When is the Best Time to Visit Kenya?
Best Time to Travel
Kenya, like many of its neighbors in Africa, has two seasons: a wet and dry season. The temperature does not fluctuate much at all during the year so it’s mostly precipitation and location that you’ll want to consider prior to booking your trip to Kenya. If you’re traveling to the coast, expect more precipitation and higher temperatures and humidity. As you move into the interior of the country, you’ll experience less precipitation and if you’re at higher elevations, a wider range in temperatures. In fact, if you’re on the top of Mount Kenya, you can expect to see snow year round. Since you’re much more likely to be visiting Masai Mara than the mountains, below are a few things to keep in mind about each of Kenya’s seasons and how they pertain to seeing wildlife.
- Dry Season (June – October): If your goal is to see lots of wildlife, these months are the best time to visit Kenya. During these months, there is less precipitation and animals gather at sources of water. Because there is less vegetation, it’s also a lot easier to spot the animals. If you’re hoping to see the migration of wildebeest, you’ll want to visit in August or September. Keep in mind though that during this season, which is high season, rates are often higher and the parks can be pretty crowded. The average daily high temperature in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, in June is 70°F while the average daily low temperature is 54°F. By October, temperatures have warmed up, but not by much. The average daily high is 75°F while the average daily low is 55°F.
- Wet Season (November – May): There are several pros to traveling during Kenya’s wet season. They include encountering lower prices, greener and lusher scenery, baby animals and many different breeds of migratory birds. The cons of traveling during Kenya’s wet season obviously include rain—continuous showers from March through May and shorter, afternoon showers during the other months. Several outfitters do not operate during the latter part of the wet season so keep that in mind too. In February (Nairobi’s warmest month), the average daily high temperature is 79°F while the average daily low temperature is 55°F. By May, things have cooled down to an average daily high of 72°F while the average daily low is 55°F.
What to Pack for a Trip to Kenya
As with all international trips, it’s essential that you have all of your paperwork handy. And make copies! These will prevent you from having a major panic attack if you can’t find your passport or visa because having copies makes it a lot easier to get replacements. Also, try to pack as lightly as possible and if you can, use soft-sided luggage that is easier to stow in cargo spaces on small planes and vehicles.
1. Hair Accessories and a Hat
While our guests stay at some of Kenya’s nicest properties, many camps and lodges use generators that run for a limited number of hours each day. That means that it’s best to leave your styling tools at home and instead, rely on a hat or ponytail for keeping your locks at bay.
2. Bandana or Buff
This kind of falls into the above category, but it’s a good idea to bring a bandana or a buff which is basically a piece of “performance headwear” that you can wear around your neck or on your head. The options are endless, but a buff is great for those dusty jeep rides and for keeping sweat or moisture out of your eyes. They come in a variety of colors and patterns and even if you’re not using them for wind, sand, water or sun protection, they look great as headbands!
3. Camera Equipment
Most people come to Kenya for the wildlife, and since the only thing you can bring home with you are pictures, you’ll want to make sure you get the best shots possible. Buy, borrow or rent a large lens (if you don’t already have one), and we also recommend packing a USB port or external hard drive for additional storage.
Travel Tips for Kenya
Kenya is the birthplace of “safari” and our Kenya: Nairobi to Masai Mara is one of our most popular adventure vacations in Africa. Even if you don’t get the chance to discover this incredible country with our Kenyan guides, we’re happy to share a few tips that will hopefully enhance your trip for the better.
1. Say You’ve Had Drink While Straddling the Equator
One of Kenya’s most famous resorts is the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club which is home to a lounge, Zebar,which literally straddles both sides of the Equator. (Note: our guests stay here on Day 3 of our trip.) Sit back and enjoy a cocktail and some snacks while admiring Zebar’s views of the resort’s gardens and Mount Kenya.
2. Knowing Swahili Can Save You Money
If you plan on doing some souvenir shopping in the Kenyan markets, it helps to know a few words in the local language, Swahili. This enables you to be a better barterer – and bartering is common in Kenyan markets – and it also wins you brownie points with the locals and merchants who appreciate the extra effort you put forth into embracing their culture.
3. Safari from the Sky
Don’t think that the only way to do a safari is by jeep. Although that’s a great method of transportation, we also offer our guests the unique opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride above Masai Mara National Reserve. It may cost extra, but it gives you an entirely different perspective that not many safari-goers can say they’ve had!