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When is the best time to visit Kenya so you can plan the perfect wildlife getaway

Safari in Kenya

So you’re thinking of booking that getaway to Kenya? Well, you’ve come to the right place! We LOVE Kenya because it’s home to all the adorable and majestic safari animals, but also because it’s a country so rich in culture, and, of course, infused with some truly jaw-dropping sights.

But when is the best time to visit Kenya, you ask? That depends. We’ve asked one of our Trip Managers on the ground, Haron Mbugua, to give us some tips on the best times to visit Kenya and why. (Spoiler alert: the answer is all year round).

When is the best time to visit Kenya?

Like all destinations, there is a generally accepted “best time” to visit Kenya (which we will cover below), however, because this country is so geographically diverse with both mountains and seas, as well as far-reaching open plains, and a climate that is more moderate compared to other African nations, Kenya is widely viewed as an amazing year-round holiday destination!

March to May

Kenya’s rainy season is characteristic of autumn: “We have short rains that begin in the month of March and end in May,” says Haron. “But the grass is very green in this season, the scenery is very beautiful.” And just because autumn marks Kenya’s rainy season, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit! ‘Rainy season’ sounds dramatic, but in reality there will be short showers for 1 or 2 hours a day, “normally late in the evening”, and then it’s back to bright sun and smiles on everyone’s faces. 

Kenya may seem a little wetter than it normally is, but this won’t take away any of the amazing experiences, or chances to spot some truly mesmerising wildlife. The average temperature in autumn is usually between 15 and 28 degrees celsius, so bring your seasonal best anyway! Plus, travel prices are generally lower in this season because of the drop in tourism, so if you want to see lions on a budget now’s the time…

safari in Maasai Mara in Kenya

Image source:Amy Irwin

June to September

Winter is when things really kick off in Kenya, and it’s all because of a little thing called The Great Migration. Thousands of tourists from all over the world flock to Maasai Mara, particularly during the tail-end of summer, to spot the mass crossing of wildebeest and other grazing mammals. “The Great Migration starts around July and continues until August, so there is very high demand for tourists.” If you travel to see the Great Migration, it’s a good idea to dip south into Tanzania as this is peak wildlife viewing times there as well!

Despite slightly inflated costs due to demand and some more crowds, winter is considered the best time to visit Kenya because of the Migration as well as the beautiful weather which is no longer blemished by rain. You’ll be treated to bright sunshine all day, every day, so don’t forget to pack that very essential sunscreen to avoid burns. This is also the most amazing time to do things like spend lazy days at the beach or aboard a traditional dhow boat. 

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September to November

Spring in Kenya is a lot more lowkey as the migratory herds leave Maasai Mara. But this is still an excellent opportunity to book safari tours and spot some game. “We have an abundance of wildlife throughout the year, including the Big 5 and other amazing animals,” Haron confirms, and in fact while the typical savannah haunts like zebras and lions stay put, spring is when Kenya’s many colourful birds make their own journey!

You can watch these vibrant migrations happen above, and enjoy lower crowds and the same deliciously warm weather as the summer months. A short rainy season starts again around the month of October and can last a little in September, but it’s not as intense as the autumn rainy season, and even that isn’t that intense, so… 

lions in Maasai Mara, Kenya

Image source:Amy Irwin

December to February

According to Haron, summer is the very best time to visit Kenya: “The grass is short during this time, which means that there are better chances of seeing the animals, including babies. For me, this is the best time to go on safari.”

In Kenya, these months define the peak of summer, and so the temperature ranges from 35 to 40 degrees celsius, but luckily this is also the time when the seas are at their most clear so you can take dips between the waves to cool off (and almost all lodges will have a pool, as well!). This is one of Kenya’s high seasons, so prices will be a little higher and crowds a little busier, but for the amount of wildlife you’ll get to see it’s well worth it.

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What’s the weather like in Kenya?

Because Kenya is positioned on the Equator, this means that the seasons of the year don’t see any drastic changes in the way that they would in northern Europe, for example. The average temperature in Kenya year-round is between 25 and 35 degrees celsius, so no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll be treated to days of golden sun and light breezes. 

As mentioned above, Kenya does have two rainy seasons, the autumn one being longer than spring, but the rain shouldn’t disturb the heat, the sun, or the animals, so you can book lots of safaris and enjoy the beaches and cities with no disturbances.

Any time of year truly is the best time to visit Kenya.

woman on safari in Kenya

Image source:Contiki

Travel with Contiki

Sounds pretty magical, right? We believe that everyone should experience an African safari at least once in their life, and with national reserves like Maasai Mara, Amboseli, and Nairobi National Park all within Kenya, this is a no-brainer holiday destination.

If you travel with us on our Kenyan Highlights trip or East Africa Safari trip, you’ll be treated to game drives all day long, spotting lions, leopards, zebras, elephants, and so many more, with all your transport and accommodation taken care of for you! 

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