When choosing the best time to visit Rwanda for a safari, consider the country’s many seasons as well as your motivations for travelling. Rwanda offers it all: gorilla trekking, Big Five safaris, forests and mountains.
Because the “Land of a Thousand Hills” sits a few degrees south of the equator, it has mild weather all year with little temperature difference. It’s a high-altitude country, starting at 1,000 meters above sea level, so it’s cooler and more comfortable than its low-lying neighbours. It is, however, a high-rainfall country, which is responsible for the lush rainforests that its primates and birds like.
The best time to visit Rwanda for a safari is between June and September when wildlife watching is at its peak. Rwanda, like much of East Africa, offers ideal conditions and acceptable year-round temperatures, making it difficult to pinpoint the best period to visit as a country that can be visited all year. Here’s a quick guide to the best time to visit Rwanda for a safari.
The Best Time to Visit Rwanda for a Safari to see Wildlife
The only savannah reserve in Rwanda is Akagera National Park, where there is a chance of seeing the Big Five thanks to recent rhino and lion reintroductions. Plains species like giraffes, zebras, impalas, and topis are also widely present. The park is really beautiful and the birding here is ideal for twitchers. The entire year can be spent exploring Akagera National Park, but the best time to see wildlife in the park is during the dry season (June to September). A dry period in the Wet season from mid-December to mid-February is also a wonderful time. The dense forest thins out and wildlife concentrates around the lakes, making it easier to spot animals.
Best Time to Visit Rwanda for Gorilla Trekking
Those looking to visit Rwanda for gorilla trekking should definitely visit Volcanoes National Park. It is one of the best locations in the world to see critically endangered mountain gorillas. The National Park is where Dian Fossey first introduced mountain gorillas to humans many years ago. Nature enthusiasts opting to explore Volcanoes National Park can also enjoy a variety of other activities, including tracking down golden monkeys and hiking the many forest trails.
Volcanoes National Park is accessible for hiking and gorilla trekking throughout the year. Gorilla sightings are generally always possible and are not weather-dependent, but it can be difficult to obtain a permit with short notice. Hiking is undoubtedly easier during the dry months of June to August.
Best Time to Visit Rwanda for Chimpanzee Trekking
Chimpanzee families are significantly more nomadic than gorilla families, which tend to settle in one location for the day. Because they come from the heights of the forest canopy to feast on the ripening fruit at the understorey level during the wet season, they are consequently a little easier to spot. While trekking conditions improve during the drier months, it becomes more hit-and-miss as they spread into the heavily forested slopes.