Best Time To See Gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda

The best time to visit Uganda and Rwanda to see gorillas is during the dry season from June to September. The weather during this time offers optimum gorilla trekking. The trails are relatively navigable and the rainforests have less downpours. But there are other factors to consider. Find out in this article.

Gorilla Trekking Month-by-Month: Best Time To Visit Rwanda and Uganda To See Gorillas

Uganda and Rwanda offer one of the world’s most breathtaking wildlife encounters – gorilla trekking. A trek to see mountain gorillas of Africa in their natural habitat is a dream for many nature enthusiasts. But when is the best time for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda? Timing is crucial for an optimal experience.

The dry seasons (December to February and June to September) generally offer easier hikes and better chances to see gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. That said, gorilla treks are possible year-round, each season with its own charm.

In this article, we’ll delve into the best time to see gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, exploring the nuances of each season. We’ll discuss how weather patterns impact your experience, helping you choose the ideal timing for your unforgettable gorilla hike.

Why Timing Is Everything

Gorilla trekking in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Parks, and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, involves navigating challenging rainforest and mountain terrain. The dry seasons make trails more manageable and increase visibility. Mountain Gorillas, primarily foraging under dense canopies, are easier to locate when vegetation isn’t as lush. This also means the best time to visit Rwanda or Uganda to see gorillas, especially for photographers, coincides with drier weather and clearer skies.

Trekking typically begins early (8:00 am), with briefings at 7:30 am. Mornings, particularly during wet periods, can be chilly. Consider this if you’re sensitive to the cold. However, some gorilla tours adventurers brave the elements and enjoy the potential for lower prices during the rainy season.

Factors to Consider

Choosing the best time to visit Uganda or Rwanda to see gorillas involves weighing several aspects:

  • Peak vs. Low Seasons: The availability and cost of gorilla permits are directly affected by the time of year.
  • Weather: How rain or shine might impact your trek is essential.
  • Your Preferences: When can you travel, and do you prefer fewer crowds even if the weather isn’t ideal?

By carefully considering these factors, you’ll guarantee a memorable and successful gorilla trekking journey.

Month-by-Month Analysis For When to Go Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda.

January (peak/dry season, best weather)

January falls within the short dry season, making it one of the best times for gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda. Trails are less muddy, allowing for easier treks through the rainforest. Temperatures may be warm hovering around highs of 84°F (29°C) to a low of 67°F (19°C). But the higher altitudes of Bwindi and Volcanoes National Parks offer a cooler, comfortable trekking experience. Expect some rainfall due to the tropical climate, but this is unlikely to disrupt your adventure.

Since this is peak season, it’s crucial to book gorilla permits and accommodations well in advance. If you’ve always wanted to combine gorilla trekking with a classic safari experience, January is an excellent time to see gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda and explore the stunning wildlife of the Serengeti and Masai Mara.

February (peak/dry season, best weather)

While still within the dry season, February sees a slight decrease in crowds, making it a fantastic time for a gorilla hike in Uganda and Rwanda. You’ll enjoy the benefits of the most favorable weather, with dry trails and excellent visibility. February temperatures in the gorilla highlands typically range from highs of 85°F (29°C) to lows of 69°F (20°C). This is also a prime month for birdwatching and classic safaris, as wildlife tends to gather around shrinking water sources before the March rains arrive.

As the dry season reaches its end, the vegetation thins, making it easier to spot incredible animals on game drives. February is one of the best times to see gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda and experience the thrill of witnessing savannah predators in action during the calving season in the northern Serengeti.

March (low/wet season, bad weather)

March marks the start of the long rainy season and a low travel period. Daytime temperatures average around 23°C/73°F, with morning temperatures hovering around 12°C/54°F. While some travelers might hesitate to visit, gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda remains possible and offers unique advantages. If you’re looking for the best time to see gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda on a budget, March is worth considering. You’ll likely find lower prices on accommodations and may have greater availability for gorilla permits.

Though trekking trails can become muddier, the rain usually comes in shorter bursts, leaving ample time for a rewarding gorilla encounter in Africa. Be prepared with waterproof gear, and enjoy the quieter trails and potentially more relaxed atmosphere at safari lodges.

April & May (low/wet season, worst weather)

April and May see the heaviest rainfall of the year, with daytime temperatures averaging around 23°C/73°F and mornings around 12°C/54°F. The rains make trails particularly challenging for gorilla trekking and game drives. While not the ideal time for most travelers, there are advantages if you’re flexible and don’t mind the rain. Permits are more readily available, and you’ll find excellent deals on accommodation.

