Best time to visit Rwanda on safari

Best Time to Visit Rwanda – As many travellers plan to go to Rwanda for safari, one of the questions they ask themselves before booking the safaris to Rwanda is the best time to go to Rwanda for a safari, like other safari destinations in the world.

The best time to go to Rwanda for a safari solely depends on the climate/season in Rwanda which determine the conditions of doing a certain safari activity and experience got on the safari.

Best Time to Visit Rwanda

Best Time to Visit Rwanda

Generally the best time to go to Rwanda for a safari is from mid- May to Mid-October, this period is a long dry season in Rwanda characterized with average daytime temperature of 30°C or 86°F and less amounts of rainfall are received.

The weather conditions in this period are fairly temperate which greatly favors travelling to Rwanda and carrying out safari activities in various Rwanda safari destinations. The dry season in Rwanda is the best time for safari activities such as game viewing in Akagera national park, mountain gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park, chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest national park, bird watching, hiking and many other activities.

Since no or less rainfall is received in the dry season, the trails used for safari activities such as mountain gorilla trekking, game viewing are dry and easy to navigate thus being the best time to go to Rwanda for a safari.

This article bases on Rwanda’s climate to explain in details the best time to visit Rwanda for a safari

Rwanda’s weather

Rwanda’s weather patterns do not vary so much from each other since the country is situated just 2 degrees south of the equator, due to the hilly topography Rwanda experiences temperate tropical highland climate which is characterized of plenty of rainfalls.

Rwanda’s temperatures greatly vary from one area to another depending on the altitude, day temperatures range between 22°C and 27°C, and night temperatures slightly drop between a range of 16°C and 21°C. Generally Rwanda is neither too hot nor too cold.

Rwanda experience two seasons that is wet season and dry season

Wet season

Wet season in Rwanda is experience in two seasons that is long wet season and short season,

Long wet season is experienced from March to May, this season is characterized of persistent, heavy and regular rains. There are abundance of green vegetation and clear blue skies, the long wet season is a perfect time for photographic and birding safaris.

Short rainy season- (October to November)

Short rain season are experienced from October – November, in this period rainfall varies depending on the geographical location, west and northwest region receives more rainfall than the east and southeast region. In this period expect rainfall during the night and early morning hours, the days are sunny and at times early morning hours and afternoon have thunderstorms and showers.

Dry Season

Rwanda experiences two dry seasons that is long dry season and short dry season,

Long dry season is experienced from June to September and it is characterized of little or no rainfall which makes it a perfect time for mountain gorilla trekking and wildlife safaris in Rwanda.

Short dry season

Short dry season is experienced from December to February, this period is characterized of short rains

Rwanda’s climate guide

This guide showcases rainfall and sunshine received in Rwanda in correspondence to the months of the year and the destination.

Kigali

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
sunshine 27°C

 

27°C 27°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 27°C 28°C 28°C 27°C 26°C 26°C
Rainfall 81mm 90mm 104mm 162mm 106mm 22mm 8mm 28mm 70mm 102mm 117mm 85mm

 

Lake Kivu

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
sunshine 26°C

 

26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C 26°C
Rainfall 96mm 84mm 113mm 123mm 110mm 53mm 28mm 70mm 117mm 141mm 136mm 118mm

 

Nyungwe forest national park

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
sunshine 20°C

 

20°C 20°C 19°C 19°C 19°C 20°C 21°C 21°C 20°C 20°C 20°C
Rainfall 167mm 175mm 199mm 255mm 169mm 42mm 14mm 39mm 102mm 157mm 187mm 172mm

 

Volcanoes national park

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
sunshine 18°C

 

18°C 18°C 17°C 17°C 17°C 18°C 18°C 18°C 18°C 17°C 18°C
Rainfall 138mm 172mm 219mm 235mm 142mm 56mm 36mm 76mm 139mm 199mm 188mm 133mm

When to go to Rwanda by season

March-Mid-May

The period of march-Mid-May in Rwanda is a long rain season, due to the heavily rains which make most of the routes used for game viewing experience and mountain gorillas slippery and inaccessible which is a reason to why in this period tourists are not recommend to visit Rwanda for game viewing.

Though this time is considered an inappropriate time to visit for game viewing and mountain gorilla trekking in Rwanda, it is the best time to go to Rwanda for chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest national park, in this period there is a lot of fig and fruits in the forests of Nyungwe start to ripen and since they are part of the chimpanzee’s diet.

It slows down the movement of chimpanzees in forests and they are easily seen in large numbers while on chimpanzee tracking experience, chimpanzees are seen in large groups.

Mid May – mid-October

Mid-May – Mid – October is a long dry season in Rwanda, this period is the best time to go to Rwanda for mountain gorilla tracking safari in Volcanoes national park and wildlife viewing in Akagera national park.

In this period less to no rainfall is received which results into dry routes in the parks, the vegetation cover is also thinner thus easy sightings of animals while in their natural habitats. In this period a lot of sunshine is received resulting into drying up of some of the water sources in the park such as Akagera national park, animals are seen in large numbers congregating at the remaining watering holes to drink water while on a game viewing safari in Rwanda.

Mountain gorillas and monkeys in Rwanda live in the thick rain forested areas of Volcanoes national park, while on mountain gorilla trekking and golden monkey tracking in Rwanda it is highly recommended to carry a raincoat and other warm clothing with you as rain can be received any time despite the fact that it is a dry season.

Note: This period is a peak season in Rwanda with a lot of tourists visiting the country’s various tourist destinations so expect high prices most especially on accommodation.

Mid-October – November

Mid October and November in Rwanda is a short rains period characterized of abrupt short rains, this period is best birding safaris in Rwanda. Since trees and plants are flowering and bearing fruits, birds are easy to spot on top of trees feeding on the fruits, this season/ period is a green season characterized of green vegetation cover, quick and heaving rain and blue skies  creating a fascinating scenery ideal for photography.

December – February

December – February is a festival season in Rwanda and a dry season, this period is characterized of short rains and conducive temperatures perfect for hiking, canoeing and mountain climbing safaris. December – February is a peak season in Rwanda and one of the busiest times of the year due to Christmas and New Year’s festival celebrations, in this season accommodation prices tend to be so high due to a huge population of tourists visiting Rwanda.