Best Time To Visit Rwanda | Best Time To Go To Rwanda On Safari | What Is The Best Time To Visit Rwanda
Rwanda is regarded as a year-round African safari destination. But the best time to visit Rwanda is usually in its two dry seasons: June to September and December to February. This is the best time to see gorillas in Rwanda. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is the undisputed highlight of a safari in Rwanda.
You can go for a Rwanda gorilla safari in Volcanoes National Park outside these optimum times of year but bear in mind that the dry seasons offer by far the easiest trekking conditions. Dry seasons are the best time to go to Rwanda for Chimpanzee trekking in Rwanda‘s Nyungwe Forest National Park. And it is when Rwanda wildlife safari game drives and boat cruises in Akagera National Park are at their prime.
However, regardless of the time of year, trekking to see mountain gorillas in Rwanda is an out-of-this-world experience and can be done all year round. For more information on when to go to Rwanda, you can use our detailed guide below or simply enquire with our Rwanda safari expert.
Best Time To Visit Rwanda Determined By Rwanda Weather By Months
Rwanda’s weather underlies the question of when is the best time to visit Rwanda.
Since it is located near the Equator, you might expect Rwanda to have a hot tropical climate. But, Rwanda boasts a pleasant warm tropical highland climate. This is because it sits at a relatively high altitude and has a hilly topography, giving it the name “The Land of a Thousand Hills”.
Temperatures in Rwanda vary considerably between locations depending on their altitude, but very little from month to month in the same place. Like other African safari destinations, Rwandan weather is divided into dry and rainy seasons.
Dry Season In Rwanda – The Best Time To Visit Rwanda
Rwanda has two dry seasons; June to September and December to February.
In most of the country, there is little rainfall in these months, although it can rain at any time in the rainforest. In the east of the country where Akagera National Park is located, afternoon temperatures are usually around 27°C.
In the mountain parks of Volcanoes National Park and Nyungwe National Park, it is a lot colder. The daytime temperatures are from 16°C to 21°C. You may wish to carry some warm clothing for evening and early morning wear.
Rainy Season In Rwanda – The Fair Best Time To Visit Rwanda
Rwanda has two rainy seasons: March to May and October to November.
Nyungwe Forest and Volcanoes National Park tend to be very wet. Daytime temperatures are about 20°C and it drops to 16°C. April is usually the wettest month in Rwanda. It tends to rain most days, although seldom for the whole day in the drier east part of the country.
Note: Like the rest of the African continent, Rwanda has its share of unpredictable changing weather patterns due to global warming.
The Best Time To Visit Rwanda (Best Time To Go To Rwanda) Per Month & Rwanda Safari Highlights Of Each Month
Read our month-by-month guide to find out more about the best time to visit Rwanda. This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a Rwanda holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters, cultural ceremonies, and festivals.
Visiting Rwanda In January
Is January a good time to visit Rwanda? January is a very good time to visit Rwanda, as it is part of the first dry season. Conditions are usually warm and sunny.
It is a great month for Gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking adventures in Volcanoes NP, Chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe Forest, wildlife game viewing in Akagera National Park, and all other outdoor safari activities in Rwanda.
January can also be fantastic for birding tours in Rwanda, with plenty of migrant bird species found in the forests. However, the New Year can be a very popular time of year to travel and Rwanda safari lodges book up early. Luxury lodges prices in January tend to be high due to high demand.
- Weather is generally, although with some rainy spells.
- It’s a popular time of year to travel, particularly around New Year.
- You are advised to book your Rwanda gorilla permit and lodges in advance
- January is good for birding with migrant species present.
Visit Rwanda In February
February concludes the first dry season in Rwanda. The weather at this time is relatively similar to January, but the beginning of the month will be drier than the end. Your days are likely to be warm, however, as with the rest of the year nights can be cold, particularly in Volcanoes NP which is at a higher altitude.
February is a great time to track chimps and gorillas on the same Rwanda safari. It can also be a good time of year to combine your gorilla trekking in Rwanda with gorilla trekking in Uganda or other Uganda safaris.
You can even combine your Uganda Rwanda safaris with a Tanzania safari to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti National Park as the vast herds gather in February on the southern Serengeti plains for the calving season.
- The start of the month will be drier than the end
- Cold nights and warm days, particularly in Volcanoes.
- Migrant birds present with great birding to be had.
