BEST TIME TO VISIT KENYA
Best Time to Visit Kenya : Kenya is an incredible safari destination to visit in Africa, Kenya located in the East Africa is famously known as the home of safari. However the Kenya safari destination has more to offer including a variety and abundance of wildlife found in national parks and reserves such as Maasai Mara, Amboseli national park among others with animals such as big Five “lions, leopards, cape buffaloes, elephants and rhinos” among others.
Kenya is the ultimate safari destination and this article is here to help you find the best time to visit this great and thrilling African safari destination
Seasons in Kenya
Kenya generally receives two seasons that are rainy season/wet and dry season at varying period of the year. Seasons in Kenya are more explained below
Rainy season in Kenya is experienced in two sessions/seasons that is short rainy season and long rainy seasons.
- April – June
April to June is the long rainy season in Kenya characterized of long and heavy rainy showers, this season is hot and wet.
- November – Early December
November – Early December is a short rainy season “short rains” in Kenya characterized of short rain pours. This period is warm and wet.
Dry season in Kenya is also received in two seasons that is the long dry season and the short dry season,
- January to March
January to March is a short dry season in Kenya characterized of bright days and sunshine all day, this period is hot and dry.
- July to October
July to October is the longest dry season in Kenya lasting for 4 months, this period is warm and dry.
In the areas lieing at high altitudes for example western region where Maasai Mara national reserve is found, rain is expected almost at any time of the year. The western region experiences scattered rainfall pattern which is generally influenced by Lake Victoria.
The climate of the Eastern half of Kenya especially the Coast of Kenya is largely influenced by the Indian Ocean’s Monsoon Winds, these winds are categorized as dry northeast monsoon and moist southeast monsoon. The dry northeast monsoon (Kaskazi), these winds blow in from November to March or April and the moist southern monsoon (Kusi) blow in from May to October bringing the heaviest rains to the coast in May and June.
Temperatures in Kenya
Temperatures experienced in Kenya are largely determined by altitude with a tendency of dropping 0.6°C for every 100m you climb from sea level, at the sea level, temperatures in Mombasa rarely ever drops below 20°C even just before dawn.
In Nairobi at about 1660 meters temperatures can drop to 5°C at night in the cool season in July and August , Nairobi generally experiences moderate climate. Even though daytime highs in the shade at the time of the year, temperatures can exceed 21°C (the sun is scorching hot). In Kenya, swimming pools are rarely heated and the coast is always warm.
Best time to visit Kenya
In Kenya, the main tourist seasons tie with the rainfall patterns, a huge number of tourists visit Kenya for Kenya tours and safaris in December – January and July – August which is considered to be dry season. Traveling to Kenya in the dry season has advantages such as enjoy great climatic conditions and greater sightings of wildlife as they are more concentrated along the diminishing waterholes in the parks and reserves.
July – September is the best time to visit Kenya for game viewing with the early September coinciding with the annual wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara national reserve. In the months of October, November and March, the waters in the Indian Ocean are at the clearest making it the best time for snorkeling and diving.
In the long rain season (April-June), mountain parks in Kenya are due to the trails used to explore the parks and roads leading to them are undriveable muddy tracks, in Kenya it is usually rains in short in afternoon or evening cloud burst which should not deters your travels to Kenya. In the long rain season the landscape is strikingly green and fresh even if the skies may be cloudy, an added advantage of visiting Kenya in the wet season there are few tourists in Kenya parks and reserves. Rates in Kenya are reduced and this period of time is perfect for photography.
Festivals and holidays in Kenya
Kenya is a mixed religion country with Islamic and Christianity as the major religions, in Kenya Christian religious holidays such as Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday and Christmas and Islamic festival of Id al-Fitr are observed. Also secular national holidays and events of ethnic groups are celebrated.
The Coast of Kenya through the northeast is generally inhabited by the Muslim communities, for religious purposes, the Islamic communities use the lunar Islamic calendar. The Muslim year has 354 days which recede against the western calendar by about 11 days each year, on this calendar only the month of fasting “Ramadan” and the festival of Id al-Fitr- the feast of at the end of Ramadan begins on the first sighting of the new moon. This affects the travelling to Kenya, in small towns found in Islamic districts, most stores and hotels are closed during daylight hours and all businesses close in the time for sunset in Ramadan so as to break the fast. However public transport and most of the government offices continue as usual.
Maulid “the celebration of the prophet’s birthday” is celebrated at the coast and it is worth catching most especially at Lamu Island where it celebrated in style.
In Kenya there are relatively fewer music and cultural festivals, in Nairobi there are regular events. On the coast, Mombasa carnival takes place in November, on Lamu Island- the Lamu Cultural Festival is hosted. Other festivals in Kenya include
- Kenya’s annual outdoor music festival
- The Rift Valley Festival hosted on the shores of Lake Naivasha in Late August