Gorilla Trekking: An Expert Guide

What Time Of Year Is Best For Gorilla Trekking?

What Time Of Year Is Best For Gorilla Trekking?
By Charlotte Beauvoisin
Charlotte Beauvoisin
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Charlotte Beauvoisin
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The climate, gorilla trekking conditions, and tourism seasons are more or less the same in both Rwanda and Uganda. Gorilla-trekking is a year-round activity, but there are some important considerations when timing your trip.

Here's our run-down on the best time of year to go gorilla trekking:

The best times to go gorilla trekking

Overall best time to see gorillas: During the dry (but hot) seasons between June-September, and December-February.

High / peak season: June-August.

Low season: April-May and September to November.

Best weather: Between June-September, and between December-February.

Worst weather: Between March-May and September-November.

Clouds Bwindi Uganda

The cloud cover moves in over Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

When to go gorilla trekking

Climate, seasons and best months to visit

Weather & trekking conditions

The climate and trekking conditions are more or less the same in both Rwanda and Uganda.

The overall best weather is during the two dry seasons, which run from June-September, and December-February. You can still expect some rain during these periods, but conditions are generally more comfortable and the trails less muddy.

Of the two, June-September are the driest; with light showers during December-February.

The rainy seasons, from March-May and September-November, can be very soggy. March-May brings the heaviest rains, and the going can be tough – especially in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which is generally steeper, muddier and more dense than in Rwanda.

That said, gorilla tourism remains open year-round. It will be much quieter during the rainy/off season and you might find some good deals. A pro tip is to time your visit for the “shoulder” period either side of the rainy season, when prices are lower, crowds are lighter and the rains might be easing off.

Permit availability

Permits and accommodation during the peak summer months of June-August sell out a long way in advance. If you’re set on visiting during the peak months you may need to book at least a year in advance.

Other things to do

Since you’re going all the way to East Africa, you’re hopefully also making time for the rest of the region:

July-August is normally peak wildebeest river crossing season in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania, when the herd makes its epic (and dangerous) crossings of the Mara River.

December is the main Mt Kilimanjaro climbing season in neighbouring Tanzania.

In Rwanda, the annual Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony takes place every September. A more solemn occasion is Kwibuka, a series of events held in April in commemoration of the 1994 genocide. Visitors are welcome at both events.

What Time Of Year Is Best For Gorilla Trekking?

Charlotte Beauvoisin

Charlotte is a travel blogger based on the edge of Kibale Forest, Uganda. She is a contributor to the Bradt Uganda Guidebook and has written for Lonely Planet, The Daily Telegraph and Fodor's. She first arrived in Uganda in 2009 as a Voluntary Service Overseas volunteer with the Uganda Conservation Foundation.

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