Kenya is a beautiful and diverse country – home to mountain ranges, the African Rift Valley, forests, lakes, savannahs and extended coastlines. Although each of the specific destinations have best times to visit, Kenya enjoys warm temperatures and good conditions year round.
A good way to narrow down the best time to visit Kenya is by deciding what sort of safari experience you are looking for. For example, if you want to see the wildebeest migration herds, then you will need to time your visit between July and November. Travel any early or later and you will miss the herds as they will have moved on to the eastern plains of the Serengeti.
June to October
This is the dry season in Kenya and the best time to head on safari in most national parks. Although temperatures are warm (around 26° Celsius), it can still be relatively cool during early morning game drives, or evening sundowners. Layers are important during a safari and if you can, try to pack thin clothing like linen or cotton.
July to November is the best time to experience the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara (southern Kenya). The first herds will arrive around early July, depending on the yearly rain and weather patterns. As the wildebeest herds make the dangerous crossing over the Mara River (from the Serengeti National Park into the Masai Mara), hungry crocodiles lurk in the water and killer-cats hide in the trees on the river banks. This is a once-in-a-lifetime sighting. Do not underestimate the noise – over 1.5 million wildebeest are not quiet!
Because of the river crossings, the Masai Mara is pretty busy during this time of the year. If you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend staying in a conservancy further out of the Masai Mara National Reserve – for example, the Mara North Conservancy. This gives you seclusion and more exclusive game viewing, but with the chance to do a full day game drive inside the reserve to see the wildebeest crossings.
November to December
This is a period of short rains in Kenya but this shouldn’t put you off. Rain showers are often short, sporadic and intense but they clear quickly and sunshine often follows. The beginning of November can be a great option to see the end of the wildebeest herds, and to experience lower rates across safari camps.
December to March
Following the short rains of November, Kenya’s landscape in December stands out as it is more green and dense. Early December may be a little harder for game viewing as the vegetation is thicker but as the days go on, the parks become drier and the wildlife easier to spot. This is also a good time to travel for bird-watching as migratory birds arrive throughout November. The best places for bird-watching are lakes around the Rift Valley, including Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Lake Bogoria.
If you are looking for some winter sun, the Kenyan coast is a good place to head during this time. South of Mombasa, around the Diani beach are in particular, is simply breath-taking. The Christmas holidays are busy so we would advise booking your Kenya itinerary in advance if you are looking to go away during the holidays.
April to May
April and May are the rainy months in Kenya and depending on the weather patterns, this can sometimes extend into late March and early June. The country experiences heavy downpours and cooler weather during this time and as a result, most of the safari camps and beach hotels are closed .The small internal flight schedules are reduced too, so if you are looking to combine multiple national parks, we will need to check logistics and options for you.
Get in touch with our team today to plan your trip to Kenya.
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