Most safari destinations in Kenya, like Lake Nakuru National Park and Samburu National Reserve, are at their best from June to October, and from December through February. The weather during these periods is mild and mostly dry with warm daytime temperatures, which makes for excellent conditions to go on a safari and view wildlife. But the good weather also coincides with the high tourist season (January to February) so expect bigger crowds and higher peak season rates.
When is the best time to witness the wildebeest migration?
July through September is also considered one of the best times to do a safari to witness the annual Maasai Mara wildebeest migration. If you're in the Maasai Mara you can expect the wildebeest to make their arrival as early as July, but they generally arrive between August and September and remain in the Mara between October and November before returning to the Serengeti in Tanzania.
When is the best time to skip the crowds?
If big crowds aren't your thing, you could visit during the low/rainy seasons between November and December or late March and May (however, this is when the weather is at its worst). During this time tourist sites are less crowded, hotels have more rooms available and prices are usually cheaper. However, this might not be such a good idea if you don't fancy torrential downpours every day.
Best for: wildlife spotting and national park exploring
January in Kenya is in the middle of the wet season and while for some countries that might mean a less optimal time to travel, it’s actually one of the best times to visit Kenya if you want to see some serious wildlife. This is because the constant (yet brief) rainfall experienced during the month makes the landscapes extremely green and very luscious, and in turn, creating prime habitats for various wildlife.
Best for: hiking Kenya’s mountains and lounging on its beaches
Be prepared for all weather conditions in Kenya in February with moderate to high temperatures expected, as well as rainfall ranging from a little to a lot. The average high temperature is around 27°C (81°F), while the average low is a comfortable (if a little on the chilly side) 14°C (57°F), so it’s perfect for spending long periods outside on safari or hiking through the country’s mountain ranges.
While the weather can be a bit unpredictable at times, on average, February sees more sunny days than it does rainy ones throughout the month with only the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and the Kisumu region experiencing moderate rainfall.
Best for: beach relaxation and water based activities
There’s no point in beating around the bush, March isn’t the best month to travel Kenya as it marks the beginning of monsoon season. This can make it hard for travellers to move around the country easily (think flash flooding and storms), so you’ll unlikely get the ‘classic’ safari experience. Your trip could also be hampered by road and national park closures so it’s best to be flexible if you travel in March.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a really great holiday. The weather’s still warm (average highs of 27C), so relaxing at a beachside destination along the eastern coast of Kenya is a popular choice. And, because it’s not peak season, accommodation prices will be lower.
Best for: dining out and exploring city streets
April is similar to March weather-wise and high temperatures and lots of rainfall means high humidity levels that may make it uncomfortable to spend long periods outside. In fact, April is one of the rainiest months of the year, so some national parks and campsites close their doors during this time.
But while frequent rainfall might make spotting wildlife tricky, there’s plenty to keep you occupied in Nairobi and other urban areas, as well as destinations along the southeast coast, where the weather is warm and rainfall primarily occurs in the afternoon – did someone say morning excursion?
Best for: boat trips in Naivasha, national park exploring and water based activities along the southeastern coast
Average temperatures start to come down in May, but rainfall is still at a year-round high, so it’s not the best month to visit Kenya. However, there are still plenty of places to go where rainfall is low and temperatures are hot – think Naivasha with its beautiful lake and Mount Kenya National Park with its wildlife and sightseeing.
Best for: hiking, biking and various water sports
Say goodbye to the monsoon season (in the middle of the month) and hello to the dry weather. Going on safari returns to the top of the ‘best things to do in Kenya’ list as animals frequent rivers, lakes and watering holes in need of hydration after the long rains (monsoon season).
Temperatures are at a manageable 22°C (72°F) on average and destinations such as Nairobi, Diani Beach, Malindi and Watamu experience plenty of sunny days. So, leave the umbrella at your hotel and head outside to explore the great African outdoors.
Best for: scuba diving and bird migration watching
The dry season is well and truly alive in July and with it brings clear skies and cooler temperatures. But don’t let that deceive you. The sun is incredibly strong in Kenya so even if the average temperature is around 22°C (72°F), it’s still best to put on some sunscreen every morning and wear a hat and sunglasses.
July is a popular month to visit Kenya for scuba diver enthusiasts as there’s good water visibility in the Indian Ocean along the coast and conditions are excellent due to low run off. Bird watching is also a popular activity during this time as various species migrate to the lakes of the Rift Valley in large numbers.
Best for: local village visits and epic sunsets
The rains may have stopped but the dry weather experienced in August has its challenges too as peak season descends on Kenya. So, while the mild to warm weather lends itself to outdoor activities such as hiking and beach-going, it also attracts plenty of tourists to popular regions making it more difficult to secure moderate-priced accommodation.
Best for: watching the great wildebeest migration and hot air balloon rides
September is one of the driest months in Kenya and the average temperatures are still at a comfortable 24°C (75°F) so you don’t have to worry about sweatin’ it out on the savannah just yet. In short, the weather is about as good as it gets. September is also the last month where you can witness the great wildebeest migration so going on safari is extremely popular.
But just like the big animals, the smaller animals (read: insects) are out to play too with mosquitos in full force, especially around large bodies of water. To avoid getting bitten, wear lights of loose-fitting clothing, as well as a wide-brimmed hat, and carry mosquito repellant with you.
Best for: museum wandering and beachside escapades
Weather conditions are starting to feel heavy again in October as the month draws to a close and Kenya’s shorter rainy season begins in November. This means humidity levels are getting higher and the air is feeling stickier, lending itself to the country’s coastal areas where you can relax on the beach and go for a swim when you need to cool down. Wandering around Nairobi’s museums and other indoor attractions is also a good idea if you want to stay out of the heat.
Best for: indoor cooking classes, snorkelling and scuba diving
The wet season starts again in November with about a month of ‘short rains’ which typically fall in the afternoon or early evening. While this is not ideal for your wildlife spotting endeavours, you still have plenty of sunlight hours in the morning to explore some of Kenya’s most beautiful landscapes (and the animals that live on them).
Despite November holding the title of ‘third rainiest month in Kenya’, there’s plenty of places that receive little to no rainfall such as the southeast coastal areas. But avoid Mount Kenya and the highland region if you don’t want to get washed out.
Best for: market shopping and Christmas celebrations
If you’re trying to escape the North American or European winter, then you want to be in Kenya in December with average temperatures sitting at a warm and (often) sunny 24°C (75°F). But the overall weather conditions in Kenya differ depending on which area you’re in. The highlands area is generally mild in temperature and rainy during the first half of the month before changing to the exact opposite (hot and dry) as it gets closer to Christmas.
Our Kenya tours