- It’s a good time of year to combine with the Tanzania safari in Serengeti
Visiting Rwanda In March
March marks the first rainy season in Rwanda that continue through to May. The rain can be heavy and persistent, but it can also stop as soon as it starts.
Generally, March is not a great time to visit Rwanda, as hiking becomes tough. You can still visit Rwanda at this time, taking advantage of lower prices at luxury Rwanda safari lodges. There is also good availability of Rwanda gorilla trekking safari permits.
January is also very good for photography as the rain clears the air and it is likely to be far less hazy at this time. This green season can be particularly good for birding in Rwanda, with many migrant species visiting the country at this time.
Chimp trekking in Nyungwe Forest becomes easier during this time of the year, as their food is plentiful. Chimps are not likely to travel as far. They stay relatively close to the forest floor, often in large groups, and stay quite stationary, happy with the delicious fresh fruits on offer.
- Gorilla trekking conditions are not ideal due to heavy rains
- Good availability of gorilla permits and low accommodation prices
- Bird watching in Rwanda is good; there are plenty of migrant species
- Usually, you hike short distances on chimpanzee trekking
Visiting Rwanda In April
April is usually the wettest month in Rwanda. The average rainfall is around 150mm. You can still visit Rwanda in April but expect heavy rain and muddy conditions in the mountains which makes gorilla trekking tough.
April is the low season for luxury safari lodges and hotels in Rwanda. Prices can be cheaper at this time. And because few people go for a safari to Rwanda in April, it is likely to be fairly quiet and reasonably easy to get gorilla permits.
The 7th of April marks ‘Kwibuka’, an annual ceremony that begins three months of remembrance for the victims of the horrifying 1994 Rwanda genocide, when almost 1000,000 million Tutsi people were massacred by the majority Hutu in 100 days. The whole country enters a period of reflection during this time and several events are held in commemoration.
- Heavy rains are expected throughout April
- Easy to secure gorilla permits due to few visitors
- Luxury lodges offer a much lower price
- Bird watching is good in April
- 7th April is time for the Kwibuka – genocide memorial ceremony
Visiting Rwanda In May
In May, there is still a large amount of rainfall in Rwanda. However, it will often start to dry up as the month progresses.
And any rainy spells are likely to last a few hours rather than all day. Trails can be muddy underfoot when trekking gorillas and Chimps in the rainforests, but if you don’t mind the wet conditions, don’t be put off booking your Rwanda gorilla safari in May. You’re advised to wear gaiters on treks.
May also offers great photographic opportunities to visitors on Rwanda tours, as the air can be clear, without any haziness. For many luxury Rwanda safari lodges, May is classed as the low season, which can make this month great value for money, with fairly good weather and comparatively low prices.
- There is still a large amount of rainfall in Rwanda
- It will often start to dry up as the month progresses
- Prepare for muddy conditions when trekking the gorillas
- Great photographic opportunities due to good air clarity
- Good value for money if you’re looking at a luxury Rwanda safari
Visiting Rwanda In June
June is one of the best times to visit Rwanda, as it marks the beginning of the second dry season which lasts up to September.
The weather is fantastic and rainfall typically averages only around 20mm. It is likely to be warm and dry during the day. Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park can be very good, but you’re likely to experience mud underfoot in parts.
Rwanda is exceptionally popular in June. Luxury lodges in Rwanda regularly fill up well over a year in advance, so we advise planning your Rwanda safari early. And lodge rates tend to rise significantly. Gorilla permits sell out quite far in advance, so it is a good idea to secure them as soon as possible – we’ll do this for you when you book your safari in Rwanda with us.
- Excellent gorilla trekking conditions
- Luxury lodges increased their prices and trips can be relatively expensive
- It is a very popular time of the year, you’re advised to book in advance
Visiting Rwanda In July
Is July a good time to visit Rwanda? July is of the second dry season in Rwanda. It is also part of the best time to visit Rwanda as the conditions for gorilla trekking, chimpanzee trekking, wildlife game viewing, and hiking are excellent.
Expect long dry days, although always with the off-chance of rain at some point during your Rwanda safari tours. As with the rest of the year, average temperatures in July are around 20-25oC during the day, though nights can be cold.
