When is the best time to visit Kenya?

Read our advice on the best time to visit Kenya for a family safari holiday

Kenya offers incredible safari all year

The Great Migration arrives in Kenya from July to September, which is when the Masai Mara is busiest.
The best time to visit Kenya varies, as the country offers excellent game-viewing year round; although the rains of April and May can make some areas inaccessible.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Best Jan, Feb, Mar, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Dec
Good Jun, Nov,
Mixed Apr, May,
Best time to visit Kenya - zebra drinking
July - October

The height of the dry season

Many argue this is the best time to visit Kenya, as game-viewing is at its peak.

The great migration herds start crossing from Tanzania‘s Serengeti into the Masai Mara in July and remain on the Mara plains through August and September before heading back south in October.

Throughout the country conditions are perfect for widlife viewing, particularly the Big Five, as the lack of bush cover draws the animals out into the open.

As most of Kenya’s safari regions are just south of the equator, temperatures don’t get too hot. This is particularly true on the Kenyan coast.

This is a busy time in Kenya, as the peak season wildlife season coincides with the northern hemisphere summer holidays.

Best time to visit Kenya - lilac-breasted roller bird safari

The short rains

As with the rest of East Africa, Kenya has two rainy seasons. The ‘short rains’ arrive in November, as the monsoon blows in from Arabia. Whilst weather is never guaranteed, the rainfall tends to come in short bursts rather than long downpours.

Travelling at this time of year can deliver excellent bargains and there’ll be noticeably fewer visitors than in July-October.

Some camps in northern Kenya close for the month, but the Masai Mara still delivers excellent wildlife viewing. This is especially true towards the beginning of the month, whilst many newborns are around. Birdlife is abundant at this time of year.

At the coast, the rain showers mean that the ocean is at its calmest, which is ideal for swimming and snorkelling. We’ve holidayed as a family at the coast in November for many years.

Best time to visit Kenya - Rift Valley lakes boat safari
December - January

Festive season peak

As with much of Africa, December brings about the festive season peak. Booking ahead is essential to guarantee your choice of accommodation, as many Kenyans also travel at this time of year. The coast in particular gets very busy over the festive period.

The short rains are still likely to be around at the beginning of December, however, after this, Kenya’s beautiful green season starts to kick in.

The bush is brighter and more verdant than in July-October, which makes for stunning photos. Animals can be a little harder to find than in dry season but this is all part of the challenge.

At the Rift Valley lakes this is a great time to be out on the water and see flamingos in large numbers.

Kenya Lewa downs rhino and calf family safari
February - March

The short dry season

This is Kenya at its hottest. Temperatures can get up to 30C at the coast. However, in high altitude areas, such as the Rift Valley, the climate is lovely.

The bush is beautiful and starts to dry out again, making wildlife viewing easier. With relatively few visitors at this time of year, bargains are to be found across the country.

Samburu, Laikipia and Lewa are all exceptional at this time of year. You’ll be able to enjoy all sorts of activities, such as walking safaris, camel treks, helicopter tours, and fishing. You can also observe all the wonderful conservation successes that have been achieved in this part of Kenya.

At the coast, the winds change again, which make this our favourite time of year for SCUBA diving and snorkelling.

Kenya fish eagle hunting rift valley lakes family safari
April - June
Green season

Green season

The long rains begin in earnest in April and many areas and lodgings shut down until June. The coast can be very wet at times, so it’s not the time of year for sun-seekers.

However, those areas that are open offer incredible value, with prices at a fraction of the peak seasons. Game-viewing is still possible although more challenging. The big plus is you’re likely to see few other tourists and have the wilderness to yourselves.

Once June arrives, the rains come to and end and wildlife viewing picks up again. Towards the end of the month safari can be excellent. You may even see some early arrivals from the great migration appearing in the Masai Mara.

Talk to us about your next big adventure.
Call: +44 (0) 1242 908 720  or   Request a quote
Talk to us about your next big adventure.
Call: +44 (0) 1242 908 720  or   Request a quote
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Why travel with Coral Tree?

We are the specialists in luxury Africa family safari holidays

We are Africa experts and also parents. We understand what makes a memorable family adventure.

Our knowledge and connections are unsurpassed

We have been living and working in African tourism for over two decades.

Every journey is tailored with your specific wishes in mind

No off-the-shelf packages or cookie-cutter itineraries. Unique family safaris.

Each trip funds grassroots conservation and girls education projects

You pay no more for the privilege, we support causes close to our hearts.

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Talk to Tess & Mike about your next big adventure
Call: +44 (0) 1242 908 720
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