Kenya Weather Guide
One of the best climates in Africa, the sun shines almost year round in Kenya. There are, however, some seasonal variations: on the coast the climate is tropical and the weather hot and humid but the ocean breezes that sweep over Mombasa make it almost comfortable for most of the year, while in the arid northeastern parts temperatures are very high and rainfall is low. The hottest period is February and March, leading into the season of the long rains, and the coldest months are July and August. Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon and Kilimanjaro experience icy cold weather for most of the year with snowfall known to occur on the highest mountains. Peak tourist season is July to August, but the best time to visit Kenya is in January and February as days are hot and dry. However if you’re after the Masaai Mara wildebeest migration, then go between mid-August and late October.
Season and Clothing
Wet Season: April to June and November
April and May bring the heaviest rains with an average daily high of 22 degrees Celsius. During these months, reserves come alive with beautiful, lush green landscapes. In November, the short rains arrive and with them the greening of plants and birds begin arriving from Eurasia. There’s intermittent showers and some flash flooding can occur and the average daily high is 25 degrees Celsius. The wildebeest are also migrating south out of the Maasai Mara at this time. The long rain season occurs from April to June with often heavy rainfall in the afternoons and evenings. If you want to experience real Kenyan culture, unplugged and uninhibited, get along to the biggest event on the festival calendar, Mombasa Carnival. Held in November, the carnival celebrates the traditions of the tribes in Kenya as well as acknowledging the influence of Arabic customs. Expect to see colourful parades, floats and costumes.
Dry Season:December to March and July to October
December to February is the hot dry season with average daily high temperatures of 28 degrees Celsius. January to February is when the wildebeest and zebras have calving season so you might be lucky enough to witness the circle of life. March offers spring-like conditions with moderately cool nights – the average daily high temperature is 30 degrees Celsius. From July to October in the Maasai Mara, you’ll be treated to large numbers of wildebeest. It’s also a great time of year to climb Mt Kenya with an average daily high of 25 degrees. Planning a beach holiday in Kenya? The best time to go is December through March. While the coastal temperatures remain steadily hot for most of the year, on the beach the humidity is kept under wraps by the ocean breeze. The best time to visit the intensely hot (think 40 degrees Celsius on average) and sparsely populated northern Kenya is in July, August and December. Every year, the north hosts the International Camel Derby, usually in August, when crowds flock to watch professional camel races in the desert. Novices are welcome to saddle up and try camel racing for themselves.