Weather & Climate – Rwanda

Ariadne van Zandbergen
Expert
By Ariadne van Zandbergen

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Rwanda.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who write and update many Bradt guides, including the guide to Rwanda.

Ariadne is a renowned Africa expert. She and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Rwanda.

Ariadne and her husband form a team who author the Bradt guide to Rwanda.

Climate Chart Rwanda

Climate Chart Kigali – 1,600m/5,250ft

© chart: SafariBookings. All rights reserved / source data: Wikipedia

In general, the east of Rwanda, including Akagera NP, shares the warm climate of Kigali. However, it never gets extremely hot due to the relatively high altitude. The parks in the western mountainous area, including Volcanoes NP and Nyungwe Forest NP, are a lot colder with daytime temperatures around 16°C–21°C (61°F–70°F), due to the even higher altitude. The temperature drops by about 6.5°C for every 1,000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft). The latter two parks are also a lot wetter due to the mountain peaks and rainforest habitat. The new Gishwati–Mukura NP also shares a similar climate to the larger western parks.

Kigali’s Climate Compared to Rwanda’s Parks

Straddling the equator, there is little year-round fluctuation in temperature and no real winter or summer. There is a defined Dry season from June to September, but in Volcanoes NP and Nyungwe Forest that only means that it will rain less as these parks are wet throughout the year.

Dry Season June to September

  • June, July & August – In the east of the country, afternoon temperatures are usually around 27°C/81°F. It gets cold at night, with minimum temperatures around 15°C/59°F. In the mountain parks it is a lot colder. Nyungwe has daytime temperatures of around 21°C/70°F, and Volcanoes NP is even colder with temperatures around 16°C/61°F.
  • September – Early September is still dry, but sometime this month the rains may begin. Temperatures remain the same. The mountain parks will receive quite a bit of rain in September.

Wet Season October to May

  • October, November & December – ‘Short rains’ - After a dry period, the rains will start in October if they haven’t already. The rains won’t likely interfere with your safari in Akagera NP. Afternoon showers are common. Daytime temperatures are usually around 26°C/79°F, while early mornings are around 16°C/61°F. Nyungwe and Volcanoes NP tend to be very wet throughout the rainy season. Daytime temperatures in Nyungwe are about 20°C/68°F and in Volcanoes NP it drops to 16°C/61°F.
  • January & February – There tends to be a drier spell between the short and long rains. The exact timing is unpredictable. In Nyungwe and Volcanoes NP it will still be very wet and it can rain anytime.
  • March, April & May – ‘Long rains’: these are the wettest months. It tends to rain most days, although seldom for the whole day in the drier east part of the country. In the mountain areas like Nyungwe and Volcanoes NP, it can rain for days. It is usually cloudy. The average maximum and minimum temperatures remain the same.

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