Kenya has a definite peak tourism season, but that is not the only good time to visit the country. If you want to go on safari and witness the Great Migration, or climb Mt. Kenya, then you'll be restricted to certain months. Otherwise, there are benefits to coming at other times of the year, although the 'big rain' season is best avoided. Read on to find out more about the best time of year to visit Kenya.
Kenya Travel Insights
Kenya is an excellent place to holiday in Africa, especially for safari-goers. With a full week, you'll get to experience the country's healthy national park and conservancy presence with loads of wildlife, mixed with possible cultural experiences, beach relaxation, and active excursions, including a multi-day trek. Below, we've listed several expertly crafted itineraries packed with iconic Kenyan adventures (and even one with neighboring Tanzania)—all with cool overnight options in eco-lodges and safari camps.
With less than a week in Kenya, you can make the most of your time by visiting the vast landscapes within a three-hour radius of Nairobi. While it may be tempting to cover more ground, sticking to this geographical area gets you out of the car frequently for a plethora of activities and wildlife. Below, we've listed several expertly crafted itineraries loaded with iconic Kenyan experiences.
December is a wonderful time to visit Kenya—the weather is warm and reasonably dry yet the crowd sizes are still manageable, particularly at the beginning of the month. You'll get some rain but it's not constant, offering plenty of days to take a wildlife safari or stroll through the markets of Nairobi. Another great thing about this shoulder season is that prices are lower so you can find plenty of deals on hotels and airfare.
November can be a fantastic time for a Kenya vacation—the weather is warm, the tourist numbers are moderate, and the Mombasa Carnival gets underway on the coast. That said, you'll need to prepare for some rain. It's a shoulder season which means you get a little bit of everything: some days are sunny while others get pummeled with rain showers. They don't typically last long, however, so as long as you bring a good rain jacket you're still bound to enjoy yourself.
October is a fantastic time to visit Kenya, although you'll want to come earlier in the month for the best tourist conditions. The first couple of weeks are dry with warm, pleasant temperatures. Herds of wildebeests migrate across the Mara River, along with giraffes, zebras, and other savannah creatures. By the end of the month, however, the rains begin and wildlife becomes harder to spot.
September is one of the best times of the year to visit Kenya. It's still hot and sunny but the crowds have tapered off ever-so-slightly. The last of the wildebeests are wandering through Maasai Mara so you can still catch their migration, and the rains of October haven't yet arrived. Prices remain high, as it's officially considered peak season; however, you won't contend with the huge masses of mid-summer.
August is high season in Kenya when the weather is warm and dry. The lack of rain, combined with ideal air temperatures, makes it an excellent month to watch the Great Wildebeest Migration in Maasai Mara, or treat yourself to the spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro. Just keep in mind that the nice weather brings crowds and it will be busier this time of year.
By July, the dry season has arrived, the rains are gone, and high tourist season is in full swing. It's a fantastic time to watch wildlife roam the savannah or soak up breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro. It's relatively cool in Nairobi, averaging in the 70s, with slightly hotter temperatures along the coast. The only downside to visiting in July is that crowds begin arriving in large numbers.
After a short rainy season between March and May, June ushers in the beginning of drier weather—and the onset of Kenya's busy high season. The first part of the month is typically a bit wetter and, as you move toward the middle and end, it gets drier and sunnier. The combination of pleasant weather, excellent wildlife viewing, and an abundance of tourist activities make it a great time of year to visit.
The rainy season is in full effect during the month of May when showers arrive in the afternoons throughout most of the country. Also dubbed the "green season," the vegetation is lush and beautiful this time of year but wildlife is harder to spot. There are lots of mosquitos and, in addition to the rain, it's hot and muggy. The upside, however, is that crowd sizes are small and prices are excellent.
April is a wet, rainy month in Kenya. The coasts are extremely hot and rainstorms are frequent and steady. Meanwhile, wildlife is tougher to spot on safaris due to thick vegetation and lack of animals visiting water sources. The upshot, however, is that it's a cheap time of year to visit—and there are hardly any tourists. Plus, since rain often only falls in the afternoon, you'll still have time to enjoy the morning hours.
