People often ask us about the best time of year to come to Kenya, so we decided to put together this guide to help you plan your own safari. There are pros and cons for every time of year, so it largely depends on what you want to see and how you prefer to travel.
The high season in Kenya is the dry season which runs from July to September. The grasses are low so you can get better animal sightings and you can access more places when it is not raining. The biggest highlight at this time of the year is the Great Wildebeest Migration when massive herds cross the river from Serengeti in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in Kenya around July. This is Kenya’s most popular attraction and, as it conveniently coincides with summer holidays in North America and Europe, it is the busiest time of year. This results in higher accommodation prices and of course many more tourists.
Conversely, the low season is also the wet season, beginning in March and finishing around June. The main reasons to visit at this time of year are the reasons you wouldn’t want to go in high season – lower prices and fewer people. During this period, you might even find a lodge safari at the same price as a high season camping safari. However, the rains mean the grass grows quickly and thickly making animals harder to spot.
That leaves the shoulder season between October and December. This is a nice period to visit as the wildebeest herds are still in the Maasai Mara, although they start to leave in November or December. Some lodges drop their prices somewhat between the high season and Christmas. However this season is also defined by the “short rains” (it rains for a short period of the day, as opposed to the long rains in March to June where it rains for a long period of the day) and if you end up staying at accommodation that retains a high rate right through to Christmas then putting up with a bit of rain may not be worth it.
Finally the Christmas period from December to February is marked by hot and dry weather and a high concentration of wildlife in the major parks. The best feature of this season is the migratory birds arriving in Kenya in their millions. On the other hand, the mass migratory herds have usually moved back to Tanzania by this time. Christmas and New Year supplements are often charged on accommodation.
So given all that, what’s the verdict? If pushed to make a recommendation, we suggest September to November. The rains are not so bad, you can find accommodation that has reduced prices, the migratory herds are still in the Maasai Mara (usually until around November), there are not so many tourists because the summer holidays are over, and the migratory birds start to arrive in November.
Has this helped you to decide the best time of year to come to Kenya for a safari? Visit www.ota-responsibletravel.com for some great itineraries or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to kick-start the planning of your African adventure.