Like June, July is a very popular time to go to Rwanda for safaris. We advise that you book the Rwanda gorilla permit and accommodation in Rwanda months in advance. The price for luxury accommodation in Rwanda can be very high in July. However, many of the mid-range hotels and lodges have the same prices throughout the year, making these options great values at this time of the year.
- Perfect conditions with dry weather for much of the month.
- A very popular time for Rwanda holidays with limited gorilla permits.
- Book in for the best choice of accommodation.
- Luxury Rwanda trips can be expensive at this time of year.
- Same price throughout the year for many mid-range lodges in Rwanda
Visiting Rwanda In August
Is August a good time to visit Rwanda? Like in July, Rwanda’s weather in August can be very good. We advise if you’re planning a safari to Rwanda in August to plan early. Many of the more popular Rwanda safari lodges will regularly book up well in advance at this time.
August is also a great time to combine your Rwanda gorilla safaris with a Tanzania wildlife safari in Serengeti National Park, as the wildebeest migration is in full swing, with the vast herds being up near the Mara River.
You have a great chance to encounter the Mara River crossings, one of the best wildlife encounters on Earth. Your August safari in Rwanda also combines well with a Uganda and Kenya safari.
- It’s a fantastic time to visit Rwanda, with dry weather and great conditions
- Book in advance; this is a popular time for Rwanda safari holidays
- High prices at luxury lodges
- Perfect time to combine your Rwanda safari with a safari in Tanzania
Visiting Rwanda In September
September marks the end of Rwanda’s first dry season.
Rains tend to increase towards the end of September, but you’re likely to experience dry conditions for the most part. Be prepared for rain showers and cold nights. This month remains a popular time to visit Rwanda, especially for those combining the gorillas with the wildebeest migration.
The Kwita Izina which is the official naming ceremony for all baby gorillas born in the past year takes place every year, usually in September. It’s a time of celebration for everyone involved in their conservation. The exact date varies. Please contact us if you would like to plan your Rwanda tour around this event.
- Expect some rains but weather conditions in Rwanda are typically good
- Early booking of your Rwanda safari trip is advised
- Great time of year to combine gorillas and the wildebeest migration.
- The Kwita Izina, baby gorilla naming ceremony is usually in September
Visiting Rwanda In October
By October, the second rain season has typically begun.
The month’s rainfall averages around 110mm, and normally falls in short, heavy bursts. You’re likely to have plenty of dry spells too.
Like the rest of the year, days can be warm and nights cold, especially around Volcanoes National Park. Here, lodges set log fires to keep you warm in the evening. Many tourists choose to travel to Rwanda at this time. Prices remain high for luxury lodges and early booking is recommended.
- The increased amount of rain, but it’s a good time to visit Uganda
- Days are warm however nights can get cold.
- October is popular, especially for the luxury Rwanda safari lodges.
- Prices remain high at the top end of the spectrum.
Visiting Rwanda In November
In November, rains continue in Rwanda.
This can be the wettest months of the year, but can still be a good time to visit Rwanda, as there are like to be plenty of dry periods and gorilla trekking in Rwanda can still be done.
But expect muddy conditions. Luxury Rwanda safari lodges, hotels, and tented camps drop their prices in November, making it much more affordable for luxury accommodation.
- It’s one of the wettest months, however, Rwanda gorilla safaris are still possible.
- Far less busy, making it easier to secure Rwanda gorilla permits.
- Reduced prices for luxury accommodation in Rwanda.
- Special offers to encourage travel to multiple national parks.
Visit Rwanda In December
The first dry season of Rwanda starts in December and typically runs up to January. Though not as ideal as June and August, the conditions at this time can be typically good. You can still expect some rain at this time.
If you have a preferred lodge in mind, you are advised to book early as many people choose to travel to Rwanda for holidays during Christmas and New Year.
- It is dry season, but rain is still possible.
- Conditions for gorilla treks in Rwanda can be good but expect mud.
- Expect cold at night, so warm clothes are advised.
- Very popular over Christmas, early booking recommended.
The best time to visit Rwanda is during her pleasantly warm and tropical climate with insignificant variations in temperatures, making it good to visit year-round. But depending on what you plan to do in Rwanda– like safari game drives, boat cruises, gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda, Chimpanzee tracking, or bird watching tours – some months offer better weather conditions than others.
Our safari experts are happy to create tailored Rwanda safari for you and can advise you about the best tie to go to Rwanda for your safari based on your safari preferences and interests.