The Best Time to Travel to Kenya


It’s a photographer’s playground, a Nat Geo fanatic’s fantasy, an “I can't believe this is real life moment” destination. That’s right; it’s Kenya, baby. Of course, you’ll want to know the basics before you decide when to jet off on a possibly once-in-a-lifetime adventure. And that’s why we’ve got you covered with all the info on the best times of the year to visit  -- so you can hit those safari roads and sing Hakuna Matata at the top of your lungs with truly no worries in the world. 

SYB Kenya: courtesy of guest Cezary Wojcik

The Forecast:

Just call us Kenya’s climate consists of alternating seasons, with two dry and two rainy periods. The year kicks off with a hot, dry season running from January to March. Then comes the “long” rainy season from late March through June, with pretty consistent and heavy rainfall. The sun returns, with temps cooled, from late June through October. Finally, the year ends with a shorter (and less torrential) rainy season in November and December. 

The Decision: 

So now that we've got the nitty gritty out of the way, when do you go? How you decide will be based on several factors. Dry seasons are always optimal for safari-heavy trips, as too much rain can close roads and make travel through the grasslands difficult. Early in the year is prime time for tourism since the weather is hot (we understand fleeing from the snow), and the animals are out and about. Just be prepared that you may be sitting in one of the many safari trucks all out on the same mission. The more extended dry season starting in June is favorable for amazing animal sightings and cooler weather with little chance of a sunburn. Beginning in July, one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” takes place throughout East Africa. The Great Migration is a sight to behold, with millions of wildebeests, zebras, and all your favorite safari friends making their way from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya. This spectacle usually occurs until September, with rare stragglers sometimes continuing into October. August is often packed with families on vacation. However, if you’re kid-free, visiting in September and October once schools start back up means gorgeous weather and fewer visitors, perfect for tranquil safari excursions. 

With all that being said, the “short” rainy season in November and December usually consists of only light showers, and the number of tourists is a fraction of the amounts from a few months prior. So if you’re willing to venture out, it’ll pay off in lush, green vegetation and new baby animals that are often born during these months. We’d take the possibility of wet hair to see baby elephants any day. 

SYB Kenya: courtesy of guest Cezary Wojcik

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly time of year, the “long” rainy season sees lower prices and fewer tourists. Maybe you aren’t a Lion King fanatic and don’t care too much about finding Simba. There are plenty of other unique cultural and historical options to explore around the country, such as the Gedi Ruins or the National Museum. And if you want your animal fix without having to venture out into the wilderness, Giraffe Manor is always a crowd-pleaser. Just keep in mind that the iffy weather could impact game drives during these months if your main itinerary involves safari exploration. 

Of course, we wouldn’t be SurfYogaBeer without including some info on the best times to get into water activities. While we haven’t attempted to surf in Kenya, the coast does have some incredible diving and snorkeling (who knew?!). Your best bet for clear water conditions is to visit between October and March, with peak times in January and February. 

SYB Kenya: courtesy of guest Cezary Wojcik

ICYMI, SYB does adventure retreats to Kenya every summer, and saying they are life-changing would be an understatement. We spend a week safari-ing, hiking, biking, hot air ballooning, and LIVING. The weather was perfect (no rain to be found), the temps were cooler, so no one got absolutely roasted in the sun, and the animals were out to play. It is the perfect time to visit if we do say so ourselves. And don’t worry, if you find yourself having FOMO through Instagram from these trips, keep your eye out for next summer's trip because we’ll be safari stylin’ back again and would love for you to experience this magic.