When planning a gorilla safari or any tour, one of the frequently asked questions is; when is the best time to visit the Volcanoes National Park? Volcanoes National Park is open to holidaymakers all year-round. This is considering its most favorable weather and climatic conditions. When you think about visiting Volcanoes N/Park for a holiday, the dry and wet season are two (2) important seasons any traveler must put into consideration.
Long and short dry season are all experienced in Volcanoes National Park. The dry season is without doubt the most favorable or best time of the year to visit Volcanoes N. Park for gorilla trekking or golden monkey tracking. The dry months come with low or no rains with the ground kept relatively drier thus making it less challenging walking the park on a search for mountain gorillas.
The long dry months in Volcanoes National Park (VNP) start from June, July, August, to September and short dry season runs from December, January to February. These are the two phases of dry season when you can visit the park and enjoy the most of guided mountain gorilla trekking or a trek to see golden monkeys, go volcano hiking, and other tourism activities.
The short & long dry season (December to March)
The short and long dry seasons are not only the best time of the year to visit Volcanoes National Park to see mountain gorillas but also for you to enjoy other tourism activities. During the dry season, the park’s forest canopy and vegetation is generally clear thus making it easier for visitors to capture pictures of their favorite primates or wildlife in the wild.
Hiking through the park in search for primates such as mountain gorillas and golden monkeys is easier during the dry season because the ground is usually drier, although rains should be expected at any time of the year. Volcanoes National Park’s vegetation is comprised of tropical and bamboo forest, experiencing tropical kind of climatic conditions.
The wet/rainy season
The rainy/wet months are often avoided by most travelers considering the heavy rains that come with them. However, they are preferred months for birders. For primate enthusiasts, the wet months come with abundant vegetation meaning there is plenty of forage for wildlife to depend on including mountain gorillas, golden monkeys. This makes it a bit simpler locating these amazing primates in the wild as they don’t move far distances to find what to feed on like it happens during the dry season.
The wet/rainy months in Volcanoes NP occur from March, April, May and another phase starts from October to November. They are characterized by poor weather conditions, the months when there is heavy rainfall. The ground can be muddy and steep slopes slippery making it challenging trekking through the park in search of gorillas.
Long Dry Season (June to September)
June, July, August through September are the best months of the year to explore Volcanoes National Park. The maximum temperature rise during day ranges from 25 degrees celsius to 27 degrees celsius. During the night, temperatures fall down up to 13-15 degrees celsius. The average annual rainfall of 1000 to 1400 mm is experienced in Volcanoes N/Park and this is considering its location in the tropical region.
Most active Rwanda holidaymakers travel to Volcanoes National Park to enjoy mountain gorilla trekking experience. Usually, they pick the dry months considering the fact that during these months, the trails remain less muddy. Visitors with intentions to spot specific gorilla groups, the wet/rainy season is the more preferable to undertake a trip to Volcanoes National Park. Besides abundant forage, during the wet/rainy season, the climatic conditions often become cooler in the higher elevation and gorillas keep at the lower slopes.
During the rainy months, day temperatures rise up to 14 degrees celsius and during the night, it can be cold with average temperatures of 8 degrees celsius. Heavy rains are recorded from October to November –also considered to be peak rainy months of the year. Rains start reducing from May; on the other hand, March to April are notably the wettest months and hiking through the park can be challenging due to slippery ground.
Considering the location and nature of Volcanoes National Park vegetation, rains should be expected at any time of the day. This is whether you are visiting it during the dry or wet season.