The best time to visit Rwanda is, for most people, outside the rainy seasons – so from June to September and December to early February. But if you want to go gorilla trekking, the best time of year is simply whenever you can get a permit.
The best time to go on a Rwanda safari is usually in the dry seasons in June-September and December-early February. That said, most visitors travel to Rwanda to see gorillas, and so the best time is often whenever you can get a highly in-demand permit. Don’t be put off by the rainy season in Rwanda, either. The shorter rains in November and longer rains from March to May will give you the forests, lakes and mountains all to yourself, plus gorilla permits are occasionally cheaper. Photographers may even prefer the rainy season, with less light contrast in the forests allowing you to focus on your subject matter.
Rwanda, month by month
Things to do in Rwanda
March is the beginning of the longer rainy season which goes on through April and May. The end of May can often be dry already, however, and yet still devoid of visitors avoiding the ‘big rains’. June to mid-September is the long dry season and the most popular time to visit. You may still get showers during this time though. September sees a very special event take place in Musanze: Kwita Izina, which is a gorilla naming ceremony and celebration of mountain gorilla births.
The Kigali International Peace Marathon takes place in May and is a very special event. If you are taking part or just watching. There are three races, a full marathon, half marathon and a 10km run for peace. Tutsi Genocide Memorial Day is 7 April, a public holiday and understandably a very solemn day indeed. If you are going gorilla trekking, things have dried up again in December after the short rains of October and November.
So if you’re looking for alternative Christmas holiday ideas then you could do a lot worse than heading to Rwanda to go gorilla watching. Same thing goes for January for a spectacular New Year celebration.
The tour in Rwanda is a spectacular country wide race run by the Rwanda Cycling Federation. It keeps changing dates, however, so keep an eye on their website. At the moment it is scheduled for February/March, although it originally ran in November and has also taken place in August. It’s a good one though, just a bit of a moveable feast. Independence Day takes place 1 July every year in Rwanda, celebrating the day in 1962 when Rwanda was freed from Belgian colonial rule.