The best time to visit Kenya depends on what you’re after.
If you’re in search of the Great Wildebeest Migration, July to October is the best time to go. If you’re looking to spot some rare migratory birds, go between October and April. December to March is the warmest time to visit, and it’s a great time to go in search of the Big Five.
One of the most famous draws of a visit to Kenya is the Great Wildebeest Migration across the Maasai Mara. Considered to be one of Africa’s most incredible wildlife experiences (and one of the natural wonders of the world), 1.5 million wildebeest (as well as hundreds of thousands of zebra and gazelle) follow the rains across the Maasai Mara tracked by predators. Though it’s difficult to predict exactly when the migration will happen, the highest chance of spotting it in Kenya happen from July to September.
In general, June to October is a great time to visit Kenya. June sees the start of Kenya’s dry season – waterholes and riverbanks are teeming with animals and the bush is less dense, so wildlife is easier to spot. During these months, you’ll have your greatest shot at seeing the Big Five. Weather-wise, it’s cooler from June to August and it starts to warm up in September.
Kenya is also home to over 1,000 species of bird - 11% of the world's bird species - and it's great to go year-round to catch a glimpse of something rare. Migratory birds can be spotted from September to April, so it's a particularly exciting time to go see a huge number of species in one go. Each park offers something different, so depending on what you want to see, you can travel around the country to maximise the number of species you spot. Kenya actually holds the record for the greatest number of species seen in 24 hours: a whopping 342!
The beginning of January right the way through to the end of March is the warmest time to visit Kenya, with higher concentrations of animals congregating in popular tourist destinations, such as the Maasai Mara, Lake Nakuru and Amboseli. This is a great time of year for divers to go to Kenya as visibility in the Indian Ocean is much clearer thanks to the lack of surface run off. Many migrant birds are also passing though – wintering in the sun. December is a particularly fascinating time to visit Kenya, as it's when the majority of animals give birth (often surrounded by predators!). Because Kenya is at its most lush during this time, its stunning colours make for great photos. There are also fewer tourists. Try to visit during the second half of the month, though, to avoid the rains.
Kenya’s rainy season runs through April and May, so we recommend avoiding a visit to Kenya during these months. Flooded roads, an abundance of vegetation and generally wet weather at this time makes for poor wildlife watching and slippery roads.
"I think one of the most magical things about Kenya is the people you meet there. The guides are really happy to share their culture with you, and it's such a meaningful exchange that is hard to get at that authentic level. Anybody who comes to Kenya will never stop coming. They say there is a magic. There is something that attracts them that they never want to leave. Often, people from different parts of the world say that it is hard to wipe the dust of Africa from off your boot. I always like to say to everyone: welcome back home. Africa, East Africa, Kenya: this is home."
Visiting Kenya is about so much more than safaris. Many of the local tribes still live traditional lifestyles, and it’s possible to visit their villages to learn about their fascinating cultures.
The most famous of these tribes is the Maasai (in southern Kenya), but the Samburu and Pokot are also extremely accommodating to visitors. One of our favourite activities is a visit to the Loita Forest to spend a few days walking with the Maasai tracking game. It’s a truly fully-immersive cultural experience.
“It’s one of the most relaxing vacations we had. The itinerary and locations were perfect. The accommodations were amazing, we could watch animals while sipping our morning coffee or while eating dinner. The escort was very knowledgeable and friendly and the driver guides were great too. Together they made every effort irrespective of time to meet our expectations. This is our second vacation with Jacada and I think they are the best in customising a vacation.”
Mai, 5 Stars
Whatever you want from your trip to Kenya, our team of expert travel designers are ready to help.