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When is the best time of year to travel to Rwanda?

by Alexandra Walter | Thu 22 Sep 2022
When is the best time of year to travel to Rwanda?

Rwanda is known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills” and there is a good reason for this. This small but spectacular country has volcanoes and mountains with wild gorillas roaming around. Nyungwe Forest National Park is one of the most biodiverse parks in Africa with over 1000 different species in it. 

Kigali, the capital city, and other cities in Rwanda are also waiting to be discovered. There are plenty of things to do in Rwanda, so if you’re planning a trip and are wondering what the weather will be like and what you should pack then read this article where you’ll find our top tips. 

What is the climate like in Rwanda

Due to Rwanda being from 1,500 to 2,500 meters above sea level at different points in the country, and it being two degrees off the equator, the climate is quite mild and the temperature barely changes during the year so there are no seasons as such. However, there are two distinct periods in terms of rainfall.

When is the best time to visit Rwanda

The driest periods in Rwanda are from June to September and January and February, these can be good periods to visit Rwanda if you want to view wildlife. The wet season is generally from October to May. 

During the wet season, it might be easier to get permits to see gorillas at short notice as it is a quieter season. The wet season might be muddier if you are out on the roads, so check out the best way to travel around the country. 

During the dry season, the conditions are good if you want to visit the savannah, although it is the peak time so it could be busier. 

The temperatures in Kigali are on average 26/28 °C (80/82 °F) during the day and around 16/17 °C (61/62 °F) at night. If you go to cities that are further up in the mountains temperatures may drop further. 


The best festivals in Rwanda

If you’re looking for things to do in Rwanda check out some of these local events that we think you might enjoy.

Assumption Day 

The 15th of August is a big Catholic holiday. It marks the ascent into heaven of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Around 45% of the population of Rwanda is Catholic and since this is a public holiday, cities and roads can get very busy. 

Umuganda 

This public practice in Rwanda has become a mandatory activity for all citizens on the last Saturday of each month. From 8:00 to 11:00am all business and roads close and people get together to carry out improvement works on their neighborhoods. Locals clean the streets, plant trees and fix up public property. This day enhances community spirit and improves the local area. 

Kigali International Peace Marathon

Every year in May, the International Peace Marathon is held on the 15th of May. It was started in 2005 to mark 10 years since the end of the Rwandan Genocide. Athletes from all over Africa and Europe join this hilly race. If you´re thinking of joining make sure you do some training as the altitude in this race reaches 1500 meters above sea level. 

Gorilla Naming Ceremony

The Gorilla Naming Ceremony happens every June in Kiningi and involves park guides naming baby gorillas. The festival also has music and dancing. If you attend this festival you can also sponsor a gorilla. 

What to pack when you travel to Rwanda 

  • When you're trying to spot wildlife, either in a national park or a savannah it is recommended that you wear dark or muted colored clothes so you don´t stand out and scare the animals. 
  • Rwanda has banned plastic bags, so make sure you don't bring any into the country in your luggage. 
  • Before you travel to Rwanda make sure you check what the health and visa requirements are so you don't get caught out. 
  • Make sure you pack sturdy trekking trainers and break them in as roads and paths in Rwanda can be uneven. 

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