Rwanda

Small, compact and mountainous, Rwanda is primate paradise, including Mountain Gorillas.

Overview

Rwanda is now firmly on the map for a stimulating adventure safari. It is small, so it’s easy to get around, despite the hilly terrain. (Not for nothing is Rwanda called ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’!) Good tar roads wind through fertile hillsides terraced with coffee-plantations. Indeed, most places are within three hours drive from Kigali, the capital.  So, from a practical point of view, this means you can combine some gorilla trekking in Rwanda with a safari in neighbouring Tanzania. But it also makes for a great ‘stand-alone’ destination.

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

The rare promise of seeing some of the last wild population of mountain gorillas is the lure for most visitors. The charismatic Great Apes live in the high-altitude rainforest of the Volcanoes massif. This protected area is home to over half of the estimated population of around 1000 mountain gorillas.  There are 12 habituated mountain gorilla groups in the Volcanoes National Park. So this is one of the best places for a clear sighting on a gorilla trekking tour.

Unexpected treats on a Rwanda Safari Tour

One or two days of gorilla trekking is likely to be the highlight of your Rwanda safari. Other ‘must sees’ include the ancient high-altitude forest of Nyungwe National Park and Akagera National Park.

How to get there & get around

Rwanda is well-connected to the Serengeti and Kenya (Nairobi), but also to Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lusaka (Zambia) and Harare (Zimbabwe). So it is now very easy to combine a safari either East or Southern Africa with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Most people combine it with Kenya or Tanzania because of the shorter flight connections. But South Africa is also on the cards, if you wish….

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Madelyn Nieuwoudt

Africa Travel Specialist
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • View Mountain Gorillas in their natural habitat.
  • Primate abundance, including chimpanzee, Ruwenzori colobus & golden monkeys.
  • Dian Fossey Research Centre, the renowned primatologist featured in Gorillas in the Mist.
  • Scenic beauty, the 'country of a thousand hills'.
  • Rich in culture & history.

Explore the Rwanda map

When to visit Rwanda

December to March

Gorillas at their best in Rwanda

Rwanda’s climate is mainly affected by its altitude and rainfall patterns. Most of the country is on a plateau, which ranges from 1000 to 1400m in altitude. So overall, the climate is pleasantly warm rather than hot, with high rainfall ranging from 900mm to 1500mm. Effectively, it has two seasons, each heralded by a rainy period; long rains centred around April and short rains centred around October. So it's generally best to travel in the dry periods in between the rains, when trekking to see the gorillas is less muddy. Chimpanzee tracking is better in the wetter months so the intermediate drier period of December to mid March is a good option for both Gorillas and Chimpanzees.
AVG RAINFALL 116 mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 79 ℉
MIN TEMP 15 ℃ / 58 ℉

April to May

Long rains in Rwanda

This is the time of the long rains and is not an idea time to visit, especially for gorilla trekking. Plus, roads are not in a good condition. April is also a time of memory for the genocide which began then so the country tends to be slightly more subdued.
AVG RAINFALL 198 mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 78 ℉
MIN TEMP 15 ℃ / 59 ℉

June to Mid-September

Best time to visit Rwanda

This is considered the best time to visit, by many. It is the driest period with pleasant daytime temperatures for hiking and Gorilla tracking. However, it’s important to remember that it can rain at any time of the year in Rwanda. Note that chimpanzee trekking is better in the wet season
AVG RAINFALL 27 mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 78 ℉
MIN TEMP 14 ℃ / 57 ℉

Mid-September to November

Good time to see chimpanzees in Rwanda

This is the time of the short rains so the dry plains gradually turn to green. Not an ideal time for gorilla trekking, given the muddy conditions. November is the wettest month.
AVG RAINFALL 126mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 78 ℉
MIN TEMP 14 ℃ / 58 ℉

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Rwanda was inspiring

"Rwanda has a temperate climate, charming people and a developing tourism industry which clearly places great emphasis on the safety and comfort of it’s clients. Our experiences of the wildlife will stay with us for many years. If you wish to see the best of Africa – visit this fascinating, beautiful country. At all destinations, accommodation, food and support services were as good as we’d hoped for." Mr David, USA

Country intrigued us

"We went to Rwanda thinking Gorillas and nothing else really. I was greatly mistaken as the country intrigued us. We loved it!!! The Gorillas were still the highlight. Had one swing round my leg closely followed by his twin brother (6 years old). Massive silverback and group of about 17 individuals. We were the only 2 people visiting this family so we felt privileged. We hiked for about a hour and a half before we found them. Wonderful experience!! The Musanzi caves was interesting too." Mr Dennis Lee
Did you know
  • EnvironmentNo plastic bags allowed in the country
  • PowerFirst country ever to have a female majority parliament