Kenya Weather and Climate
Kenya has been an independent state in East Africa since 1963 and borders among others with Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. Due to its unique animal reserves with great safari opportunities and its snow-white beaches on the Indian Ocean, Kenya is a very popular holiday destination.
Around 45 million people live in Kenya, the largest city with Nairobi is also the capital of the country and has one of the most important airports in Africa.
Basically, the holiday destinations in Kenya can be divided into two starting points: Most safari holidaymakers land in the capital Nairobi and from there go to the national parks and protected areas by vehicle or small aircraft.
Beach vacationers and visitors to the coast usually end up in Mombasa in the south-east of the country, right on the Indian Ocean. The central highlands of Kenya are crossed by the so-called Rift Valley, the great African rift valley.
The highest point in this area is Mount Batian, which is almost 5200 meters high in the Mount Kenya massif.
The climate in Kenya
According to the geography, the climatic conditions in Kenya also differ, which can be basically divided into two important climatic zones. The highlands are largely based on our values for the capital Nairobi (see climate table) and reach the lowest temperatures in the period from early July to early September. Especially at night it can get very cold during this time, safari game drives in the morning and after sunset (e.g. in the Aberdares) then only start with proper outdoor clothing and a thick jacket.
There are no such cold spells on the coast or in the lowlands; Kenya’s coasts have a tropical climate all year round. In Mombasa and the neighboring holiday region Diani Beach you can enjoy January to December daytime temperatures above 28 ° C, and the water temperature never drops below 25 degrees. As is usual in the tropics, the coastal regions have a very high level of humidity, especially during the so-called “rainy season” from April to June. In fact (see Precipitation in Mombasa) April and May are the rainiest months on the Kenyan coast.
When to go to Kenya
The so-called dry season in Kenya, i.e. the periods with the lowest rainfall, usually lasts from mid-December to mid- March and from June to and including October. Both periods are considered to be the best time to travel to Kenya, both for a beach holiday and animal observation on safari. While the beaches are now ideal, the Indian Ocean shines in its most beautiful blue and the snow-white sand provides the perfect backdrop, there is more of a water shortage in the reserves and national parks.
But it is precisely this drought that ensures that the animals gather at rivers, lakes and water points, which gives you the best possible chance for extraordinary discoveries. The phenomenal natural event of the “Big Migration”, ie the great herd migration, especially of thousands upon thousands of wildebeest and zebras from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the fertile expanses of the Masai Mara, usually occurs between July and September.
However, we expressly point out that due to unforeseeable periods of drought or particularly heavy rainfall, the hike cannot be precisely calculated. On the other hand, on the coast you have almost a guarantee for a dream vacation, 8 to 9 hours of sunshine will inspire you as well as the warmth of the Kenyans and the high quality of service in many hotels. Did you know that Diani Beach has already been awarded several prizes for the most beautiful beach in all of Africa and has thus left even island paradises like Zanzibar behind?
Perhaps you should get an idea of the beauty of the region at the best time to travel, you will certainly not regret it! But don’t worry: the so-called “rainy season” is by no means a drama, mostly short but heavy showers in the evening or night. It rarely rains for several days in a row, shortly after the downpours the sun comes out again and you can enjoy the very special atmosphere (at great low-season prices) to the fullest.
Optimal travel time for the regions
In the following overview you can see the best travel time depending on the region (Kenya).
|Place||Best travel time|
|Nairobi||all except April, May, November and December|
|Mombasa||all except April, May, October and November|
|Diani Beach||January, February, March, July, August and September|
|Masai Mara||January, February, March, July, August, September and October|
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine in Nairobi (Kenya)
|Daytime temperature||27 ° C||28 ° C||28 ° C||26 ° C||25 ° C||24 ° C||23 ° C||23 ° C||26 ° C||27 ° C||25 ° C||25 ° C|
|Night temperature||13 ° C||13 ° C||14 ° C||15 ° C||14 ° C||12 ° C||11 ° C||12 ° C||12 ° C||13 ° C||14 ° C||14 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||42||48||69||157||108||27||12||14||25||43||121||80|
|Hours of sunshine||9||9||9||7||6||5||4||4||6||7||7||8|
The annual average temperature in Nairobi is 19 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is March (20.7 ° C), coldest month of July with averages of 16.7 ° C.
The annual precipitation is 746 mm on 73 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. There is no rainy season, i.e. months with more than 175 mm of precipitation. You cannot expect snow in any month in Nairobi.
As our climate table shows, February is the sunniest month with an average of 9.4 hours of sunshine per day. In the annual mean, the sun shines an average of 6.7 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
The following larger towns are nearby and have a similar climate: Thika and Machakos.
Highlights and sights
The most popular region for a beach holiday on Kenya’s sun-drenched coast is without a doubt the world-famous Diani Beach on the south coast, which has become the epitome of a tropical holiday paradise. Nearby, the Kisite-Mpungutium marine reserve and Wasini Island are ideal as a day trip destination and are not only popular with divers and snorkelers. Again and again the boats are accompanied by playful dolphins jumping through the waves with joy. On the north coast of Kenya are the no less impressive towns of Malindi, Watamu and Kilifi as well as beautiful beaches such as Vipingo and Shanzu.
For active vacationers, safari fans and nature lovers, mountain areas such as the evergreen expanses of the Aberdares or the Mount Kenya National Park with countless hiking routes and impressive flora and fauna lure in Kenya. The most popular safari reserves in Kenya include Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park a little further west, the Amboseli National Park – world-famous for its incomparable elephant photos in front of the majestic backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. The flagship is still the Masai Mara as an extension of the Serengeti ecosystem, bird enthusiasts will especially love the lakes of the Rift Valles (including Lake Naivasha, Nakuru and Lake Bogoria).
We would like to recommend two special tips to you: The rather unknown parks in northern Kenya are breathtakingly beautiful and offer incredible experiences, especially due to the comparatively low number of visitors. Above all, Samburu and the neighboring areas of Buffalo Springs and Shaba are real insider tips! If you are more interested in a beach holiday on the coast, but would like to gain your first cautious experience with a safari, then we recommend the Shimba Hills to you. Only 45 minutes by car from Diani Beach, a real jungle feeling awaits you and with a little luck you will see the first wild elephants, gazelles or giraffes of your life after a short time. A great start!