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. Naturally its biggest drawcard are the gorilla trekking tours. And because Rwanda is small and compact, it’s easy to get around. Indeed, many places are within a three hour drive of Kigali, the capital.  So you can combine a gorilla safari in Rwanda with a Big Five safari in neighbouring Tanzania or Kenya. (There are direct flights from the Serengeti and Nairobi).

But it also makes for a great ‘stand-alone’ safari destination, especially to see Primates. And it's very scenic: good tar roads wind through fertile hillsides terraced with coffee-plantations. (Not for nothing is Rwanda called ‘The Land of a Thousand Hills’!)

Rwanda Gorilla Trekking

The rare promise of seeing some of the last wild population of mountain gorillas is the lure for most rwanda safari visitors. The charismatic Great Apes live in the high-altitude rainforest of the Volcanoes massif. This national park 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 Rwanda is one of the best places in the world for a gorilla safari.

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, home to chimpanzees and colobus monkeys and nearby scenic Lake Kivu. Whilst Akagera National Park has a wide variety of plains game, elephants and predators, mainly lions and leopard.

Vacations in Rwanda  - 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 Rwanda safari tour to see the mountain gorillas, with either East or Southern Africa. Most people combine it with Kenya or Tanzania because of the shorter flight connections with direct flights from the Serengeti. But South Africa is also a possibility with connecting flights.

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.

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 Rwanda gorilla tours are best 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 in Rwanda. 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-Sep

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 trekking in Rwanda. However, it’s important to remember that it can rain at any time of the year! Note that chimpanzee trekking is better in the wet season
AVG RAINFALL 27 mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 78 ℉
MIN TEMP 14 ℃ / 57 ℉

Mid-Sep 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 a gorilla safari, given the muddy conditions. November is the wettest month. But it is a good time to visit the chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest
AVG RAINFALL 126mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 78 ℉
MIN TEMP 14 ℃ / 58 ℉

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Gloria Darvall

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I'm Gloria, I'm here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience
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  • EnvironmentNo plastic bags allowed in the country
  • PowerFirst country ever to have a female majority parliament

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Gloria Darvall

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I’m Gloria, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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