The weather is varied in Kenya in November, depending on where you are in the country. In Nairobi and the central highlands, it tends to be hot and rainy with cools nights while the coast near the towns of Mombasa and Malindi is hot around the clock and not quite as rainy. In the hills near Hell's Gate National Park and other mountainous zones, temperatures are cooler and the rain is steadier (with roughly 65 to 70% of the month getting precipitation).
Temperatures in Nairobi hover around 73 to 80°F during the day with scattered showers and a number of dry days mixed in as well. Night temperatures in the capital drop down to about 60 to 65°F. In Mombasa, on the southern shore if the Indian Ocean, it lingers in the 80 to 92°F range with evenings being not much cooler at 75°F.
As the rain increases, mosquitos begin coming out in higher numbers, too. Be sure to bring a good bug spray, along with sunscreen, protective clothing, and plenty of water.
Crowds and Costs
In terms of crowds, November is a great month. The kids are back in school but the holiday vacationers haven't yet arrived. The onset of the rain keeps the big numbers down and, though it's busier than March or April, it's still very manageable. If you're someone who likes to avoid crowds, you'll love November. The carnival in Mombasa draws tourists to the coast that week but other than that, numbers are very reasonable.
Costs follow a similar pattern—it's not as cheap as the off-season but much less expensive than the summertime when hotels and airlines are charging peaks rates. If you look around, you should be able to find some deals.
Where to Go
Nairobi is a great November destination. It's rainy at times but there are also plenty of dry days, too. Plus, even when it does rain, the precipitation is warm and doesn't last for long. And with all of the museums and art galleries, there are plenty of indoor activities to do when the showers do come down.
Many of the wildlife parks are good choices this time of year, too. Just keep in mind that being outdoors, you'll want to bring a good raincoat. The vegetation is thicker this time of year so wildlife isn't as abundant because the food sources are more dispersed (plus they don't need to gather at the water sources like they do during the dry months).
That said, there are far fewer tourists and the roads are typically passable. Additionally, the extra greenery makes it a more beautiful season foliage-wise, and you won't be choking on dust the whole time. If this sounds appealing, check out Massai Mara, Samburu National Reserve, to Amboseli National Park. The latter has views of Mount Kilimanjaro which are optimal in November because the sky is clear of dust.
Lake Nakuru is another destination that's perfect in November. The park is known for huge flocks of pink flamingos that congregate by the water, creating stunning photo opportunities. The grass is still short which makes it easier to see them and it's not as hot as it is in other regions. Just keep in mind that good conditions can sometimes make this destination busier than other places.
Generally speaking, the beaches don't make great destinations this time of year. They get a lot of rain and it's difficult to enjoy many of the activities the region is famous for such as snorkeling, swimming, surfing, and sea kayaking. Unless you have a specific reason to visit (such as the Carnival), this region is best avoided in November.
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What to Do
In Nairobi, stroll through Maasai Market or wander around the Nairobi National Museum where you can learn about Kenyan history and culture. Check out artwork at the Banana Hill Art Gallery or shop at the Village Market which is full of modern boutiques. If you're into food, taste some new dishes at any of the capital city's many top-rated restaurants. Try Talisman, a sophisticated gastro-lounge with European-African fusion cuisine, or Mama Oliech's where you can eat savory deep-fried fish from Lake Nakuru.
If wildlife is on your agenda, book a safari at any one of the many incredible national parks and reserves. Watch zebras, elephants, giraffes, hippos, gazelles, and other African animals in Massai Mara, Samburu National Reserve, or Amboseli National Park. Or go to Lake Nakuru to see the impressive pink flamingos.
Another option is to head to the mountains to check out places like Mount Kenya National Park or Hell's Gate National Park. These parks will be cooler and wetter but the scenery won't be any less stunning. Mount Kenya, which is home to the country's namesake mountain, features exquisite snow-capped peaks including Batian, Nelion, and Lenana. If you're the adventurous type, you can even book a three-day trek to climb to the top of the 17,057-foot summit. In Hell's Gate, take a mountain biking tour through the volcanic gorges and hot springs.
Events in November
Mombasa Carnival: This spectacular carnival, which occurs every year in the southern coastal town of Mombasa, is not to be missed. The festive celebration draws huge crowds to the colorful event which includes parades, costumes, floats, music, art, and dance. Although the region can get some rain this time of year, it's well worth a visit to check out this unique event.
Maulid Festival: Held for several days in late October, Lamu Island hosts another giant party in honor of the Prophet Mohammed's birthday. In addition to singing, dancing, food, and other celebrations, the event includes a massive procession on the final day to the tomb of Islamic religious figure Ali Habib Swaleh.
Traveling to Kenya in November? Check out this great itinerary
Kenya Wildlife Safari - 10 Days: Highlights of this jam-packed tour of Kenya's most beautiful parks include Amboseli National Park, Hell's Gate National Park, Mount Longonot, Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, and Maasai Mara. It begins with sightseeing in Nairobi before you head into nature to see zebras, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, elephants, and other savannah creatures.