Guhonda the Silverback, Rwanda

The best time to visit Rwanda

There are many factors to consider when looking at the best time to visit Rwanda. On balance, June to September is a perfect time to visit during the longer dry season where skies are clear and there is little chance of rain.

Travellers exploring the country will undoubtedly want to catch a glimpse of one of its most enigmatic creatures, the mountain gorilla; the lack of rain at this time makes the paths easier to navigate and photography is better. This is a fantastic time to view wildlife in Akagera as the vegetation is thinner and game is drawn to the remaining water. Chimpanzee viewing in Nyungwe Forest is also great as paths are less slippery and the vegetation is thinner.

Explore the best time to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Visiting Rwanda in January

high season

January is a part of the short dry period and a great time for gorilla trekking as the hiking conditions are easier and the risk of malaria is at its lowest. There are often light clouds across the country, offering a more moderate temperature. Expect fairly dry terrain, but the weather in the Virungas can be a little unpredictable no matter the time of year.

Visiting Rwanda in February

medium season

The weather is relatively similar to January, with the start of the month being drier and the start of the rains traditionally beginning at the end of the month.

Visiting Rwanda in March

low season

March is the start of the rainy season which continues until mid-May. Trekking for primates, including gorillas and chimpanzees, still continues but expect to get wet and muddy.

Visiting Rwanda in April

low season

April follows suit with the rain, making it more difficult to hike around the Virungas, but if you are looking to track chimpanzees in the Nyungwe area this is still a good time. As the fruits start to ripen, the chimpanzees make their way down to the lower parts of the forest canopy and are easier to spot.

Visiting Rwanda in May

medium season

Rains can linger, but the parks are lush and verdant, with newborn animals taking their first steps in the world. For avid birdwatchers, May falls into the breeding season and the skies are filled with colourful birds. This is also a good month to avoid the crowds.

Visiting Rwanda in June

high season

June marks the start of the peak time for travelling to Rwanda and is a great time to track mountain gorillas. With the rain less likely, the ground is getting drier making the ground a little more stable underfoot. Wildlife sightings become more common, so it is a popular time of year and prices start to rise accordingly.

Visiting Rwanda in July

high season

If you are wishing to travel in July make sure to plan well in advance. Gorilla permits can be booked up to 15 months in advance and with this being the start of the European and American summer holidays, lodges and activities will fill up quickly.

Visiting Rwanda in August

high season

August has very similar conditions to July, so we recommend booking well in advance. This is a particularly good time for Akagera National Park as there are only a few areas of permanent water, meaning that animals gather in higher numbers to drink.

Visiting Rwanda in September

high season

There is more rainfall towards the end of September as we come to the end of Rwanda’s dry season. It is still a great time for gorilla trekking and often when the Kwita Izina ceremony takes place. This is the official naming of the baby gorillas and a celebration of the country’s conservation efforts. It is interesting, but lodges and camps are often completely booked out by officials and visiting dignitaries, so things can change at the last minute and thousands of people descend on the area.

Visiting Rwanda in October

medium season

October brings short bursts of rain that clear to reveal blue skies and a wonderful clarity of light. Another good time for photography. Trees and plants start to flower, making the landscapes ever more green and bringing lots of birdlife with it. This is still a great month to track gorillas if you do not let a little mud and rain deter you.

Visiting Rwanda in November

medium season

For chimpanzees, this is a great time to travel to Rwanda. Whilst the rain increases, the higher level of rain causes fruits to ripen, bringing the chimpanzees more out into the open in the lower forest canopy. This is a great time to combine mountain gorillas with golden monkeys and chimpanzees if you don’t mind the odd shower. Birding starts to improve.

Visiting Rwanda in December

high season

December is another peak time to travel to Rwanda as the weather becomes drier and the short dry season starts. Given the holidays, it is important to book well in advance. Trekking for mountain gorillas could quite possibly be the best Christmas present ever!

Rwanda climate guide

Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall.

Maximum Temperature (°C) Monthly Rainfall (mm)
Lake Kivu
Nyungwe Forest
Volcanoes National Park

Explore Rwanda

  • Kigali
  • Lake Kivu
  • Nyungwe Forest
  • Volcanoes National Park
  • Akagera National Park
Young wet gorilla, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Rwanda Holiday Inspiration

Rwanda has become synonymous with gorilla trekking, but this holiday also showcases the diverse wildlife and landscapes elsewhere in this fascinating country. As well as trekking for endangered mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Virunga Massif, explore the lakes, savannah and hills of Akagera in the east, and the chimpanzee inhabited forests of western Nyungwe.

11 days

from $18,828 pp

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