When to go

Kenya's daytime temperatures average between 20°C and 25°C, though it is cooler in the highlands and hotter along the coast. Humidity varies, being high along the coastal strip but much lower in the interior highlands. On the coast, high temperatures are cooled by ocean breezes so it is rarely overpoweringly hot. Away from the coast, it is much drier and the rains are a little kinder. On peaks above 1500 m the climate is cooler with permanent snow on the highest peaks, such as Mount Kenya where night-time temperatures drop to below zero.

There are two rainy seasons in the country: the long rains fall March to April and the short rains fall October to December. Even in these months, however, there is an average of four to six hours of sunshine each day. Bear in mind that malaria peaks during the rainy seasons, when mosquitoes are prolific. Travelling by road, especially in the more remote areas or through the national parks, is easier during the dry months, as road conditions deteriorate significantly in the rainy seasons.

High season along the coast is from September to January and it gets especially busy around the Christmas and New Year period. High season in the safari regions is July to November, especially in the Masai Mara as this is when the wildebeest have arrived from the Serengeti in Tanzania on their annual migration.

For sheer numbers of birds the best time for birdwatching is October to April when over 120 migrant species arrive from the northern hemisphere, mostly from the Palearctic but with some African migrants too. The coast is particularly good during this period with large flocks of water birds congregating at Mida Creek and Sabaki Estuary, while the Rift Valley lakes and Amboseli attract a lot of waterfowl.

As Kenya is on the equator, the times of sunrise and sunset hardly change throughout the year - sunrise is generally and 0700-0800 and sunset 1800-1900.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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