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Best Time To Visit Rwanda and Uganda Gorillas -A question that not only activates a popular debate but also usually has most travelers grappled in thoughts of whether to go or not to travel is the choice on “what time of the year to travel”.
Should we blame it on the different weather patterns in different countries of the world, which feature many unlike seasons of weather in which some months tend to present extreme coldness while others feature great heat?
The good news frequently shared is that East and Sub-Saharan Africa are motor-able and allow for mobility with relative ease for almost all months of the year.
But mobility aside, when are the best times to take a safari to Africa and more specifically what are the best times of the year to take a vacation or holiday to the Rwanda and Uganda?
Our safari planning team at Lets Go Tours Rwanda has been studying weather and travel patterns over a long period of time of planning memorable vacations and holidays for our clients and they came up with a few recommendations below.
If you are planning a safari to Rwanda or Uganda then you most probably have thought of either embarking on a mountain gorilla tracking adventure in the thick forested jungle or a search for some of the amazing wildlife species in one of the safari parks.
The common thing with all these visits though is the fact that they all take place at the country side which in Africa is commonly referred to as the village.
Both countries (Uganda and Rwanda) allow for rare chances to enjoy unique wildlife sightings and rich biodiversity, to relish in the beautiful weather, gaze at fascinating landscapes as well as to go aboard amazing expeditions to the built environments and human settlements to meet with the landlords of the area; the local people.
A trip to Uganda and Rwanda is special in a way that your visit will be in a highly safe and secure destination and you will get the entire “kit and caboodle” that the African continent has to offer.
So when should I visit Rwanda for a gorilla safari?
The average temperature for Rwanda is warm at about 20.5 degrees Celsius (approximately 68.9 degrees Fahrenheit) and the only visible variation is found in the mean monthly temperatures which change sporadically on the average of 1.5 °C (2.7°F); this is an extremely low range when compared to other countries around the world.
Although Rwanda is viewed as an “all year-round tourist destination” principally for mountain gorilla safaris due to the number of visitors that flock her visitor attractions throughout the entire year; the best time to book a tour to Rwanda for specifically gorilla safaris in Volcanoes National Park will be during the long dry season which takes place between the months of June to September (which also is usually the peak season for travel to Rwanda so accommodation prices will often be more pricey).
Another awesome time to travel is during the shorter dry season which runs from mid-December and wraps up around the first or second week of February.
During these times, the ground is less boggy therefore making hiking through the jungle much easier.
The easy window of the year aside, tourists can still visit Rwanda outside the ideal periods mentioned above.
Vacationists will actually stand a better a chance of seeing the habituated chimpanzee families in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest National Park if they visited during the two rainy seasons that run from mid-February to around early June as well as from mid-September all the way to the middle of twelfth month of every calendar year.
Around this time, the chimps are seen to come down from high in the trees and larger numbers are usually sighted as they come out to enjoy the tasty figs and fruits that ripen around the same time of the year.
There are usually short rains during the month of November and these bring out a nice green color in the vegetation.
Seamed together with the clear blue skies, this is undeniably one of the best times of the year to embark on a photography safari to Rwanda and an ideal period for travelers who are fascinated by beautiful scenery.
We advise that during the rainy season, when planning for the treks, travelers take some time to prepare their minds and bodies for a tougher hike because while the steepness in the trails may not physically differ that much from the drier parts of the year, the paths will most probably be slippery, marshy and the vegetation will be thicker.
This then calls for better fitness levels in order to enjoy that gorilla trekking trip in Rwanda.
Our expert advice is that irrespective of the month, since the mountain gorillas (as their name suggests) reside in the forested highlands of East Africa, we still recommend packing a rain coat, durable waterproof walking shoes and clothing because even in the dry season, Rwanda’s rain forests can surprise you with blessings of showers.
Uganda gorillas – When should I visit?
Like is the case in Rwanda, the weather conditions in Uganda are seldom extreme with temperatures that barely change drastically throughout the dry and wet seasons of the year.
Of course the savanna and forested national parks are usually at their best during the country’s two dry seasons that run from June to August and from December to February, but the rains usually come as a blessing during the wetter months between February and March and September to the first or second week of October.
During this time the rivers rejuvenate and waterholes refill to attract great concentrations of wildlife as they come to quench their thirst from the previous months of dryness.
So when should you visit?
Well like the case of Rwanda, it is all about striking a compromise between your busy schedules and whether you would enjoy a more challenging gorilla tracking hike in the wet season or if you fancy going by the norm “keep things easy” during the dry season.
Of course you must note that there are better deals during the wet season when compared to the peak dry seasons of the year when most hotels and lodges will charge a lot more for visitors.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda in the national parks of Bwindi Impenetrable or the craggy Mgahinga Gorilla National Park will be tougher around the wet months because the vegetation is bushier, the ground is wetter but the mountain gorillas will still be seen to enjoy the ground more due to the availability of so much to munch on.
One thing to note for a gorilla tracking trip to Rwanda and Uganda is that the weather seasons are not entirely distinctive as you can still be surprised by short showers of rain during the dry season and the sun still comes out from its hiding place to light the day and warm the horizon even during the rainy months of the year.
In both countries, most of the wildlife is rarely migrational so you will still see a good number of wildlife species in both seasons although during the rainy seasons you will need to peek a little harder through the green vegetation for that magical sighting.
Should you slide and fall onto the wet earth, please don’t worry; just live in the moment, get right up and head on with the hike.
Our own staff at Lets Go Tours Rwanda still slip and fall sometimes during the hike, but it is all part of the fun of being out in nature.
A common saying goes, no one can return from the wild places of Africa unchanged and many visitors on safaris to Rwanda and Uganda continually marvel at the magnificence of form and kind that was gifted to these two countries.
Plan your safari to track the gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda and also visit some of the other wildlife parks and we will be glad to read about your memories after the trip.
We bet you will be amazed!