The best time to visit Rwanda...
As like much of East Africa, Rwanda offers good conditions and comfortable year-round temperatures so as a country that can be visited throughout the year, it’s hard to define a best time to go. That being said, particularly for seeing the gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park, there are months that are deemed better for conditions for trekking than others so please see the below information.
June to October
The months of June to early October present the long, dry season in Rwanda and as a result, are the best conditions for gorilla trekking. The primates that are endemic to the Volcanoes National Park (mountain gorillas and golden monkeys) are common and easier to see, as well as other resident animals such as elephant and buffalo. Because of such good conditions, these months in Rwanda are deemed as the peak season to travel. If you are looking to travel during these months, we highly recommend booking in advance to guarantee availability on the accommodation and gorilla permits (as only eight permits per gorilla family are issued daily).
Late October - November
The month of November brings the short rains to the country, and although they are less intense and sporadic than the long rains of April and May, the rainfall does represent a “green season” across Rwanda. The trees and plants thrive off the rainfall and as a result, birding in Nyungwe Forest, Volcanoes National Park and Akagera National Park is prolific at this time of year. In regards to the gorilla trekking, this month can sometimes present slightly tougher trekking conditions than the drier months in the year as the forest can be wet and muddy. Overall, the forest is lush and vibrant, with dense green vegetation for the gorillas to wander through.
December - February
After the short rains in November, the period of December to February present dry and great conditions for visiting Rwanda. The dry terrain makes the trek one of the easiest throughout the year and the risk of malaria is also lower. It is worth bearing in mind though that the festive period in Rwanda is particularly busy and accommodation prices do tend to rise during these months.
March to May
This period is the long rainy season across Rwanda and East Africa generally and throughout the day, heavy downpours can be expected, especially in the mountainous regions. This is not the best time for gorilla trekking as the walk can be quite challenging with wet and muddy conditions. On the other hand, during the rainy season, mountain gorillas do tend to stick to the lower slopes, as temperatures are warmer and food is more accessible for them. This means that, although you will have to trek through thick mud and dense vegetation, the distance of the trek to see the gorillas will generally be shorter than other times of the year. In Nyungwe Forest, this period is one of the best times to go for those wanting to see the chimpanzees as the primates tend to more stationary, lower on the trees and residing in larger groups.