The Best Time to Visit Kenya for a Safari

What is the best time to visit Kenya for a safari? Kenya is generally an all-year-round African safari destination. But the best time to visit Kenya for a safari is usually anytime around the dry season/months of the year. The dry months of the year fall around June to October and they are most preferred for several factors.

What to see on Kenya safari depending on the month or season of the year?

Visitors on Kenya safari primarily to witness the Great Migration should consider getting to Kenya around the peak Great migration season. The Great wildebeest migration safaris are excellently enjoyable around the dry months of July, August, September to October.  

Best Time to Visit Kenya for a Safari

The Great Migration is a powerful wildlife event that involves the movement of more than 1.2 million wildebeest. A huge concentration of wildebeest accompanied by hundreds of thousands of grazers migrate from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to Masai Mara National Reserve. The arrival of large herds of wildebeest also coincides with the best weather on the Kenya coastline. This means visitors can have a combination of the Great Migration Safari and an unforgettable beach vacation. This is especially from July to early December.

June, July, August, September to October feature as the high/peak tourism months of the year in Kenya. Anyone with intentions to visit Kenya around this period needs to plan their holiday, preferably about 3 months earlier.

Wildebeest breeding Season

Besides observing the regular wildebeest migration, visitors can also visit Kenya to see wildebeest as they give birth. The wildebeest breeding or birthing usually occurs from December, January to February.

Breeding season for birds  

The best time to visit Kenya, especially if you are interested in birding, is around October to May. These are full breeding months of the year for most birds, a period when you can also see some of the migratory bird species in most of the birding sites in Kenya.

Best Time to Visit Kenya for a Safari

The rainy season in Kenya

The long rainy/wet season in most of the Kenya safari destinations occurs around April till early July. During the rainy season, short showers can be experienced in the morning but most of the day –the skies can be clear and sunshine which makes it possible for guests to embark on wildlife/game drive tours. Being the low/off months of the year, tourists can enjoy some discount offers from the tour operators or accommodation.

The short rainy or wet season

The short wet months fall around October, November to December. Around these months, there is the possibility of conducting the best game viewing excursion since rains don’t occur the whole day.

Why visit Kenya for a safari during the dry season?

The dry months of the year are characterized by clear skies, and drier game trails/tracks, and visitors don’t encounter any interruptions from rains. This is why they are considered the most preferred months of the year for visitors to enjoy guided game/wildlife viewing or full-day game drives in the finest savanna national parks in Kenya. They are also ideal for visitors or adventure seekers who desire mountaineering experiences, especially on Mount Kenya and other mountainous areas in Kenya.

Generally, the weather and climatic conditions in Kenya are favorable thus accommodating even the beach holiday enthusiasts. Kenya experiences moderate to equatorial temperatures which favor daytime activities.

Best time to visit Kenya – Month-by-month travel guide

January till festive season – peak season

January is one of the dry months of the year and lies outside both the short and long wet seasons. It is the best time to visit Kenya for a safari because it records less rain and the landscapes remain spectacular. Expect hot temperatures, especially in Nairobi and the Central Highlands of Kenya, but be prepared for moderate showers that may occur.

The coastal region usually becomes hot, especially at night, and around January, the coast records almost no rain. It is during this month when most Kenya National Parks and Reserves also remain relatively quiet. A huge concentration of animals also gathers around the water sources. This provides visitors with a remarkable opportunity to enjoy a view of diverse wildlife on a Kenya tour.  Besides, you can experience the best of snorkeling, and scuba diving along the coastal region and the ideal place to enjoy this is Mombasa.

January is also ideal for visitors interested in exploring Masai Mara. It is around this month when Mara Rivers and plains can be filled by wildlife including the big cats and Nile crocodiles. Visitors also get a chance to enjoy warm evenings characterized by incredible sundowners. January presents visitors with abundant opportunities, especially if your interest is to go for big 5-game safaris or wildlife photography tours.

Embarking on Kenya safari from February to peak season

February falls within the driest months of the year and this is when the savannas become accessible. This makes it the best time of the year to go for a Kenya safari tour, especially if your target is to visit destinations like Masai Mara and Samburu National Reserve. These protected areas are ideal for spotting wildlife species such as zebras, giraffes, big cats, elephants, and migratory birds. It is around February when Nairobi and Mombasa also become warm and pleasant cities to stay in.

The beauty of visiting Kenya for a safari in February is that you can encounter several predators while they are on a hunt. This month is also ideal for guests interested in exploring Laikipia, with a chance to see a huge concentration of elephants.

Beach lovers also have the opportunity to enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and several other recreational experiences. Diani Beach is one of the beach areas any beach enthusiasts shouldn’t miss to visit to have a relaxed moment along the Kenyan coast.

Other key areas to expect to explore in Kenya around February include conquering Mt. Kenya summits, hiking Hell’s Gate National Park, Amboseli National Park, Meru National Park, and Tsavo National Park.

March to end of dry season

March marks the end of the long dry season in Kenya and also the beginning of the long wet season. It is most popular for holidaymakers, as it offers good visibility of wildlife across Kenya National Parks. Visiting Kenya around March allows you to enjoy the best of game/wildlife viewing, cultural tours, photography, snorkeling, diving and so much more.

April to green season

April features as Kenya’s wettest month of the year. Too much rain is experienced around this month and as a result, the routes can at times be muddy. This makes it a bit challenging for one to navigate through some protected areas while on a game drive.

April is ideal for holidaymakers who are interested in exploring Kenya’s animal conservancies like Ol’Pejeta Conservancy. This conservancy area harbors a great population of endangered species like rhinos, and hippos. The Giraffe Centre – the best place to find endangered giraffes.

May to low season

May also falls within the rainy season and expect too much rain throughout. The game tracks can be muddy; the vegetation can be dense with several wildlife dispersed.

June to peak season –best for wildebeest migration

June marks the start of the dry season in Kenya. This month is excellent for holidaymakers who desire to spend their holiday in Masai Mara National Reserve to witness the great migration. It is around this month when wildebeest will have begun assembling around the Kenya-Tanzania border, ready to cross the Mara River. Other water recreational experiences can also be enjoyed around June including diving and snorkeling in the Diani Beach.

What time of year is the cheapest for a safari in Kenya?

Shoulder season which falls between the high and green season is considered to be the cheapest time of the year. This occurs from March, April, May, and October to November. These months experience moderate temperatures and occasional storms.

Is November a good time to visit Kenya?

November is an ideal month of the year for visitors interested in exploring the Nairobi National Museum, and art galleries or going shopping at the Masai market. If you don’t enjoy crowds, November is also best for you to visit Masai Mara National Reserve. This is because it is during this period when fewer visitors flock to this enriching nature reserve.

What should you wear on a safari in Kenya?

Interested in spending your next holiday in Kenya and you aren’t sure about what you should wear? Here is the list of essentials to pack or wear on a Kenya safari holiday. Long and light clothing, comfortable safari shoes, a pair of binoculars, a camera, insect repellents, toiletries, and first aid kit, etc.

Conclusively, Kenya is an all-year-round safari destination. However, the best time to visit Kenya for a safari is around the dry season (short and long). This favors several experiences in Kenya including the Great Migration experience, big 5 game safaris, hiking/climbing adventures, and others.

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