In March, the weather transitions quickly from "hot and dry" to "wet and rainy." The precipitation renders many of Kenya's national parks inaccessible and it becomes harder to book safaris or view wildlife. That said, prices are fantastic this time of year and there are hardly any tourists. Plus, if the rains arrive later in the month as they occasionally do, you can enjoy all the benefits of a March trip without the lousy weather.
February is the dry season in Kenya and, due to the lack of rain, also the high season. The absence of mud and wet soil makes the savannah easy to access and perfect for wildlife safaris. Destinations like Samburu National Reserve and Maasai Mara teem with elephants, zebras, and giraffes, and others while temperatures in the city are warm and pleasant, lingering in the high 70s to mid-80s. Do keep in mind that this is peak season—expect more tourists and higher prices than other times of year.
Due to the dry weather, January is considered high season in Kenya—a great time to spot spectacular wildlife in Maasai Mara or soak up stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park. The temperatures in Nairobi typically hover in the high 70s to mid-80s while coastal towns around Mombasa average about 90°F. It's a fantastic time for hiking, exploring, and safari-going, the only downside being that it tends to be crowded.
While many tours of Kenya focus on the country's spectacular national parks and wildlife, relatively few combine such activities with a deep dive into East African culture. This tour does both. Learn about the prehistory, history, and culture of what has been called the "cradle of humankind". Visit some of Kenya's top museums and cultural sites—including the Nairobi National Museum, the Karen Blixen House, and the Baden-Powell Museum—as well as its finest parks and landscapes, including the Great Rift Valley, Amboseli National Park, and more.
Explore nature and wildlife in Kenya with safaris and visits to Maasai villages in several national parks, starting with the famous pink flamingos at Lake Bogoria and Lake Nakuru. Watch Maasai Mara's Great Migration from land and air in an optional hot air balloon ride, then visit the giraffes of Crescent Island on Lake Naivasha. Search for the Big Five and enjoy scenes of elephants grazing below Mt. Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park before returning to Nairobi to visit the Giraffe Center and Kazuri bead workshop.
This exciting itinerary includes unforgettable game drives in Kenya and Tanzania for travelers who like to be on the move. Start with two nights in Nairobi for an introduction into Kenyan culture and wildlife conservation. Then, fly to Kilimanjaro, where you'll visit three beautiful safari destinations, including the Serengeti and UNESCO-listed Ngorongoro Crater. Enjoy the comfort of private transfers and unique all-inclusive lodgings for the ultimate African adventure.
Explore the rich ecosystem of the Masai Mara Game Reserve with daily safaris and the option for hot air balloon rides above the river valley. You'll start in Nairobi with a quick tour of the city, then head to the park where you'll enjoy observing the Great Migration across the Mara River. Along with expert guides, you'll look for the Big Five populations, spotting giraffe, lion, hippo, and zebra from game drives, and elephants from the comfort of your camp's viewing lounge.
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the second-largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world, giving you plenty to explore on this eight-day itinerary. Dive into lake life on Rusinga and Mfangano islands, stroll the streets of Kisumu city, and safari through the famous Maasai Mara reserve as you enjoy a spectrum of what Kenya has to offer.
This weeklong romantic adventure in Kenya is perfect for couples seeking a mix of beach, culture, and wildlife. Kick off the trip in Nairobi, where you'll meet baby elephants and charming giraffes. Then head to a national park on the Tanzanian border to glimpse 'Big Five' wildlife from an open-top Landcruiser. Finish with three nights on a gorgeous white sand beach, close to sacred jungles and monkey sanctuaries.
This active Kenyan trip covers a lot of ground in under a week. After a night in the bustling capital, a private driver will take you on a scenic drive to Mount Kenya National Park. This is where you'll hike to a camp situated above 10,000 feet, with views of the country's highest peak. Then, descend to Nanyuki—a traveler hub with international cuisine—before heading to a renowned wildlife conservancy for a day of adventures. Finish with a morning game drive before returning to Nairobi.
