When is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Kenya?

isa in kenya - building a school

 “Seeing is different from Being Told

an Old Proverb from Kenya –

Kenya is a place that once you visit it, will remain in your heart forever!

I remember seeing a couple of photos of the National Parks of Kenya in my geography schoolbook when I was a child, and since then it has always been a place I wanted to travel to!

Something was calling me in those pictures of giraffes walking the Savannah of the Serengeti Park, or those of the wildebeest migration at the Masai Mara National Park, at the feet of the Kilimanjaro.

After almost two decades, I had the great chance to witness what I always dreamed of in first person, and wow: Kenya is even more gorgeous than what pictures can tell! ;D

In this article, I would leave you some info and tips on when to visit Kenya (that I wish I knew before traveling there in January, which was GREAT by no means, but I think it could have been even better ;D).

In short: Kenya has three major seasons: the low season (March-May) where it rains a lot, high season (November-February) which is dry and good for safaris , and peak season (June-October) which is the best time to witness the Wildebeest Migration, one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World.

All seasons, although not equal, are good for a safari in Kenya, for city tours (like in Nairobi), for visiting the Maasai market, or the many other places on the coast.

Said that the seasons are different, mainly in terms of rainfalls and chances to spot wild animals.

In this article, we would like to share with you our great passion for Kenya and our personal opinion on when is the best time to visit this African country throughout the year by analyzing month to month both temperatures and the weather 🙂

Let’s dive right in!

Summary

1. In Brief: Kenya has 3 Seasons!

2. Month to Month Guide! 

3. Temperatures in Kenya Charts

4. Rainfalls in Kenya Charts

5. Our Conclusions on the Best Time to Visit Kenya!

1. Kenya has 3 Seasons: Low, High and Peak!

Low Season: April to June

“Rainy, not ideal, but Cheaper”

march to may is wet season in kenya

The low season in Kenya is synonymous with “wet season, and it’s between April and June.

During these 3 months, Kenya receives very high rainfall known as “Masika”, which usually lasts from March to June (and sometimes even extends to July!).

While the country is dry most of the year, during the wet season Kenya doesn’t experience just normal rain, but also heavy equatorial downpours which in extreme cases can also lead to river flooding!  

The mud and the rain, make it harder for visitors to enjoy their safaris during these months (in paragraph 4 of this article, you can find the rainfall chart too! 🙂 )-

Said that, if you would like to enjoy a Kenya Safari far from the crowds (and also for cheaper!) the low season might be your best time of the year to visit (the rates of hotels and tours drop dramatically during this period, even by 50%!).

Be aware that some hotels, national parks, and lodges might be closed too during this period, as very few tourists visit in spring, and doesn’t make much economic sense for them to stay open!

 

  • Cheaper Tours and Hotels
  • Less Crowds
  • Chance of Heavy Downpours
  • Wet Roads can be Impassable
  • Harder to Enjoy a Safari under the Rain
  • Some Hotel/Lodges/Facilities might be closed
  • Thick Vegetation and Animals Disperse

2. High Season: November to March

Ideal for Safaris around Waterholes

safari near water holes - november to february

The period anticipating the big rainfalls in Kenya is ideal for safaris: lush green vegetation, sunny days, and lower humidity which makes it ideal for exploration!

While November and December might occasionally present a few days of minor rain (which in Kenya is called “Vuli” and happens mostly in the evening), January, and February are the driest months in Kenya.

My girlfriend Isa can confirm it, as she stayed for two months (January and February) to help build a school near Kinshasa, and she never saw rain during her stay there 🙂

The period between November and March is considered high season in Kenya as the weather is ideal for visiting, and many visitors come to the country, especially during the Christmas-New Year Eve break (where it’s recommended to book in advance as prices fly through the roof!).

During this period, it’s easy to spot wildlife around the waterholes and in grazing grounds, and it’s especially good to spot lions and leopards (this period, is also known as the “big cats” season) 🙂

  • Drier months
  • Easy to Spot Wildlife around Waterholes
  • Best Time of the Year for spotting “Big Cats”
  • Lower Humidity!
  • During the Xmas Holiday Prices Skyrocket

3. Peak Season: July to October

“The Season of the Wildebeest Migration!”

wildebeest migration is the best time to visit kenya

This is the season of the Great Wildebeest Migration, considered one of the Seven wonders of the Natural world!), that period of the year when over 1.5 million wildebeest migrate in an enormous loop in search of greener pastures from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara and back.

Zebras, antelopes, wildebeests… this is something to witness at least once in life: putting into words the mesmerizing and overwhelming feeling of seeing this HUGE mass of animals in front of you it’s impossible… just wow and awe! ;D

Of course, due to the migration, you can imagine that this is the most “premium”, sought after, and most expensive time of the year to visit Kenya.

