Scarface the lion, Masai Mara, Kenya

The best time to visit Kenya

Kenya’s peak season for travellers is July to October – a time when the annual wildebeest migration is in the Masai Mara – but this means far more visitors so is not necessarily the best time for everyone. Most people want to avoid the worst of the rains in roughly April and May, but otherwise, there are good reasons to come in all other months.

Migration, Maasai and Indian Ocean beaches

If the migration is not your main focus, you will get better prices and there will be fewer other people at other times of the year. However, there are always ways to have large chunks of this incredible country mostly to yourself – you just have to know where to go. We do!

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Maasai walking in Kenya © Shutterstock

Kenya's Seasons

Should you travel to Kenya in the dry season or the green season, or doesn't it matter?

Buffalos at a waterhole, Africa © AKubik,Shutterstock

Dry seasons in Kenya

December to mid-March, and June to October.

After the long rains from about mid-March to the end of May, the land begins to dry out and the lush grasses start to die back. This makes it easier to see the wildlife and it also means that animals start to congregate near water sources as the season goes by.
From July to October, temperatures drop. Be prepared for cool or cold mornings and evenings even though daytimes temperatures are around 20°c. This is peak season. Around mid-July to October is when the migration is in the Masai Mara so book early to get your preferred choice of places to stay in the Mara.

Striped Kingfisher, Kenya © AGMarks

Green season in Kenya: Long rains

Mid-March to May

April and May see most of the rain falling. The parched plains (and people and wildlife) will be crying out for the rain by the time they come (if they come). Heavy rains can make travel difficult on untarred roads, especially in reserves. Some lodges and camps close during these months. Others stay open but offer very good rates, so you could grab a bargain.
Wildlife is always harder to see in the rain, but then on the plus side, there are far fewer people here.
Birdwatching is good at this time, especially from October to April when many migratory birds are in the country.

A line of elephants, Kenya © SPorter,Shutterstock

Green season in Kenya: Short rains

Around mid-November for about a month

The rains that fall at this time tend to be far lighter and rarely last all day. It's common to get a sharp shower once a day, and mostly not every day. We still love travelling here at this time. November to March are popular 'winter sun' months, and the coast benefits from sunseekers.

Kenya's climate

Kenya coast © DBaciu,Shutterstock

Temperature and rainfall

Kenya has two rainy seasons and therefore two dry seasons. The short rains are usually from mid-November to mid-December and the long rains - which are best avoided - are usually from mid-March through April and May.
The hottest months are those between the short and long rains - roughly December to March. Average temperatures at this time will be around the late 20s during the day in the south and centre of the country, but note, it can be much hotter in the north.
The drier weather from June to October brings the cooler temperatures averaging closer to 20°c during the day and with cool or even very cold mornings and evenings. You'll need to dress in layers!

Degrees in Celsius
  • 23 J
  • 24 F
  • 24 M
  • 21 A
  • 19 M
  • 18 J
  • 18 J
  • 19 A
  • 19 S
  • 20 O
  • 19 N
  • 20 D
Rainfall in mm
  • 52 J
  • 64 F
  • 96 M
  • 358 A
  • 557 M
  • 307 J
  • 245 J
  • 344 A
  • 361 S
  • 341 O
  • 429 N
  • 574 D

When to see Kenya's wildlife

A wildlife enthusiast’s quick guide to when and where to see some of Kenya's key species and wildlife events.

Gorgeous cheetah cub, Africa © JulianW,Shutterstock

Kenya's big cats

You will see cheetahs, leopards and lions throughout Kenya, though the Masai Mara is really the place, especially some of Mara's private conservancies. Dry season is best but they're always around.

Wildebeest migration corssing the river, Serengeti, Tanzania © AAnita,Shutterstock

Annual wildebeest migration

From around mid-July to October, hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebras are in the Masai Mara and its private conservancies (and northern Serengeti). It is an incredible sight.

Grevy's zebra, seen on a Saruni lodge game drive, Samburu, Kenya © PietroLuraschi,Saruni Lodges

Grevy's zebra

The rarest zebra, which is taller and with larger ears and narrower stripes than other zebra species. These endangered zebras are only found in northern Kenya and Ethiopia. You can spot them all year round.

Reticulated giraffes in Buffalo Springs, Kenya © NKphotos,Shutterstock

Three giraffe species

Kenya has the rare Rothschild's (or Nubian) giraffe in Lake Nakuru NP, the slightly more populous Reticulated giraffe in the north, and the more common Maasai giraffe in the south. You can see them all year.

Chris-3
Talk to Christine - Travel Consultant

Call:  01473 890499

Start planning your tailor-made holiday now. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor make your perfect trip.

Client Rating for Kenya 5/5 from 58 reviews