With more than 1,100 species of birds, Kenya is an absolute mecca for bird watchers, and this 14-day itinerary will take you through some of the country's best natural areas. Begin with a free day in Nairobi before transferring to Samburu Reserve where you can straddle the equator and take your first guided safari. Then, you'll take a birdwatching hike up Mount Kenya, tour the Elsamere Conservation Center, and see hundreds of flamingoes at Lake Elmenteita. End your trip with a grand finale: multiple days in the Maasai Mara Reserve.
Experienced hikers and active travelers will scale Africa's 2nd-highest peak on this weeklong itinerary. Start with two days in bustling Nairobi where you will go on a safari drive and learn about vital wildlife conservation efforts. Then, meet your private guide and set off on a 5-day trek in Mount Kenya National Park—adorned with tropical forests and breathtaking scenery—before circling back to Nairobi to finish the trip.
Explore the wildlife of Kenya at the Maasai Mara Nature Reserve on the Mara River by spending three days following expert guides and observing the wildebeest, zebra, and crocodiles that make the Great Migration so fascinating. You'll explore different vantage points and take incredible photos and videos of the migration in action. To end the trip, you'll discover Lake Naivasha by bike, boat, or hot air balloon, and view its hippo population.
This exciting 5-day adventure combines a unique range of experiences for a Kenyan trip to remember. It kicks off with two nights in the capital, where you'll visit Nairobi National Park and centers dedicated to elephants and giraffes. From here, a private driver will take you to a notable coffee estate for a farm tour and tasting. Then, continue to Lake Naivasha for more wildlife in Hell's Gate National Park, not to mention a boat tour amongst hippos and rare birds.
Nature enthusiasts will love this 5-day adventure that visits four different Kenyan lakes known for birds and wildlife. A private driver will first take you to Lake Naivasha for a boat tour and island walk where you'll get up close to a range of bird species, as well as zebras and giraffes. Next is Lake Nakuru where you'll join a safari in a vast wildlife preserve. Finish the trip on Lake Baringo and Lake Bogoria for quality time to experience the Rift Valley by car, boat, foot, and bicycle.
This 21-day trip is a wonderful fit for photographers looking to see the African landscape and its impressive wildlife. Visit 10 different parks and conservations to find the big five–lions, buffalos, elephants, and leopards. Bask in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest in Africa, and Mt. Kenya, the second-highest in Africa. Along the way you'll also see the Great Rift Valley and meet local people, making the entire itinerary a "photographer's paradise" and an incredibly memorable trip to Africa.
If you want to experience all of Kenya's top destinations—while also getting the chance to lay back and relax—this exciting 12-day itinerary is for you. You will start the trip in the bustling capital Nairobi before departing for Samburu Reserve, Olpajeta Conservancy, Mount Kenya, Lake Nakuru National Park, Masai Mara Park and you will conclude the trip with two nights at Mombasa and Diani Beach. During this tour, you will discover Kenya's majestic landscapes, see the big five, spot diverse bird species, visit chimpanzees, watch an animal migration at Masai Mara, swim in turquoise blue water, and more.
Runners will delight in this 10-day experience of Kenya, featuring three nights in the small town of Iten, the "Home of Champions." You'll also go on safari in the country's leading wildlife reserve at Masai Mara, ending your stay with the coastal charm of Diani Beach. Spend an afternoon watching Olympic medalists and elite marathoners train at Kamariny Stadium, take a hot air balloon flight over the Mara River, and swim in the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
Kenya offers a wealth of natural and cultural attractions, and you can experience them both on this 10-day tour. Have the chance to spot a huge range of wildlife by visiting the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the unparalleled Maasai Mara, and beautiful Lake Naivasha. Spend time with the local Maasai people at a special camp, where you can learn about their lifestyle and camp out with them the traditional way. In 10 days you'll get an exciting taste of the best of Kenya.