For those who enjoy lush landscapes and aren’t deterred by wet weather, the vibrant green scenery of this season offers a unique beauty for photography. If you’re combining gorilla trekking with a classic safari, the Serengeti-Mara experience might still be enjoyable with shorter afternoon showers and stunning greenery.

June & July (peak/dry season, best weather)

June and July kick off the prime gorilla trekking season in Uganda and Rwanda, offering the best weather conditions. Expect minimal rain and easily navigable trails with temperatures ranging from highs of 78°F (25°C) to lows of 67°F (19°C). As a popular time to visit, book gorilla permits well in advance and be prepared for potentially higher costs. Read this later to understand seasonal costs: understanding the costs of a gorilla safari.

Despite peak season, the limited group sizes of gorilla treks ensure an intimate wildlife encounter. Boutique lodges also fill up quickly, so plan your accommodations accordingly.

With lingering lushness from the rainy season, June is fantastic for combining gorilla trekking with scenic photography and game viewing. From July onward, the drier conditions make it the absolute best time to see gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda while pairing it with the excitement of the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara and Serengeti.

August (peak/dry season, good weather)

August is widely considered the absolute best time of year to see gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda. It is well into the dry season, with minimal rain and high temperatures of 79°F (26°C) and lows of 66°F (19°C). Trails are at their easiest to navigate. Wildlife viewing on game drives is also fantastic, as animals congregate around water sources.

This prime time makes it ideal for an all-inclusive Uganda safari package that combines gorilla trekking with classic game viewing. Spend a few unforgettable days in Uganda’s gorilla haven, followed by thrilling encounters with elephants, lions, and more in Queen Elizabeth National Park. Experiencing both at their peak is breathtaking!

While August offers optimal weather for a gorilla trek, some rain is possible in the rainforest. Be prepared with gear for all conditions.

September (end of peak season, fairly good weather)

September marks the transition from dry to rainy season, making weather less predictable. Expect some showers during your gorilla trek, but dry spells are still possible. Typical temperatures range from highs of 80°F (26°C) to lows of 67°F (19°C). While trekking remains possible year-round, be prepared for rain when visiting Uganda or Rwanda for gorillas in September.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a dry spell in September, it’s still considered peak season, so book permits and accommodations early to avoid limited availability.

 

Unmissabel gorilla adventures

October & November (low/wet season, worst weather)

October marks the beginning of the shoulder season, offering lower lodge prices and better availability. However, expect frequent, heavy rainfall. While temperatures stay warm, averaging highs of 78°F (26°C) and lows of 66°F (19°C), navigating trails can be difficult, making this a less-than-ideal time to see gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda.

Despite trekking challenges, this season offers unique benefits. Northern Uganda, home to stunning Murchison Falls, is at its best. Also, November kicks off prime birdwatching season (lasting until April) as migratory species arrive.

If your heart is set on both gorillas and birding, this might be the best time for you, despite the rainy conditions. Consult with a safari expert to maximize your wildlife encounters.

Recommended for you: How To Choose The Best Tour Operator For You Uganda Safari

December (peak/dry season, best weather)

December marks the return of the dry season with temperatures averaging highs of 80°F (27°C) and lows of 66°F (19°C), making it another fantastic time for gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda. Trails become easier to navigate, and the lush landscapes offer incredible photo opportunities. With optimal weather conditions comes increased demand, especially around the Christmas holidays.

If you’re dreaming of a December gorilla adventure, plan ahead! Book your gorilla permits and accommodations well in advance to secure your spot during this popular season. It’s a wonderful time for families and those seeking a break from winter to experience the magic of the African rainforest.

Recommended reading: How safe is the gorilla trek in Uganda? and How difficult Is gorilla experience In Rwanda?

Have you decided when to take that gorilla trekking safari?

Have you envisioned yourself in the mist-covered rainforest, surrounded by the gentle gorillas of Africa? The best time for a gorilla hike in Uganda or Rwanda depends on your priorities: peak conditions, lower prices, or the thrill of the rainy season. No matter when you choose, the thrill of watching gorillas in their natural habitat is an experience that will stay with you forever.

Ready to turn your gorilla trekking dream into a reality? Nkuringo Safaris, with over a decade of experience and award-winning lodges, is here to make it happen. Our local experts will handle every detail, from securing permits to ensuring a comfortable and unforgettable adventure. Contact us today, and let’s start planning your journey into the African wilderness.

Recommended Safari Packages: Uganda Gorilla Tours or Rwanda Tour Packages

Tailor-made gorilla safaris with a licensed local expert in Uganda
Tailor-made gorilla safaris with a licensed local expert in Uganda

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