Kenya

When to go to Kenya

the best time to go to kenya

Due to Kenya’s equatorial setting, the country enjoys year-round warm weather and relatively low annual rainfall. However, with a range of altitude 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, 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 so 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, however, morning 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 of 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.

when to avoid

When to avoid Kenya has two rainy seasons, the ‘short rains’ from November to December, usually lasting around 5 weeks and the ‘long rains’ from March to May which include frequent downpours, cloud coverage and high humidity. Although, temperatures will still be warm during this time and rains usually occur overnight, this is the least favourable time to visit the country. 

when to go by region

An overview of the best times to go to Kenya by the region you want to travel to, including the Central highlands, Rift Valley and Coastal Areas.

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 mid-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.

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 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 great migration and other events

The best times to see the great migration in Kenya and where, as well as other festivities and events throughout the country.

Wildebeest Migration

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 Masai 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.

Events

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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