Best time for gorilla trekking

The best time for gorilla trekking


WHEN TO go

Location: Rwanda | Uganda
The gorillas (and the mist!) are there year round, with a great record of sightings; the rain only serves to keep tourists away. The best time for gorilla trekking is, therefore, totally up to you. Often it is more to do with permit availability, as they are so hard to get your hands on. The dry seasons - more comfortable for trekking - are mid-December to early February and June to September. Don’t be completely put off by the rains of November and March-May, as you will have the forests and mountains to yourself, the guides and the gorillas.

When to see gorillas and when not to


a month by month guide

January and February are usually fairly dry where gorillas make their habitat with Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya all experiencing good conditions for trekking at a time of year often thought of as low season.

The months of March, April and May form the rainy season in South East Africa as well as Cameroon and the Republic of Congo and many companies won’t run gorilla watching tours around this time.

June, July and August are the best time to go gorilla watching especially if you’re planning to combine travels in Tanzania thanks to the wildebeest migration taking place over the plains of the Serengeti.

The drier weather means better trekking and traveling conditions however, they’ll also be more wildlife watchers so this can indicate that tracking more elusive gorillas can prove to be all the more problematic.

September and October are the best time to go gorilla watching if you’re also planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as conditions are ideal for both activities and definitely worth undertaking before the rainy month of November comes into play.

By the middle of December things have dried up again although there will still be some showers and if you’re looking for alternative Christmas vacation ideas then you could do at lot worse than heading to East Africa to go gorilla watching.

When to see gorillas


Responsible Travel recommends

Paul Calcutt, at our supplier of gorilla trekking vacations, Natural World Safaris is an expert on the best time for gorilla trekking: “There are two rainy seasons. One in November and one in March, April, May – and outside of those seasons are all good. March, April, May is a heavier rainy season, but having said that, I was there in May this year in the Kyambura Gorge doing chimpanzee trekking, and there was no one there except me and some guides because most tourists don’t come until the end of May when, traditionally, the rain stops. People do work in ‘calendars’ but of course weather doesn’t work like that. I think there is a lot to be said of going in the last few days of what is supposedly the wet season, because when I was there it was perfectly dry and there was nobody there”
Photo credits: [Chart background: Derek Keats] [Paul Calcutt quote: Martijn.Munneke]
Written by Catherine Mack
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