When is the best time to visit Kenya on a safari? This is the question that usually comes to the mind of anybody planning to come to Kenya on a safari or holiday. There is no simple answer to this question.
Below are some of the factors that will determine when is the best time to visit Kenya for safari. The factors could range from:
- School holidays, if traveling with children.
- Your budget. Peak seasons are expensive than low seasons.
- Your interest. Which type of safari are you interested in
- What time are you free.
- And many other factors
When planning to come to Kenya, it’s important to have an idea of what to expect during the period you will be traveling.
TOURISM SEASONS IN KENYA
The tourism seasons in Kenya is roughly divided into 3 categories.
This is the period between November to March. There are usually short rains between November to December. January to March is usually rainless with hot weather. In this period, there is less crowding in hotels and parks. This allows for an authentic safari experience as you view wildlife with fewer distractions from a crowded park. You will also have a personal connection with the local people. The grass is also low which allows for easy viewing of wildlife. Newborns and migratory birds can be seen in this period.
Wildlife are also likely to be found around pools of water making them easy to see. Due to reduced demand from visitors, hotels and other services usually reduce costs. This can result in savings between 20% to 30% of the safari cost compared to the peak season. People who have been on safari several times often argue that this is the best time to be on safari. I personally vouch for this period.
This is the period between April to June. Around this time there is heavy rainfall ending in June. It is common for rivers to over flow in the parks during the heavy rains and wash away bridges and accommodation establishments located near rivers. Don’t be surprised to be offered an alternative accommodation to the one booked because it is flooded. You need a good 4X4 vehicle in the park otherwise there is the risk of getting stuck in the mud.
The grass is overgrown and it can pose challenges in sporting wildlife. In spite of the challenges this period has its good side. Predators avoid the wet grass and can be encountered on the vehicle tracks. The rain usually subsides in June. You can be lucky to encounter wildebeest migration in the month if it starts early. I have had groups encountering the migration and witnessing a river crossing in the last week of the month. Another advantage is that the safari cost is at its lowest. From my personal observation, this period is for the dare devils and not for the faint hearted but June can be ideal because it is towards the end of rains.
This is the period between July to October. It is the time just after the long rains and it coincides with the Great Migration of wildebeest attracted by the green grass. It is a period of sunshine. The grass is not very long so it is easier to spot wildlife. Predators are attracted by huge numbers of wildlife and there is a lot of action in the Masai Mara and other parks. From the crocodiles preying on the migrating animals crossing the Mara River, to predators hunting the wildebeest. The migration and the conducive weather plays a big role in attracting a huge number of tourists to the Kenya in this season. It is advisable if you are planning to travel in this period, you book early or you will be looked out. The cost of the safari is at its highest.
Weather through the year
The sky is clear; the days are hot and nights warm making this month a popular time for safaris and good for diving and snorkeling.
Continuation of the long dry season , less grass and wildlife gathering close to water points, this is still a good time for a safari and staying in hotels near water point comes with advantage.
Hot and Humid weather, good diving and snorkeling conditions at the start of the month, onset of rains.
Lower temperature, heavy rains. Advisable to use 4×4 a jeep for safari. Predators avoid wet grass and are regularly seen on the tracks.
There is a lot of vegetation around making it ideal for photography. Predators hide on the long grass and grazers are scattered in the vast parks and reserves
Rains cease and give way to cloudy, cooler weather, making for very comfortable conditions, especially in the highlands. Sometimes wildebeest migration starts towards the end of this month.
This is the coldest month in Kenya. Wildebeest starts arriving in from Serengeti. This is a very busy month in terms of tourism. Most of the hotels in Masai Mara are fully booked.
The temperature is pleasant and mostly dry. The wildebeest and Zebra have filled Masai providing lots of action. Still a very busy time and getting accommodation in Hotels becomes a challenge.
This is the start of, dry weather with little chance of rain. The game viewing action continues in the Mara, and it is still excellent throughout Kenya for wildlife.
There are some light rains. It’s a lovely time to travel if you want to avoid the crowds but still have excellent game viewing opportunities. The migratory herds are leaving the Masai Mara, but excellent resident populations remain. All other Kenya destinations are great at this time of year. It’s also good for diving and snorkelling.
The short rains are starting and the temperature is hotter. There is still good game viewing under the heavier skies and activities continue. Crowds are fewer and you can get good deals on this month.
The end of the year can be hot and potentially wet. It is still great time to view wildlife with high number of birds present in places like Lake Nakuru.
Kichaka tours and travel have been taking people on safari throughout the year. Every time they come back with great stories of what they have seen on safari. This proves that Kenya is ideal country to visit all year round. I hope this guide will help you decide the best time for you to visit Kenya.