What is the Best Time to Visit Rwanda? 2022 Rwanda Safari Best Time
Rwanda is with no doubt an all-year-round African safari destination. There are many reasons why tourists visit Rwanda including gorilla trekking, game viewing, chimpanzee tracking and to enjoy Rwanda safari, the long and short dry season are the best time. The two dry seasons are the best time to Visit Rwanda because of the ideal weather conditions that come with them.
The short dry season to consider embarking on Rwanda safari runs from December, January and February. The long dry season is another time of the year best to visit Rwanda safari and occurs from June, July, August to September. The two drier spells make it easier for trekkers to hike through the bamboo forest while searching for mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park.
Rwanda lies within East-Central Africa just close to the Equator. Due to its close proximity to Equator, it is essential to carry waterproof gear such as hiking boots that are comfortable regardless of whether you plan to go Rwanda safari holiday during dry season or wet season. The weather in Rwanda is unpredictable and prior preparation is essential for you to have the most enjoyable Rwanda tour.
All the two dry seasons are perfect not only for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park but also other primate safaris like golden monkey tracking, chimpanzee tracking, game viewing, hiking, nature walks and more.
The negative bit about the dry season though is food scarcity especially for mountain gorillas and chimpanzees making them move to far places looking for what to feed on.
The advantage the dry season is Rwanda safari best time is a fact that there is low or no rains recorded in Rwanda National Parks;
Volcanoes National Park mountain gorilla paradise, Nyungwe Forest National Park a home to 13 primate species and only place to go canopy walk in East Africa, Gishwati-Mukura National Park chimpanzee tracking destination and Akagera National Park for big five game safaris.
During the two dry seasons, these parks remain drier making it easier navigating through compared when it is a wet or rainy season.
Dry season is also considered to be high or peak season for most of the National Parks in Rwanda. Most safari lodges or hotels in Rwanda and gorilla permits are on high demand and better to have everything booked early before the actual date of visiting Rwanda for a holiday.
Wet/Rainy Seasons to Visit Rwanda
Wet or rainy season occurs in two phases every year and amazingly, visitors on Rwanda safari have something unique to experience during this period of the year.
The two wetter/rainy seasons occur from March, April to May- considerably the longest rainy/wet months of the year often experienced in most of the Rwanda safari parks. The shortest rainy season/months of the year; October to November.
The wetter/rainy season is also the low season in most National Parks in Rwanda. And if you are interested in the best weather conditions, then June, July to August. The months with worst weather are March, April and these are months when forest trails become slippery.
Temperatures in Rwanda
Temperatures in Rwanda do vary from season to season but no so much due to the country’s close proximity to Equator crossing. Day time, it can be warm and cool most nights. Rwanda often experiences pleasant day temperatures rising from 25 to 28 degrees Celsius.
February to May- Rwanda experiences the most moderate climatic conditions. June to September are ideal for primate lovers and fact that Rwanda is largely a primate safari destination.
They are the Rwanda safari best time to visit National Parks such as Volcanoes National Park for gorilla trekking, Nyungwe Forest National Park and Gishwati-Mukura National Park for chimpanzee tracking.
What to pack for Rwanda Safari Tour?
Hiking boots- find good trekking boots and preferably, get waterproof ones if you heading off for gorilla trekking or chimpanzee tracking in Rwanda. Gorilla trekking Rwanda includes trekking through the jungles, high altitude to search for endangered mountain gorillas. This requires lightweight trekking boots to ease hiking.
Rain jacket- rains/weather conditions in Rwanda National Park is generally unpredictable and a good rain jacket or poncho is essential. This is regardless if you are planning to go Rwanda safari in June, July, August, September or December, January to February.
Gardening gloves- gloves are essential for all tourists on gorilla safaris in Rwanda. They are important for protecting your hands when you get hold of something for support such as thorny trees or itchy plants.
Long trousers/shirts/blouses- carry long and comfortable long trousers or shirts for your gorilla trekking safaris or chimpanzee tracking. Find environmentally friendly clothes and don’t come with bright colors.
Camera plus extra batteries- cameras are essential regardless of Rwanda safari- game drive, birding, gorilla trekking, golden monkey tracking, volcano hiking, chimpanzee tracking or nature walk.
