Kenya is a tropical country, but due to its range of varied landscapes the weather can vary quite significantly between different parts of the nation. For instance, the coastal regions are the warmest and most humid all-year-round, while the further inland you travel; the cooler and drier the weather becomes.
All of Kenya experiences pleasant temperatures and plenty of sunshine throughout the year, though. It is worth noting that in some locations (such as Nairobi and around Mount Kenya) the temperature can vary significantly between day and night. You therefore need to be prepared for chilly weather in the evenings and early mornings. In Nairobi, it can fall to around 9-10 degrees Celsius in the evening, but hit up to 26 degrees Celsius during the day, for instance.
Best times for a safari in Kenya
If the main reason for your trip is to go on a safari in Kenya, you need to think carefully about when you'd like to travel. The warmest and driest months are January and February, which are the most popular months to go on safari.
This is because the dry weather means animals congregate around pools and rivers, making it easier to spot a wide variety of Kenya's wildlife. However, the downside to travelling during this period is that some of the most popular game reserves can be rather busy and because the animals are in concentrated groups, the tour groups do the same.
Should you be keen to see the mind-blowing wildebeest migration, you need to plan your safari in Kenya between June and October. This is when huge herds of these animals, as well as zebras, make their way from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara.
The low season for safaris is from March to the end of May, during the long rainy season. Wildlife tends to be more difficult to spot because it is more spread out and there is much better cover from vegetation than in the dry months. On the other hand, there are fewer tourist crowds and consequently safari tours might be cheaper around this time.
When to explore Kenya's coast
The coastal region remains warm throughout the year and experiences the smallest temperature variation, averaging between 22 and 30 degrees Celsius throughout the year. However, it has the highest average rainfall in the country, largely due to the south-east monsoon season that lasts from April to July.
It's worth noting that Kenya's coast is typically very humid, which makes the heat much tougher to deal with, so be prepared for this by bringing lightweight clothing if you'll be spending some time in or around Mombasa.
This coastal city gets lots of sunshine throughout the year and as it is never particularly cold, you can hit the beach no matter what time of year it is that you chose to come on holiday to Kenya.
Various water sports are on offer at Kenya's south coast resorts, with scuba diving being one of the most popular. Although you can dive all year round, visibility is generally reduced during July and August due to a build-up of silt in the water. Travel to this part of the country in February or March and you are almost guaranteed a whale shark sighting, while dolphins can be spotted off the coast year-round.
Preparing for your holiday in Kenya
Once you have decided when to book your trip to Kenya, you need to make sure you are prepared for all the different climates you will experience, especially if you will be travelling around the country. A light raincoat is useful most of the year, while warmer clothing is essential if you'll be spending time in the highlands, such as around Mount Kenya.
If you choose to go on a safari during the low season (March to May) make sure you have a mosquito net and plenty of insect repellent, as there are typically lots of mosquitoes during these months. A good set of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens are other items you may wish to pack if you're planning a safari regardless of the time of year.
Your tour operator will provide you with further, more personalised information about what to pack for your holiday in Kenya once you have created your own itinerary and know exactly where you will be visiting and when.
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