Kenya

When To Go To Kenya

Information to Help You Plan Your Safari

Due to Kenya’s equatorial setting, the country enjoys year-round warm weather and relatively low annual rainfall. However, with a range of altitudes and the country’s two rainy seasons, it is possible you will experience some variation depending on when and where you visit. The temperatures vary greatly from Nairobi to Laikipia, and from Nakuru to the coastal regions.

We are experts in creating Kenyan safari and beach journeys, and find we often get asked the same questions from people planning their adventures. To help out, we’ve put together some practical planning FAQs to help you. If your question isn’t covered, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

In summary, the best time to go to Kenya is...

  • June to October is the dry season with clear skies and less humidity, but mornings can be cool, so bring layers for early game drives.
  • The coastal lowlands experience constant high temperatures and sea breezes which make it ideal year-round.
  • The spectacular annual wildebeest migration is a changeable and spontaneous natural event so cannot be pinned down to a particular month. As a general rule they tend to arrive between July and September and stay in the Mara between October and November. They then start their migration back towards the Serengeti around December or January.

Kenya is warm year-round, but there are some variations in temperature depending on when and where you want to go.

When to go

This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters and overall weather. Please remember that where in the country will vary depending on month of travel.

The Rainy Seasons

Kenya has two rainy seasons. The ‘short rains’ from November to December usually last around five weeks, while the ‘long rains’ occur between March and May; these include frequent downpours, cloud coverage and high humidity. Although temperatures will still be warm during this time and rains usually occur overnight, this is when visitor numbers are at their lowest (which may be a plus for some travellers).

when to go by region

Central Highlands & Rift Valley

This region of Kenya enjoys the most idyllic climate in the country, with temperatures averaging 20 °C. There are two rainy seasons, with the long rains falling from March to May and the short rains from mid-October to November, when you may see monthly rainfall top 200mm. Mount Kenya has its own climate, receiving the most amount of rainfall of anywhere in the country at up to 300mm. Average temperatures here decrease with altitude, lowering to 4 °C. Early mornings tend to be sunnier, with clouds forming around the mountains once the afternoon rolls around. It is easier to spot game during the dry seasons, as animals congregate around lakes, rivers and waterholes.

Coastal areas

In contrast to the inland areas, the coastal strip of Kenya is perennially humid, with a higher average temperature of up to 30 °C. The optimum time to travel here is December to March when the weather is drier. Monsoon rains occur 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.

Other Events

The Great Migration

The exact timing of this renowned natural event can never be guaranteed, as it is ultimately up to the whims of the wildebeest. The animals' movements can be estimated to a fair degree of accuracy however: they can arrive in the Masai Mara as early as July, but as a general rule they can be found in abundance between August and September, beginning their journey back to the Serengeti around October.

Culture

There are many cultural events throughout the year that ignite the whole country. Visitors are welcome to join in with festivities but should always observe religious and private gatherings from a respectful distance, unless otherwise invited of course! Of particular note are the Mombasa Carnival in November and the Ramadan celebrations of May/June.

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