You’re going on a trip to Kenya. Naturally, you expect to have at least some nice weather! Kenya has a tropical climate, so generally, you can expect good weather when you’re going on vacation to an African country. But which months are best for a holiday? And what about the rainy season?
What is the climate like in Kenya?
Not too hot and not too cold. If you want to relax at the beach, Kenya has a coastline that’s about 500 km long with beautiful white sandy beaches. And if you have a case of the winter blues, Kenya is the place for you. From December to February, it’s dry, and the temperature reaches a minimum of around 24°C. So, bring your pale winter skin and sunscreen!
If you want to see the Big 5 and engage in many outdoor activities, it’s best to pack your bags during the dry season. Kenya has a tropical climate with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons. The dry seasons are from January to March and from July to October. During these months, the weather is not too hot and not too cold, with temperatures around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. Perfect for exploring wildlife and engaging in outdoor activities.
Kenya has a tropical rainforest climate influenced by both the Indian Ocean and the significant differences in altitude. As a result, you can divide Kenya into four different climatic zones.
Best travel time Kenya
The best time for your trip to Kenya depends on what you want to do during your vacation. Do you want to go on safari? The months from June to October are the best for wildlife spotting. It’s not as hot as in the other months, which encourages the animals to be more active and visible.
During this period, it’s a bit cooler, with temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius during the day (except for the coastal areas), and cooler in the mornings and evenings. From November to February, you can expect tropical temperatures, around 30 degrees and a bit more along the coast. From March to May, it’s the rainy season, but this season also has its advantages. If you have specific questions about the climate, feel free to send us a message!
Central and West Kenya: Nairobi, Lake Victoria
It is likely that your trip will start in Nairobi. The air is dry in this part of Kenya, partly due to its altitude; Nairobi is situated at 1,661 meters above sea level. Throughout the year, there is occasional rainfall, with a peak in the period from March to May. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a no-go time to visit, as the sun still shines regularly during this period.
The temperature varies between 20°C and 27°C, and it cools down at night, which is why Kenyans often describe this part of Kenya as “cold.” In July and August, it can get chilly, with an average of 17.4°C.
For people from northern regions, it’s generally quite pleasant here, even during the challenging weather conditions in July and August. The early settlers in the early 20th century who emigrated here in large numbers to start coffee and tea plantations certainly found it suitable.
Around Lake Victoria, the weather is somewhat warmer and more tropical, although it still officially falls within the same climatic zone. It experiences more rainfall, and the temperatures are generally around 4 degrees warmer compared to areas further east in Kenya.
Curious about Kenya?
Coast of Eastern Kenya
The coastal region along the Indian Ocean in the east of Kenya is always warm and humid (sometimes up to 70% humidity!), with an average temperature ranging from 28°C to 32°C, and if you’re lucky, you might experience a delightful cooling breeze. It rarely gets colder than 21°C. So, expect to sweat!
In this part of Kenya, the term “monsoon” is used instead of the “rainy season” because the rains are dependent on tropical wind patterns. Rainfall occurs in March, April, and May, as well as in October and November, which aligns with the rest of Kenya’s rainy seasons.
Highlands: Mount Kenya, the Aberdares and Mount Elgon
In Central Kenya, we find Mount Kenya. This imposing, highest mountain in Kenya – 5199 meters – is also called Kirinyaga by the Kikuyu tribe, to which a large part of Kenya’s inhabitants belong. That means ‘Shining Mountain.’ The name can be interpreted in two ways: either the mountain owes this name to volcanic eruptions, or it refers to the sun shining on the eternal snow of the glaciers. Judge for yourself..!
On the lowlands, the climate is similar to western and central Kenya. If you get above 2,500 metres, it is between 5 and 15 degrees during the day, and at night it can cool down considerably and even freeze 10 degrees. It rains or snows daily. Not a place for those sensitive to the cold.
North Kenya: Lake Turkana
In northern Kenya lies the immense Lake Turkana, the largest desert lake in the world. It is hot and dry here. Sometimes it doesn’t rain here for months, creating a barren, alienated and inhospitable desert around the lake. You are almost not on earth anymore, it seems. The temperature is extreme; ranging between 33°C and 36°C during the day, sometimes rising to 50°C. Then the mercury drops back down to below 20°C at night. The best months to visit this area are June, July, August and December.
The elements have free rein here and when it finally rains, it seems like the end of times. Lightning regularly causes fire and destruction in the already thirsty country, where rainwater seeps into the cracked soil far too easily. The perfect place for the die-hards who actually want to go to Mars, but can’t afford it just yet.