There's no question that March is a rainy month throughout large parts of the country. The savannah often turns to mud and it becomes difficult to visit due to impassible roads. Mosquitos are rampant this time of year so it's important to bring good insect repellent too, along with your sunscreen.
At the same time that the precipitation arrives, temperatures begin climbing—Nairobi, for example, averages daytime highs of 91 to 93°F. The coast is even hotter with numbers reaching 96°F in the midday heat. Evenings are cool in the city (55 to 57°F) and warmer along the beaches (ranging from 73 to 75°F).
Crowds and Costs
The bright silver lining to the less-than-ideal weather is that both crowds and costs are much better in March. There are very few tourists, especially in the national parks and on wildlife safaris. If you participate in these activities, you're likely to have them to yourself or close to it. Prices will be considerably lower and hotels will be offering special deals and discounts to attract low-season visitors. Airfare will also be cheaper this time of year, especially towards the end of the month.
Where to Go
If you decide to visit Kenya in March, Nairobi makes a great destination. Although it gets its fair share of rain, it also has plenty of clear days with bright skies and hot, sunny weather. When it does rain, the downpours don't usually last all day and, being an urban destination, there's a variety of indoor attractions like museums, restaurants, and nightlife.
The beaches also make good vacation spots in March. Like the capital, you'll likely experience a few rainy days but it won't be constant and even those days with precipitation will offer periods of respite. When the skies are clear, the temperatures are perfect for sunbathing and the water is warm. Best of all, it's a time when you can visit the popular beach resorts without hordes of tourists crowding the lounge chairs and swimming spots.
If your heart is set on seeing wildlife or experiencing the country's beautiful natural beauty, there are still plenty of places to choose from during the rainy season. While some parks will most definitely be too muddy, there are others that make great destinations. Maasai Mara, for example, tends to be accessible year-round and in March in particular, the grass is still short which means cheetahs and other game animals are easier to spot. It's likely that you will encounter periods of rain but it won't be unending.
Mount Kenya National Park is another good destination for outdoor experiences, especially earlier in the month. Since the heavier rains tend to come later in March, planning a Mount Kenya trip during the first half of the month often delivers a relatively dry experience without all of the crowds. If you're planning to climb to the summit of the 17,057-foot peak, early March is a great time because the temperatures are warmer than January or February (which is important given how cold it can get toward the top) yet it's still somewhat dry.
Depending on the time of the month and what the rainfall is like, Hell's Gate National Park, just to the south, can also offer decent nature and wildlife viewing this time of year. A great thing about this park is that because it doesn't have predatory animals, you can hike and bike freely without a vehicle.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Head to the booming capital city to soak up history and culture at sites like the Nairobi National Museum, or book a day trip to Nairobi National Park where you can visit an exquisite black rhino sanctuary. There's excellent food and wine citywide, particularly in places like Waiyaki Way or the Westlands neighborhood. Try savory Kenyan seafood at Tamarind, or feast on Indian biryani at AA Mithaiwalla. if you enjoy dancing and nightlife, Nairobi also offers a variety of thumping clubs and vibrant discoteques.
Along the southern coast, visit the towns of Mombasa and Malindi on the southern coast. Although you're likely to encounter some rain, there will still be plenty of opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, scuba diving, and lounging by the pool. On a clear day in Mombasa, there are opportunities for dolphin-watching tours, and places like Mombasa Marine National Park offer stunning natural beauty. At night, check out Anuba Lounge or Klub Zero 4 to get your dance club fix.
March isn't a great month for nature parks overall; however, there are still some options that will be fun and accessible. Maasai Mara may be a bit rainy but still open to vehicles and you'll find no shortage of wildlife sitings such as elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, lions, cheetahs, and others. You'll see some wildebeests too, although the large migration won't be taking place at this time.
Another option is to take a trip to Mount Kenya National Park to see the country's spectacular namesake mountain. If you visit earlier in March, book a climbing tour to the 17,057-foot summit. Farther south, you can trek through Hell's Gate National Park or schedule a mountain biking tour. There, you'll see awe-inspiring volcanoes with tall gorges, geothermal geysers, and ancient lava flows (as well as a variety of zebras, giraffes, and other non-predatory animals).
Events in March
East African Community Arts Festival: Occurring in Late February or early March, this relatively new arts festival takes place at Nairobi's Kenyatta International Convention Centre. Honoring performances and artwork from East African countries like Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, and others—as well as Kenya—you'll see artwork, exhibitions, poetry, music, dance, storytelling, acrobatics, and traditional games.
Traveling to Kenya in March? Check out this great itinerary
Ultimate Kenya: Mt. Kenya Trek & Maasai Mara Safari - 12 Days: This trip is perfect for a March vacation because it focuses on the parts of the country that are still fun to visit during the rainy months. It begins with a sightseeing tour of the bustling capital city before you head to Mount Kenya National Park for a three-day trek to the top of the mountain. After that wilderness excursion, you'll spend five more days exploring Lake Naivasha, Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp, and Maasai Mara.