Best Time to Visit Rwanda to See Gorillas

Best Time to Visit Rwanda to See Gorillas

Best Time to Visit Rwanda to See Gorillas : Mountin gorillas in Volcanoes National Park can be seen year-round, however the best time to visit is during the long dry season of June to September or during the dry season of mid- December to early February.  During these two dry seasons, days are clear and hiking conditions are easier.

Note: it is also possible to see mountain gorillas during the rainy season, however the trek through the tropical jungles of Volcanoes National Park can be challenging. The trails will be muddy and slippery.

The off season in Rwanda has its own benefits ranging from discounted accommodation rates to fewer crowds in park meaning you might find yourself meeting a gorilla family with only a handful of other trekkers.

Here is a Monthly Guide for Visiting Gorillas in Rwanda

January

January is one of the best times of the year to visit Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park to see mountain gorillas and is a great opportunity to marvel at the breathtaking scenery of this beautiful hilly country.

January is part of the short dry season running from mid-December to February. Rwanda’s climate is very similar throughout the year but it may differ depending upon which area you are staying in.

During the dry season, there are often light clouds across the country offering refreshingly, light rainfall as well as being able to moderate the temperature.

Expect fairly dry landscape but being in the Virunga Mountains where gorillas live, weather can be little unpredictable and rain can come at any time of the day.

February

The weather in February is relatively similar to January and marks the end of short dry season, the beginning of the month will be drier than the end making February a great time to visit Rwanda to see gorillas and other wildlife safari experiences.

However, landscapes means that if you are looking to hike elsewhere in the country, canoe or even climb a volcano without the worry of rain cutting it short. This is a good choice along with January and December.

However, if you are planning to visit Rwanda gorillas during the dry season, keep in mind that prices are higher as it coincides with peak season, so you need to plan well in advance.

March

This month marks the beginning of the long rains in Rwanda which usually last until mid-May, the rain throughout the country in March can be very heavy and persistent but it can also stop as soon as it starts.

The rainforest flourishes under these downpours with green, luscious flora. However, during this time it should be considered that gorilla trekking in Rwanda can be relatively challenging. You will need good quality rain gear to brave the dense, wet forestry areas during this time of the year.

April

This is the peak of the season of the long rains in Rwanda with the average rainfall at 186mm, the highest all year. When decided on the thigs to do in Rwanda, it is better to know that mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park will be difficult at this time of the year.

The montane forests of Volcanoes National Park will be wet, slippery and the rains can often be relentless making the hiking difficult. However, you can still track gorillas in Rwanda at this time and safari lodges and camps remain open as they do year round.

May

By mid-May, the rains in Rwanda start to reduce, this is the best time to visit Rwanda to see gorillas. If you want to avoid the crowd of tourists and may have better chance of grabbing a last – minute gorilla trekking permit, May falls into the breeding season and skies are filled colorful birds.

June

This month marks the beginning of the long dry season in Rwanda and the start of the peak time for visiting Rwanda, though it remains fairly quiet until we get into July and August due to the summer holidays in Europe.

The dry season lasts until September and is a popular time to see gorillas in Rwanda, some of the reasons which make June a great time is the light cloud cover during this time of the year and it makes for a comfortable climate for gorilla trekking.

July

July is one of the best times to visit Rwanda to see gorillas, this month is part of the peak season in Rwanda that is why you need to plan well in advance.

This time of the year is the start of the summer holidays for European and American schools meaning that hotels, lodges, safari camps and tourists activities in Rwanda fill up fast.

August

Weather conditions in August are very similar to July with warm and dry weather which makes this month popular to visit to see gorillas in Rwanda, it is also considered the best time to visit Rwanda to see gorillas.

Just like July, August is an extension of the peak season in Rwanda, so we strongly suggest that you book your Rwanda gorilla safari well in advance to ensure that you will be able to secure places for your dream accommodation as well as gorilla trekking permits.

September

September marks the end of the long dry season, the temperatures remains the same pretty much but there is increased precipitation, particularly towards the end of the month. After three months of the dry weather, September can be little humid but nothing too bad usually.

The highlight of Rwanda in September is the annual Kwita Izina Ceremony, this is when all the baby gorillas born over the previous 12 months are named.

October

This month marks the start of short rains in Rwanda, unlike the long rains in March and April. Rain showers are often in quick heavy bursts and should not affect your day too much, sometimes you can get odd thunderstorm too which can be incredibly dramatic especially if you get to watch from the comfort of your lodge.

With the extra precipitation, trees and plants start to flower making the landscapes ever greener and that bit more beautiful bringing with them lots more birdlife and butterflies.

This means October can be excellent for photographer and for birding. You could also take advantage of lower costs on gorilla trekking permits, hotels and lodges.

November

In Rwanda, November is a continuation of the short rains and the weather is similar to that of the end of October. Rain comes in short heavy bursts with an average of 140mm for the month as a whole. Similar to October, though this is not considered to be the best time to visit Rwanda to see gorillas, these incredible creatures can be spotted foresting on the jungle floors.

Rainfall can come at any time of the year anyway, so no matter when you travel to Rwanda, you should always be prepared for with rain gear. The gorillas at this time can take shelter during the rains themselves or youngster can play out is the droplets.

December

This is an excellent time to visit Rwanda to see gorillas as it marks the end of the short rains and start of the short dry season.

It is a peak month, so you will need to book well in advance of travel to secure the safari accommodation you want and make sure you get hold of those ever-challenging gorilla trekking permits. Lodge prices can reflect the high season too.

FAQs About The Best Time to Visit Rwanda To See Gorillas

  1. What is The Best Month to Visit Rwanda

The best time to visit Rwanda to see gorillas is during the drier period from June to September when you have the best chance at spotting the mountain gorillas.

The rainy seasons that is from March to May and in November are the optimum times for tracking chimpanzees, it is also quieter them.

  1. How Much Does it Cost to See Gorillas in Rwanda?

As of 2024, the cost of a single gorilla permit in Rwanda is US$ 1,500 for international visitors. The price is discounted to US$ 200 for citizens of Rwanda as well as East Africa. For the foreigh residents of Rwanda and citizens of other African countries, the permit costs US$ 500.

  1. How Difficult Is The Trek To See the Gorillas in Rwanda?

The trek in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is relatively difficult and is always easiest to trek in the dry season, In the wet season, the mud can make trails slippery and the trek tougher. Primates may also seek refuge from the rain in nests or trees making them harder to find and see.

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