When is the best time to visit Kenya?
The best time to visit Kenya depends on what you want to do. Kenya is divided by the equator and is characterized by a tropical climate.
The weather in Kenya is often ideal, although the coast can be very humid and there are hot, desert-like conditions around Lake Magadi and in the northern areas of the country around Lake Turkana. Most regions in Kenya have temperatures between 71-91°F a day, and they rarely drop below 55°F at night. Even during the short rains, the humidity during the day is mostly low and the sky is clear enough to see the Milky Way at night.
During the coolest months of June, July and August, temperatures in Nairobi are around 60°F, which can drop to about 50°F in the Aberdare region and the Mount Kenya massif.
Expect generally hot, clear days with short bursts of rain, and enjoy some of the best conditions for wildlife viewing, as well as high water clarity in the coastal regions.
- Head to the northern coast of Kenya and discover a colorful underwater world where you can go snorkeling or soak up the sun on one of the palm-lined beaches
- With a little luck you can see the Big Five among the endless bush landscapes of Tsavo East National Park
February is one of the driest times of the year – expect average highs in the early 80s and lows around 50 °F. With minimal rainfall, the length of the grasses in the Savannah are short, so keep your fingers crossed for easy wildlife sightings!
- Witness giant elephant herds following ancient hiking trails in the rocky landscape of Samburu and spot the rare Grévy’s zebra on the banks of the Uaso Nyiro River
- Travel to Laikipia in central Kenya for exclusive nature and wildlife experiences
Expect warm temperatures in the day and high levels of humidity as the rains will begin to make their presence felt towards the end of the month. This is possibly the last month to head to the coast before the heavy rains make conditions uncomfortable there.
- Explore Chale island just off Kenya’s southeastern coast and discover an idyllic retreat dotted with inland tidal lakes, pristine beaches and vibrant coral reefs
In April, Kenya usually experiences around five hours of sunshine as rains take hold of the country. The landscape starts turning green as vegetation begins to flourish.
- Head to Kisumu on Lake Victoria – the principal city of western Kenya has a relaxed ambiance and is a haven for fresh fish enthusiasts, given its many fish markets!
May is typically off season in Kenya with heavy rain and not much sunshine, which makes wildlife sightings difficult.
- Plan a visit to the Karen Blixen Museum in the bustling capital city, Nairobi, to learn about the changing history of Kenya
As the rains begin to abate, cool, dry conditions begin to dominate. Expect average lows of 50°F, so make sure you dress in layers!
- Head to the Amboseli National Park, at the foot of the imposing Mount Kilimanjaro, and spend time in one of the best places to see African elephants
- Visit the most arid region in Kenya – Chalbi Desert – and marvel at its stunning natural landscape replete with volcanoes and ancient lava flows and towering sand dunes
The cool, dry conditions mean it’s excellent for safaris in Kenya. And it’s also time for the Great Migration – it is peak season in Kenya so you will need to book fast!
- Witness the Great Migration in the Masai Mara National Reserve, where millions of antelopes, zebras and wildebeest cross the savanna landscape from July to October
- If you want a break from the wildlife, the pristine paradise at Kiwayu Island with its virgin beaches, crystal clear waters, dolphins and whales and a host of water sports awaits!
- Head to Meru National Park, made famous by the movie ‘Born Free’, home to stunning natural beauty as well as a diverse range of animals
Expect low humidity, sunny days and cold nights, especially in the higher altitudes. River migrations will have reduced as the herds will now be on the Mara.
- Head to Lake Elementaita, a small soda ash lake as the dry season is the ideal time to catch a glimpse of its diverse wildlife
- Make the painstaking journey to remote Lake Turkana and be rewarded with views of the world’s largest desert lake and its fearsome Nile crocodiles!
- For something different, travel to Kericho, Kenya’s tea territory!
Things begin to heat up this month with daytime temperatures in the mid 80s. Rainfall is minimal and the skies are clear, affording great photographic opportunities.
- Witness the flamingos at Lake Nakuru – over one million of these graceful birds can be found fishing in the lake for their feast of delicious algae!
- If you are yearning the great outdoors then we recommend a hike in the foothills of Mount Kenya
- Enjoy the diverse birdlife at Lake Naivasha and game viewing at Hells Gate National Park, to the south of the lake
Dry, warm conditions persist but expect the rains to set in by the end of the month.
- Before the rains arrive, discover Kakamega Forest National Reserve, the only tropical rainforest in Kenya, home to some of Africa’s best-known tree species and exquisite orchids
- Make the most of the dry conditions by enjoying the abundant wildlife at The Aberdares
- If you are keen on birdwatching, this is right time to make a trip to the saline Lake Bogoria with its two million migratory birds!
November is characterized by short bursts of rain, cooler early mornings and nights.
- While the Great Migration is over, the increasing greenery heralds the arrival of newborns in the Mara, giving you unique wildlife viewing and photographic opportunities
- Spend time in the city of Mombasa, with its beautiful beaches and touches of Arabic and Portuguese architecture. Witness the vibrant Mombasa Carnival held during this month!
As the rain abates, warm dry conditions set in again. Though December isn’t high season, expect a fair amount of rush around Christmas and New Year’s, so book well in advance to enjoy an unforgettable holiday!
- Visit the dramatic collection of ancient volcanic cinder cones of Chyulu Hills and spot large herds of elands, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, lions, buffaloes and elephants
- Enjoy a rich cultural experience by visiting the old town of Lamu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, an almost car-free town with diverse architectural influences
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Our destination experts will get in touch with you to craft a completely tailor-made, obligation-free itinerary to match your interests and budget.
Once you have booked your trip, sit back and relax – we’ll take care of everything else. With our exceptional local team & 24/7 support, priceless memories await you!
Best time to visit Kenya by season
- Hot months: January to March
- Long rains: April to June
- Cold months: June to August
- Short rains: November to December. It is rarely raining all day. Short, heavy rainfalls are usually replaced by sunny periods, which makes this time in Kenya very pleasant.
What to Pack
Safari wear should be comfortable and casual. Evenings and early mornings can be chilly so warm sweaters are recommended. Low heeled comfortable sports or trekking shoes are the most suitable walking shoes, should you intend joining any walking safaris.
We recommend you bring warm clothes, including a fleece or light wool sweater and socks, apart from the normal safari gear. During the day it can get quite hot so don’t forget sunglasses and a high factor sunscreen, as well as a sun hat with a small brim.
Some specialist trips, i.e. mountain climbing, require extra items of clothing and footwear. Many hotels, lodges and camps have swimming pools so you are advised to bring swimsuits.
Due to limited space in the vehicle and light aircraft, we advise you to keep your luggage to the minimum. We suggest you pack your luggage into a small bag of no more than 15 kgs – the luggage limit for local flights issued by the airlines. Almost all safari lodges and camps provide same day laundry service.
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