This eight-day safari tour of Kenya includes a range of wildlife and cultural activities that will appeal to both kids and adults. The itinerary fits a lot into a little more than a week, but you have enough time in each place to take it easy and not exhaust the younger members of the family (or the older ones!) Enjoy game drives in the unparalleled Maasai Mara Reserve, spend time with Maasai people in their villages to better understand their way of life, and have close encounters with a wide range of wildlife.
This one-week adventure combines Kenya's culture, dramatic landscapes, and fascinating wildlife. After a night in the bustling capital, a private driver will take you to some of the country's best reserves, including Lake Nakuru National Park, Masai Mara Park, and Hell's Gate National Park. In addition to seeing the Big Five, flocks of flamingos, wildebeest, and much more—you will get the chance to visit the Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha, and a local village.
This exciting 10-day itinerary gives you the chance to truly discover Kenya's diverse wildlife and dramatic landscapes. Your trip will start in the bustling central city, Nairobi before you depart for the countryside and visit Amboseli National Park which is home to Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. Over these 10 days, you will also visit the most famous Kenyan parks including Hell's Gate, Mount Longonot, Lake Nakuru, Lake Bogoria, and Masai Mara which are home to thousands of wildlife species as well as incredible hiking trails and viewpoints.
This active, 12-day adventure includes some of Kenya's best outdoor experiences. After sightseeing in Nairobi, spend several days hiking to the top of Mt. Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa. While parts of the mountain can only be summitted by technical mountaineers, the route you'll take is accessible to trekkers. This amazing and challenging experience is followed by several days of safari and wildlife-spotting activities, as well as cultural immersion in the Maasai Mara.
Perfect for those looking to combine cultural experiences with wildlife safaris, this trip starts in the bustling city of Nairobi where you'll visit a women's cooperative pottery factory, a giraffe conservation center, and an elephant rescue. Next you'll head out into the African bush and stay in luxury tents near the Mara River where you can witness the annual Great Migration under the guidance of the Maasai tribe. Enjoy daily safaris and game drives, viewing animals such as lion, cheetah, antelope, giraffe, hippo, and more.
This exciting Kenyan adventure combines three key destinations known for wildlife and culture. From Nairobi, you'll transfer to Lake Naivasha to get friendly with non-predatory wildlife. Next, drive to a cultural camp and learn about the distinct Masai lifestyle. Then continue east to the Mara River, where you'll experience private safaris while searching for elephants, zebras, and lions, amongst others—best viewed during the Great Migration (July through September).
Travelers who enjoy the finer things in life while getting out into nature will love this 12-day luxury safari tour in Kenya. Stay in some of the country's most beautiful and distinctive safari lodges and city accommodation, including the unique Giraffe Manor, where you can get up (very!) close to the beautiful creatures. Meet Maasai people and learn about their lives at the Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp. Spot a wide variety of animals and birds at numerous wildlife reserves, including buffalo, wildebeest, zebras, lions, and much more.
This two-week itinerary includes some of the best wildlife encounters and safari experiences that East Africa offers. In Kenya, spend time at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, with animals including the only remaining northern white rhinos in the world. Enjoy cultural immersion near the Maasai Mara reserve by staying in an authentic Maasai camp. And fly across the border to Uganda to spend an incredible day tracking gentle mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.
Enjoy the best natural and cultural experiences that Kenya has to offer in a quick but comprehensive seven-day tour. After a day exploring the attractions of Nairobi, hit the ground running at the Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the finest wildlife areas in the country. Get a close-up experience of local Maasai culture and the Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp, an authentic example of how the Maasai people live and work these days. End with a bang, at the world-renowned Maasai Mara Wildlife Reserve, where you'll enjoy several morning and afternoon safari expeditions, for the greatest chances of seeing the Big Five, and much more.
Explore Kenyan wildlife, landscape, and native culture in this 10-day itinerary. You’ll start with views of the Great Rift Valley en-route to safaris in Lake Nakuru National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve, and have the chance to tour a Maasai village and market. From there, visit Hell’s Gate and Amboseli National Parks, see Mt. Longonot on a day trip, and photograph elephants at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.