In Nairobi, the weather begins heating up in September but it's still cool enough to enjoy yourself without being sweltering hot. Temperatures average 72 to 84°F during the day and dip to roughly 52 to 62°F at night (so bring a jacket for evening strolls). The coast remains hot with daytime highs of 80 to 88°F in southern towns like Mombasa and Malindi. Whether you plan to stay in the city, head to the coast, or venture into the savannah for a wildlife safari, you'll want a hat, plenty of sunscreen, and lots of water to keep hydrated.
Precipitation-wise, September is mostly dry with occasional scattered showers, except for in the mountains where it rains about half of the time.
Crowds and Costs
September is a busy, crowded month in Kenya—there's no question about that. However, as children begin returning to school, it tends to taper off slightly compared to July and August. You'll still find big crowds at museums and major tourist attractions—and the beaches will be full of people sunbathing and lounging by the pool. However, it won't be as thick as it is earlier in the summer.
Unfortunately, prices won't mimic this fall-off in people. High season rates remain in effect, typically through the first part of October, and you're unlikely to find many deals on hotels and lodging. Similarly, airfare will be high this time of year. If you're planning a September vacation, it pays to book your plane tickets and lodging well in advance.
Where to Go
Kenya is beautiful everywhere in September. There are few places in the country where the weather isn't ideal and the climate is welcoming all over. Head to Nairobi where temperatures in the 70s and low 80s are perfect for wandering through markets, exploring museums, and tasting new dishes.
The beaches are warm and sunny with excellent temperatures for ocean sports such as surfing, snorkeling, sea kayaking, scuba diving, and others. The ivory sand will feel soft on your toes and the water will be warm and sparkling. YOu'll find a lot of people there but the upshot to that is it means the nightlife is good and restaurants are often running tourist specials.
If your goal is to see wildlife, you definitely won't be disappointed in September either. The top attraction is Maasai Mara where the Great Wildebeest Migration occurs during this month. Head into the savannah to soak up the sights of these creatures moving en masse, along with zebras, giraffes, elephants, and other fascinating animals.
Lake Nakuru is another park that offers excellent September conditions, largely due to the grass being shorter this time of year which makes the famous pink flamingos easier to see. Samburu National Reserve and Amboseli National Park also make great choices, although views of Mt. Kilimanjaro are sometimes obstructed due to the dust.
In the mountains, Hell's Gate National Park and Mount Kenya National Park are both stunning in September, too. Keep in mind, however, that they get some rain this time of year so you need to have a reputable guide to protect you from flash flooding dangers. Be sure also to bring a rain jacket and keep an eye on the weather.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Check out the myriad museums and art galleries in Nairobi. Highlights include the Nairobi National Museum, the Banana Hill Art Gallery, and the Matbronze Art Gallery and Foundry. Stroll through the vibrant Maasai Market which is full of cultural souvenirs, or explore the more modern and upscale Village Market. There's also an amazing food scene in the capital city. Try Tamarind where you can taste authentic Kenyan seafood dishes or feast on traditional Indian biryani at AA Mithaiwalla.
Go to Mombasa or Malindi on the southern coast where you'll find long stretches of white sand beaches with blue water and a variety of activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, and other water sports. Mombasa boasts picturesque dolphin-watching tours, along with the stunning Mombasa Marine National Park. In Malindi, drop by Watamu Beach or head to the Falconry of Kenya where they rehabilitate injured birds.
Definitely don't miss the Great Wildebeest Migration in Maasai Mara. During this spectacular event, which runs from June to October, approximately 1.5 million wildebeests cross the Mara River from the Serengeti National Park, along with zebras, elands, giraffes, gazelles, and other creatures. The migration is at its best during the last two months of September and October
In Lake Nakuru, soak up the sights of the magnificent pink flamingos which gather in huge flocks on the water. With the vegetation still short and scarce due to the dry season, it's easier to see the birds, along with other animals. Head to Samburu National Reserve for additional wildlife opportunities, or check out Amboseli National Park where Mt. Kilimanjaro towers in the background. (This is also where you'll head if you're planning a climb up the famous peak).
Lastly, book a hiking or mountain biking tour in Hell's Gate National Park. This is the only place in Kenya where you can explore the park without a vehicle due to the lack of predatory animals. However, you'll need to be aware of flash flooding here, too.
Events in September
Nairobi International Trade Fair: In late September, the capital city hosts a large agricultural event called the Nairobi International Trade Fair. The giant seven-day exhibition, which is among the largest trade fairs in Eastern Africa, takes place at Jamhuri Park, an indigenous forest about 6 miles (10 km) outside of town.
Traveling to Kenya in September? Check out this great itinerary
Kenya Wildlife Safari - 10 Days: After 10 days of touring Kenya's most pristine and beautiful places, you'll never want to leave. The tour begins with some sightseeing in Nairobi before heading to Amboseli National Park, home of the spectacular Mt. Kilimanjaro. From there, you'll visit Hell's Gate National Park, Mount Longonot, Lake Nakuru, and Lake Bogoria before finishing at Maasai Mara with the Great Wildebeest Migration.