Kenya is a year round safari destination, with excellent game viewing throughout the year, although arguably the best time to visit is during the dry season from January to March and July to October when wildlife spotting is easier as the bush is thin and animals tend to gather around waterholes and river banks. However, many travelers visits Kenya to witness the great wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara, which coincides with the second dry season from July to October. Although due to varying rainfall patterns, the timing does vary year to year.
Kenya experiences mildly distinct weather patterns, with four main seasons. January to March is hot and dry, then April to June the climate becomes hot and wet with the arrival of the ‘long rains’. This is followed by a warm and dry period from July to October, before the ‘short rains’ and warm and wet weather is observed in November and early December. The presence and the absence of rain affects vegetation and water sources thus affecting movement and concentration of animals in different National Parks and Reserves. Therefore, while making your plans to visit Kenya you may want to factor in the climate, the wildebeest migration and seasonal change in price inorder to meet your expectations.
Kenya lies on the equator and has a pleasant, tropical climate, with three types of climate; hot and dry in the north and east, hot and humid along the coastal region and temperate in the west and south-west. There are large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. Kenya's daytime temperatures average between 20C/68F and 28C/82F, but it is warmer on the coast.
Kenya experiences long rains from April through to mid-June, with the short rains in November and December. The cool season typically starts in June and stretches through to October, and is mostly drier and cooler than the other months. The dry season of hotter weather comes from December to March. Day temperatures peak at around 86F during the dry season. Temperatures range from 10C/50F to 28C/82F at this time of year. Kenya does not experience real winter and summer season, it being soo close to the equator. There is, however, both a Dry and Wet season.
|December - March||April - May||June - mid September||Mid September - November|
|Generally drier & warmer with clearer skies and lower rainfall||Still pleasant temperatures but with higher rainfall. Sunshine & clear skies still encountered.||Cloudier & cooler but drier with less rainfall but also fewer clear skies||'Short' rains are a possibility but skies also tend to be clearer & sunny days possible|
Weather patterns in Kenya are not as predictable as in years gone by so last minute variations are possible to experience.
Kenya's Wildlife Parks, Reserves and Conservancies can be visited throughout the year, but for the excellent wildlife viewing, we recommend the dry seasons that stretches from January to March and July to October. July to October is when the phenomenal spectacle of the great wildebeest migration unfolds, with approximately 1.5million of wildebeest, hundreds of thousands of zebras, ellands and gazelles crossing Mara River in the Reserve in search of food and water. Therefore, for those visiting to watch as the great migration occurs, the best time is between late July/early August to October. Although the timings may vary from year to year due to rainfall patterns.
So, what's the best time for a birding safari ? Bird watching in Kenya is excellent all year round and is one of the best Africa's birding destinations. There are over 1,100 recorded bird species in Kenya, inclusive of migrants and endemics spread over the country which has interesting diverse habitats.
|July - Oct & Jan to March ( Dry Season )||Nov - Dec & April to June ( Wet Season )|
|Wildlife is easier to spot in most Kenya's wildlife parks and also the best months to see the wildebeest migration.||The scenery is beautiful and green, migratory birds are present during this season and newborn animals can also be seen.|
The cost of your Kenyan Safari is determined by the standard of accommodation you choose, the duration of your safari, the season and the means of transport. The safari itineraries/costing provides a typical picture, but the final cost is determined by the below factors:
a. The number of people travelling: When travelling in a group it tend to be cheaper, as you get to share the costs as compared to when one or two persons are travelling alone. Also, depending on the ages of the children who are on the trip, it will affect the cost. Children under the age of 12 will pay a reduced cost compared to what adults will pay.
b. The time of the year: Prices tend to be high during the peak season from July to October which is also when the great wildebeest migration occurs, due to high numbers of tourists visiting the country and particularly Masai Mara National Reserve this makes it more expensive to secure rooms. Therefore, if you are on a limited budget best to avoid the peak season.
|Jan - March
Nov- mid Dec
|July - October||April - June|
|Mid to High Season||Peak Season||Low Season|
July and August are the most expensive months to travel to Kenya. September to October are equally expensive but due to higher room availability it is possible to enjoy slightly lower prices. The cheapest months to visit Kenya are April to mid June excluding Easter period.
c. Mode of transport: Depending on which mode of transport you prefer either flying or going by road, it will affect the cost. Flying to any National Reserve or Park such as Masai Mara or Amboseli is more expensive compared to travelling by road. For road transport, there are normally two types of vehicles that are used for safaris i.e Toyota Landcruisers or safari tour vans that carry upto 7 persons. Note that the landcruisers are more expensive than the tour vans but more comfortable. You hardly feel the rough road as you travel.
d. Accommodation: depending on your budget and preference, you have an option to book for your accommodation either in lodges or tented camps. There are different classes of accommodation ranging from the very basic to mid-range to the most luxurious depending on what you want.
e. Duration of your safari: The cost for your safari is dependent on the number of days you are planning to be on safari. The more days you stay, the more you pay.
f. Park entry fees: depending on which park or reserve you want to visit in Kenya, this will directly affect the cost of your safari as the entrance fees differ from one park or reserve to the other.