When to Visit Kenya

Kenya's coolest months occur during the northern hemisphere's summer, and vice versa, although, lying as it does directly athwart the equator, Kenya does not really have radically different seasons as such.

However there are four distinctive weather seasons - the long rains and the short rains - separated by drier periods. 

The region north of the Equator is hot and receives comparatively little rain, while the southern region falls into three meteorological zones: the coast is humid, the highlands are relatively temperate, and the Lake Victoria region is tropical.

Each weather period will impact on your safari experience in different ways, so it pays to check when the best time to visit will be for you. In particular April and May see the highest amount of rain on the coast: a beach holiday is rather more affected by rain than a game-viewing safari!


Kenya's Seasons

The Long Rains

The Long Rains fall from late March to early June. During this time, the rain usually falls in the late afternoon, preceded by bright, sunny and fresh days.

It is certainly possible to visit Kenya during the long rains: few roads are affected and the parks are fresh and green, with fewer people and vehicles.

June to October - ‘Winter'

The period following the Long Rains corresponds to Kenya’s Winter, and is probably the principal game viewing season.

The Short Rains

The Short Rains come intermittently from late October through November.

December to March - ‘Summer'

Finally, the period following the Short Rains corresponds to Kenya’s Summer


This said, Kenya’s different topographical regions do still experience quite distinct climates.

The coastal region is largely humid and wet. The city of Malindi, for instance, receives an average rainfall of 1,050 mm (41 in) per year, with average temperatures ranging from 21° to 32°C (70° to 90°F) in January and 20° to 29°C (68° to 84°F) in July.

The low plateau area is the driest part of the country. There, the town of Wajir receives an average annual rainfall of 320 mm (13 in) and experiences average temperatures ranging from 19° to 37°C (66° to 99°F) in January and 19° to 34°C (66° to 93°F) in July.

Nairobi, in the temperate Kenya highlands, receives an average annual rainfall of 790 mm (31 in) and experiences average temperatures ranging from 9° to 29°C (48° to 84°F) in January and 7° to 26°C (45° to 79°F) in July.

Higher elevation areas within the highlands receive much larger amounts of rainfall. The Lake Victoria basin in western Kenya is generally the wettest region in the country, particularly the highland regions to the north and south of Kisumu, where average annual rainfall ranges from 1,740 mm (70 in) to 1,940 mm (80 in). Average temperatures in this region range from 14° to 34°C (57° to 93°F) in January and 14° to 30°C (57° to 86°F) in July.

The average annual temperatures in the main areas are:

Mombasa (coastal): Max 30ºC, Min 22ºC
Nairobi: Max 25ºC, Min 13ºC
North Plainlands: Max 34ºC, Min 23ºC


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