Visiting Kenya in January
January is the hottest month across much of the country and is an excellent time to spot wildlife with lower visitor numbers. The seas are at their clearest, the landscape is still lush, but it is dry and sunny in general. The dry season is also particularly good for climbing Mount Kenya and other peaks and you may benefit from low season prices in the Masai Mara.
If you are in Kenya over the New Year then consider a visit to the Lamu Archipelago for a spot of dhow racing at their New Year racing festival.
One of the best time to go diving & snorkelling
January is a great time for a touch of snorkelling or diving due to the clear waters, with the opportunity to see green turtles, manta rays, and both leopard and white tip reef sharks. It is also when you can see whale sharks along the Kenyan coast.
Visiting Kenya in February
High temperatures continue, and it remains virtually dry, but the landscape should still be fairly green. Conditions are still excellent for wildlife viewing, with lower visitor numbers, and it is a fantastic time for climbing and hiking. Experience Nairobi Restaurant Week to sample the incredible food available in Kenya’s capital.
Flamingos in Kenya
It is the rainy season that attracts flamingos to Kenya’s Rift Valley lakes, where they can be spotted in their thousands. But they remain when the rains briefly abate during January and February, making this the perfect time to photograph them under clear blue skies.
A popular safari time
Dry soils make it easy to get around the savannah on safari, places like Samburu National Reserve and Masai Mara are filled with elephants, zebras, and giraffes. The chances of encountering wildlife at watering holes is high as a result of low rainfall.
Visiting Kenya in March
March marks the beginning of the main rainy season, with temperatures becoming hotter and more humid. Rains often arrive in the latter half of the month, making wildlife viewing possible in the first half of March. Prices can be lower as Kenya enters its rainy season and there are fewer crowds.
Mount Kenya Festival
For walkers, climbers and outdoor types, the Mount Kenya Festival is a celebration of the country’s second highest peak.
This is a fantastic chance to see newborns taking their first steps whilst on safari.
Visiting Kenya in April
The “green” season is well underway in April, making it a less than ideal time to travel. Some lodges close as the rainy season gets into full swing. Roads can be treacherous, and the coast becomes very hot and wet. Wildlife viewing can be challenging because of thick vegetation and fewer animals congregating at water sources.
Visiting Kenya in May
May is the height of the rainy season and so many places will be closed with driving conditions becoming poor due to the heavy rainfall. The Samburu National Reserve can be good as wildlife gathers on the riverbanks of the Ewaso Ngiro River.
Visiting Kenya in June
The rains start to abate and the landscape is as green and lush as it gets. This does make spotting wildlife a little trickier, but it is a beautiful time across the country. There is an air of anticipation for the arrival of the Great Migration into the Masai Mara. Light showers are still possible and the nights can be cool at altitude; low humidity, walking and climbing become a little easier. The coast is mostly dry and prices are a little lower before the high season begins in July.
Lake Turkana Festival
This visually spectacular festival in the Rift Valley is a celebration of indigenous culture, promoting peace, cultural exchange and tourism.
If you want to watch off road racing, this 4×4 race is quite the spectacle whilst raising funds to conserve mountain ecosystems.
Visiting Kenya in July
The start of the mass migration into the Masai Mara. Dry weather dominates across the country with the occasional shower. This is the start of the high season and is the coolest month, with the coast, city and parks at their finests, resulting in visitor numbers increasing.
The Great Migration
Wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions and other animals migrate to the Masai Mara from Tanzania.
Visiting Kenya in August
This is the high season in Kenya, especially in the Masai Mara, where it is the peak of the Great Migration. Exceptional game viewing is possible as animals congregate around watering holes and rivers. If you are not in the Mara, August is an excellent time to visit other national parks and conservancies around Kenya. End your trip with the beautiful breezes of the idyllic Kenyan Coast.
Maralal Camel Derby
For a local experience in Samburu country in northern Kenya, the Maralal Camel Derby is a colourful display of camels, costumes and culture.
The Great Migration
With the Great Migration at its height, there is plenty of opportunity to see countless wildebeest and zebras as they gather and cross the Mara and Talek Rivers.
Visiting Kenya in September
The weather remains dry and there are still fantastic opportunities for game viewing in the Masai Mara as wildlife gathers around watering holes. September offers the best of July and August in terms of weather and wildlife, but with slightly fewer crowds, especially in the latter part of the month. Every two years, JAMAFEST, an East African arts festival, is a fantastic experience which rotates between East African nations.
Visiting Kenya in October
As the temperatures rise, so does the chance of a shower or two. The herds of wildlife begin to leave the Masai Mara, but plenty of residents can still be seen. Visitor numbers are lower and it is a great time to visit across the country. Keep in mind, 20th October marks Mashujaa Day, a public holiday, meaning Nairobi and coastal areas are buzzing as Kenyans head to the beaches and parks.
The migratory herds are leaving the Mara now, but excellent resident populations remain.
Visiting Kenya in November
The start of the short rainy season, as temperatures continue to increase. Many destinations are open, but around Laikipia, places close at this time. The crowds have started to disappear and you can often make the most of some good deals. November is a great time for festival lovers, with both Lamu Cultural Festival and Mombasa Carnival celebrating the rich heritage of Kenya’s communities.
Lamu Cultural Festival
Lamu Cultural Festival is hosted in Lamu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Traditional dancing called ngoma and centuries-old skills such as dhow (sailboat) building, donkey racing, fish-trap making and dhow regattas make this an incredible festival.
Floats, music and dance epitomise Mombasa’s street party, with stalls selling a range of items from wood carvings to reggae CDs. Artists from across Kenya join in, making the carnival an inspiring introduction to East Africa’s diverse culture.
Visiting Kenya in December
The end of the year brings the peak of the short rainy season. Hot and wet conditions dominate, but the scenery is beautiful and green. Some camps in the north are closed, but where camps are open, wildlife viewing is great with high numbers of birds present. Two festivals take place in December and make for spectacular viewing. Rusinga Cultural Festival is a two day event on Lake Victoria celebrates the culture of the Abasuba people while the Beneath the Baobabs Festival in Kilifi is one of the coast’s best music festivals, with East African and international performers, art and costumes.