Kenya’s equatorial setting means it enjoys year-round warm weather and it is predominantly a dry landscape, with 75% of its landmass either arid or semi-arid. This makes it possible to visit any time of year, although with altitude ranging from sea level to 5,199 metres and two rainy seasons, it is possible you will experience some variations. You may also wish to plan when you take your trip around what you want to see, for example the annual wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara. However, as a general rule, the best travel periods in Kenya are from December to February and again from June to September, and these are also the busiest.
Central Highlands & Rift Valley
This region of Kenya enjoys the most idyllic climate in the country, with temperatures averaging 20°C or 68°F. There are two rainy seasons, with the long rains falling from March to May, where you may see rainfall of up to 200mm around April/May time, and the short rains from October to November. Mount Kenya has its own climate, receiving the most amount of rainfall of anywhere in the country at up to 3000mm, and average temperatures that decrease with altitude, lowering to 4°C or 39°F. Early morning tend to be sunnier, with clouds forming around the mountains early afternoon. During the dry seasons, game spotting tends to be easier, as animals congregate for water around water holes, lakes and rivers.
In contrast to the inland areas, the coastal strip of Kenya is perennially humid, with a higher average temperature of up to 30°C or 86°F. The optimum time to travel here is December to March when the weather is drier, and the wettest months are usually during the south-easterly monsoon from April to June and again from October to November. The ocean breeze that sweeps the coastline here tempers the constant heat, making it far more comfortable.
The exact timing of the renowned and spectacular annual migration can never be guaranteed as it is a changeable and spontaneous natural event. You can at times see the wildebeest arrive in the Mara as early as July, but as a general rule they tend to arrive between August and September and stay in the Mara between October and November. They then start their migration back towards the Serengeti around December or January.
There are many cultural events that ignite the whole country and visitors are welcome to join in with festivities but should always observe religious and private gatherings from a respectful distance, unless otherwise invited! Of particular note are the Mombasa Carnival in November and the International Camel Derby in August/September in the arid North. Ramadan celebrations are also seen in some areas, combined with Swahili cultural festivals.
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