Other items to carry for Rwanda safari include insect repellent, daypack (waterproof), pair of binoculars, hat, sunglasses, hand sanitizers, snacks, bottled water, visas, passports and more.
Rwanda Safari Activities & Destinations
Gorilla trekking is a unique Rwanda safari activity and a major reason why consider Rwanda their bucket-list destinations. In Rwanda, all gorilla safaris are done in Volcanoes National Park where a section of unique mountain gorillas live.
Rwanda Volcanoes NP protects 13 gorilla groups including Pablo, Sabyinyo, Agashya, Bwenge, Umubano, Amahoro, Susa A, Hirwa, Susa B/Karisimbi and more. 8 visitors are allocated to only a single gorilla group and he or she should have a valid gorilla permit, each costing USD1500.
Golden Monkey Tracking
Golden monkey tracking, a chance to interact with golden monkeys in the wild. Golden monkeys in Rwanda can be trekked while on Rwanda safari in Volcanoes NP and permits cost USD100 per person. Golden monkey trekking adventures in Rwanda begin at 7:30am at Kinigi and overall, you will spend 2-4 hours.
Rwanda is undoubtedly a significant primate destination with varied primates, 13 species of which thrive within Nyungwe Forest National Park and a good portion are in Gishwati-Mukura National Park.
Nyungwe is Rwanda’s top visited chimp tracking safari park and located in Southern Rwanda. There are also many other wildlife sheltered within Nyungwe National Park including 310 bird species, 32 amphibian species, over 1000 plant species, reptiles to mention but a few.
Of the 4 National Parks in Rwanda, Akagera National Park is the only savanna park located in the Eastern side of the country. Akagera National Park offers unforgettable wildlife viewing experience in Rwanda and the park expands on 1122sq.kms of land area.
Gazetted in 1934, Akagera is a beautiful place to enjoy a game drive in the morning or afternoon, offering you a chance to see wildlife such as lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, giraffes, antelopes, birds and more.
Akagera National Park also offers unforgettable boat or launch cruise. This is conducted on Lake Ihema Akagera NP and offers tourists a chance to see hippos, crocodiles, water birds and others. There is a morning and afternoon boat cruise for tourists on Rwanda safari to enjoy while in Akagera National Park.
Sport fishing in Rwanda is best offered on Lake Shakani, Akagera National Park. This is a great opportunity to catch incredible species of fish.
Canopy walk in Rwanda is a unique experience any nature lover on Rwanda safari should consider on their bucket list. This is a unique experience not only in Rwanda but also in East Africa. Canopy walk Nyungwe Forest was launched in 2010 and it offers amazing aerial view of Nyungwe Forest canopy, birds and primates.
There are many hiking safari opportunities in Rwanda. The top hiking spots in Rwanda include Mount Karisimbi 4507m. Karisimbi takes 2 days for hikers to complete hiking an offers breathtaking views of Nyiragongo volcano in D.R. Congo’s Virunga National Park and surrounding areas.
Visoke hike leading to magical Crater on 3711m and this can take hikers 1 day. Other places to go hiking on Rwanda safari include Muhabura, Gahinga- all located in Volcanoes National Park; Mount Kigali, Congo Nile trail 227km long likely to cover 10 days) and others.
Rwanda a home to about 700 bird species is undoubtedly one of the best birding destinations you should expect visiting in Africa.
There are numerous bird watching spots to explore while on birding safari in Rwanda including Nyungwe Forest National Park (310 species of birds), Akagera National Park (520 bird species), Volcanoes National Park (200 species) and Gishwati-Mukura National Park. The other spots include Lake Kivu, marshlands, montane areas and more.
Other Rwanda safari activities include Kigali city tour, community tours, visit tea/coffee plantations, Twin Lakes tours, guided nature walks, helicopter tours.
Where to stay in Rwanda
All categories of accommodation are available in Rwanda ranging from budget to luxury safari lodges, hotels and camps.
The top accommodation facilities to book on Rwanda safari include Kingfish Beach Hotel, Virunga Lodge, Hotel des Mille Collines, One&Only Gorilla’s Nest, Kwitonda Lodge, One&Only Nyungwe House, Bisate Lodge, Magashi Tented Camp, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, Serena Hotel Kigali and others.