When to Go
Best Time For Gorilla Trekking
For most visitors, the question of when to go to Rwanda is usually better phrased as when to go for gorilla trekking. And that’s easy: the best time to go to Rwanda for gorilla trekking is during its two dry seasons: the first from mid-December to early February and the second from early June to late September. You’ll enjoy the easiest hiking conditions, the best gorilla sightings and the lowest malaria risk.
And if you are planning when to go to Rwanda for a gorilla trek that also includes other great experiences in Africa, then Rwanda’s two dry seasons combine well with some of the continent’s best holiday destination sat their peak.
The December to February trekking season coincides with the Serengeti wildebeest migration and its all-action birthing season as well as Africa’s favourite city, Cape Town, sitting under sunny summer skies.
Meanwhile, the June to September trekking season is when the wildebeest migration crosses crocodile-filled rivers between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara and also sees southern African destinations – the Kruger Park, Botswana, Victoria Falls and Namibia – at their best for safaris: it’s the driest time, the coolest weather, the easiest game viewing and the lowest malaria risk.
Rwanda has a warm and humid climate as you’d expect in an equatorial setting but thanks to high elevations, temperatures in the rainforest might be lower than you think. There’s not much difference in daily temperatures throughout the year – monthly averages are in the mid to late 20s Celsius (late 70s toearly 80s Fahrenheit) – and it’s best to be forewarnedthat gorilla trekking destinations are often cold and wet.
Travellers to Rwanda can expect rain at any time of year but there are two distinct rainy seasons: the ‘long’, heavy rains of March, April and May and the ‘short’ rains of October and November. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is not particularly recommended at these times as the rains can be heavy and the gorillas harder to find. Travel to Rwanda during its wettest months – April and November – can present challenges; trekking through the jungle is extremely difficult and there may be weather-induced delays in flights or road transfers.
Note that although the most comfortable time to go chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest is during Rwanda’s dry seasons, food is often scarce at these times and the chimpanzees forage deeper in the forest. The chimp families are generally easier to find during the wetter months when food is more abundant. Bird watchers will find birding in Rwanda excellent all year round but especially in the October to April summer months when migrant species are present.