Kenya is hot and dry in February but the temperatures aren't nearly as scorching as they get later in April and May. Nairobi averages 72 to 82°F while coastal cities such as Mombasa and Malindi hover in the early 90s. In the city, evenings cool off considerably (sometimes hitting 55°F), so plan accordingly. There's no rain but you'll still want a jacket and long pants for nighttime activities. The beaches, by contrast, are much warmer in the evenings.
If you plan to visit any of the parks in the mountains, especially places like Hell's Gate National Park or Mount Kenya National Park, note that temperatures can get very frigid at night. Although it's dry overall, there can be occasional showers too so you may want to consider a rain jacket for these destinations. The savannah also gets chilly so heed the same advice for destinations like Maasai Mara.
Crowds and Costs
The tradeoff for February's fantastic weather is that it's considerably more crowded and expensive than other times of the year. Unless you book a private tour, safaris will have more people—often filling to capacity—and the museums and tourist sites in Nairobi will be full. If you're crowd-averse, February may not be the best time to come. Another downside is that costs are higher, too. Hotels and other accommodations switch over to high season rates and airfare is costlier as well.
Where to Go
The dry, "warm but not too warm" weather makes Kenya wonderful just about everywhere in February. Temperatures are ideal in Nairobi and the markets are bustling with activity. The high tourist season causes restaurants and other establishments to run special events and the nightlife is vibrant and dynamic.
Along the coast, in towns like Mombasa and Malindi, the blue waters of the Indian Ocean sparkle and temperatures hover in the early 90s. It's an excellent time to sunbathe, snorkel, or sip cocktails poolside. In town, you'll find the sea breeze that comes off the water helps cool you down, offering respite from the midday heat. Plus, all of the nightclubs are packed with people dancing and having a good time.
If wildlife and nature is on your Kenya to-do list, February will not disappoint either. In Maasai Mara, for example, the wildebeest migration won't be in full effect but the resident animals are out and about—and with fewer visitors, you'll get better opportunities to spot them. It's a fantastic month for bird migratory birds there too, as well as in places like Amboseli National Park. Even better, it's one of the best months of the year to see newborn animals.
Hell's Gate National Park, which is the only nature reserves where you can hike and bike freely (as opposed to in overland vehicles), is exquisite this time of year with stunning volcanos, bubbling hot springs, and lots of geothermal activity (along with zebras, giraffes, and other wildlife). If you're interested in climbing Mount Kenya, head to Mount Kenya National Park where February is an ideal month for summiting the massive 17,057-foot peak.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
In Nairobi, check out historical and cultural sites such as the Nairobi National Museum or take a day trip to the black rhino sanctuary at Nairobi National Park. In the evenings, explore the city's assortment of world-class cuisine such as traditional Kenyan seafood at Tamarind or Indian biryani at AA Mithaiwalla. For nightlife, check out Waiyaki Way or the Westlands neighborhood.
Another option is to travel to Mombasa and Malindi on the southern coast, home of world-class snorkeling, scuba diving, sea kayaking, and other ocean-based tourist activities. Mombasa offers spectacular dolphin-watching tours and rich natural beauty at destinations like Mombasa Marine National Park and Wasini Island. In the evenings, dance the night away at Anuba Lounge or Klub Zero 4. Just north in Malindi, there's excellent beach-going activities at the scenic Watamu Beach.
If you came to Kenya for nature and wildlife, you can't do better than parks like Maasai Mara where you'll see animals such as elephants, zebras, hippos, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, and more. You're also bound to spot some wildebeests, though they won't be migrating in strong numbers this time of year.
Soak up the beauty of Hell's Gate National Park where you'll discover majestic volcanoes and scenic gorges cut by ancient lava flows. Although the park is full of creatures like zebras and giraffes, there aren't any predatory animals so you can hike or ride bikes without a vehicle to protect you. Try taking a mountain biking tour or go trekking through the rocky canyons. Nearby, Mount Kenya National Park offers glaciers and snow-covered peaks with gorgeous views of Mount Kenya.
Events in February
East African Community Arts Festival: This new festival, which takes place at Nairobi's Kenyatta International Convention Centre in late February or early March, celebrates music and art from various countries in East Africa including Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and others. It involves exhibitions, performances, poetry, dance, storytelling, theater, acrobatics, music and traditional games.
Nairobi Restaurant Week: Offering a rich blend of local and international food, this 10-day event typically takes place in late January or early February. Throughout the festival, restaurants serve special menus showcasing a selection of food and wine, often available at discounted prices.
Traveling to Kenya in February? Check out this great itinerary
Kenya Wildlife Safari - 10 Days: If you're interested in exploring the wildlife and natural beauty that Kenya has to offer, check out this action-packed 10-day itinerary. The versatile safari begins in Amboseli National Park where you'll soak up breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro, making your way from there to Maasai Mara, Hell's Gate, Mount Longonot, Lake Nakuru, and Lake Bogoria.