regarded the best time of the year to visit Rwanda. This period offers warm and dry conditions, making it perfect for activities like gorilla tracking, chimpanzee tracking and game drives. This is also the busiest time of the year to visit Rwanda, especially the July and August months during school holidays. That said, there is a minimum age of 15 years for gorilla tracking. We would recommend booking at least 9 months (ideally a year) in advance for your Rwanda safari and gorilla trek, to ensure you get your desired accommodation. There is also a limited number of permits available each day so it’s definitely advisable to book in advance.
This is the period of shorter rains, which usually arrive mid November. These are shorter and less intense rains than the April- May rains, but they can still be heavy and sporadic downpours. That said, activities like gorilla tracking and chimpanzee tracking are still possible to do and, with the right clothing, it is still very much an enjoyable experience. We would highly recommend taking waterproof trousers, waterproof jackets and coverings for your personal bags and any camera equipment.
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