In addition to the wildbeest migration, this period also coincides with the summer holiday season in Europe and the United States, which brings lots of tourists to the country and pushes prices upwards!

All in all though, if you ask me, witnessing the migration in the first person is a worthwhile experience to enjoy in our limited time on this planet! 😉

 

  • The Great Wildbeest Migration – it’s AWESOME!
  • Good Weather without too much Rain
  • Ideal weather to join all Complementary Activities
  • Everything is open!
  • The time of the Year with the Larger Crowds
  • Prices are Highest

2. Month to Month Guide – When to Visit Kenya?

JANUARY

TEMP: 27 / 13

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 83 MM

CROWDS: HIGH SEASON

FEBRUARY

TEMP: 28 / 13

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 97 MM

CROWDS: HIGH SEASON

MARCH

TEMP: 28 / 13

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 124 MM

CROWDS:  LOW SEASON

APRIL

TEMP: 26 / 14 C°

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 169 MM

CROWDS: LOW SEASON

MAY

TEMP: 25 / 13

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 109 MM

CROWDS: LOW SEASON

JUNE

TEMP: 25 / 12 C°

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 56 MM

CROWDS: PEAK SEASON (!)

JULY

TEMP: 25 / 11 C°

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 27 MM

CROWDS: PEAK SEASON (!)

AUGUST

TEMP: 25 / 12 C°

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 42 MM

CROWDS: PEAK SEASON (!)

SEPTEMBER

TEMP: 26 / 12 C°

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 48 MM

CROWDS: PEAK SEASON (!)

OCTOBER

TEMP: 27 / 12 C°

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 53 MM

CROWDS: PEAK  SEASON (!)

NOVEMBER

TEMP: 27 / 13

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 99 MM

CROWDS: HIGH SEASON

DECEMBER

TEMP: 26 / 13

AVERAGE RAINFALL: 312 MM

CROWDS: HIGH SEASON

Note: Temperatures and Rainfall Data refer to the Masai Mara Region (the most popular national park in Kenya), might slightly change in other regions of Kenya.

3. Temperatures in Kenya – Chart

Standing exactly on the equator line, Kenya enjoys similar temperatures throughout the year.

The average temperature in Kenya is around 25°C, with max. temperatures ranging between 22-28°C and the min. temperatures ranging between 10-14C° at night.

Of course, extremes can also happen, and in recent years there have been cases in North-Eastern Kenya where temperatures peaked at 39-40°C.

All in all, coming from Southern Europe, I found the temperatures of Kenya more pleasurable than what I initially thought: yes it’s warm and can get hot, but, at least in my opinion, it is much more bearable than many other African countries if you’re prepared for what is coming (and said by me, that I am a total “sweatman” and I hate heat, that says a lot! ;D ).

Kenya’s Average Yearly Temperature

As you can see from the following graph, there’s not big difference in terms of temperature between seasons, and the “warm” and “cool” seasons present a difference of only 4-5°C.

Thus, temperature-wise, any time is a good time to visit Kenya! ;D 

Kenya Average Yearly Temperature

Average High and Low Temperature in Nairobi

4. Rainfalls in Kenya – Chart

To help you comparing months and plan your visit in the ideal time for you, here you also find a graph showing the average rainfall (in mm) in Kenya. 

Here, you can notice that there’s quite some difference between “dry”, “wet” and “middle-wet” season 🙂

Kenya Average Rainfall – Chart

chart - rainfall kenya through the year - when is the best time to visit?

5. Our Conclusions on the Best time to Visit Kenya!

conclusion - best time to visit kenya

And here we are at the end of the article!

In this article, we’ve seen the different seasons of Kenya, the average temperatures, and rainfalls.

In conclusion, we can say that the wildebeest migration is probably the most astonishing thing you can witness in Kenya and this happens between June and October (when rainfalls are low).

The migration makes this period also the best time to visit the country (in our opinion), and enjoy one of the many Kenya Safaris available throughout the countless national parks.

Of course, by no means does that take away anything from the other season, in which also you can enjoy a super exciting experience and awesome safaris, perhaps for cheaper! 😉

Kenya is a country full of surprises, a playground of nature, where you breathe wilderness, where you can reconnect with your humanity, with your weaknesses and your inner consciousness. Personally, I wish anyone to witness it at least once in life! 🙂

Before going, I would like to ask you:

  • What do you think about the article? Was it useful to you?
  • Have you been to Kenya before?
  • How was your experience? Which do you think is the best time to visit it?

If you’d like to share your experience, we would be happy to hear it! 🙂

So please, let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, and as always…

See you in the next article! 🙂

 

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