When to go to Rwanda for gorilla trekking

Seasons and climate

The first thing to remember is that you’re visiting a rainforest. It will, by definition, be wet all year round!

That said, there is still a marked difference between the dry and rainy seasons. The weather is generally drier and hotter between May and August, and again from December to February.

During March and April, and again from September to November you can expect more frequent and heavier rain showers. Muddy roads and paths can become tricky to handle.

The advantages to visiting in dry season are less muddy paths, easier hiking and clearer views of the wildlife. The disadvantage is that this is peak tracking season and therefore permit availability is lower. You’ll need to book well in advance.

Aside from more choice in permit and accommodation availability, there are some other pros to visiting during rainy season -- not least that smaller group sizes allow a more intimate tracking experience.

Temperatures are fixed year round between 21°C (70 F) and 30°C (86 F), dropping to 10°C (50 F) at higher altitudes. Although chilly at night, the exertion of hiking and climbing will keep you warm during the day.

Low season permits

In Rwanda, the price of gorilla permits remains the same throughout the year.

Events and festivals

The annual Kwita Izina gorilla-naming ceremony takes place every September and offers a fascinating insight into Rwandan culture and the country’s efforts to promote gorilla conservation. The event is free to attend, but by invitation only. A good tour operator will be able to arrange access for you.

A more solemn occasion is Kwibuka, which means remember in Kinyarwanda. This is a series of events held in April in commemoration of the 1994 genocide in which nearly one million Tutsi -- 70% of the Tutsi population -- were killed. Visitors are welcome at these events.

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