Kenya is widely considered to be one of the most accessible safari destinations in the world. With Nairobi International Airport located within driving distance of the nearest national park, you can land in the morning and be on safari by the afternoon.
Home to the legendary Masai Mara National Park as well as other world-famous parks such as Amboselli and Lake Nakuru, Kenya is a perfect place to see the Big 5 in the wild and to also witness the Great Migration as it concludes each year on the Masai Mara. Beyond these iconic parks, Kenya has over two dozen national parks and conservancies to be explored – from the rhino sanctuary at Ol Pejeta to the rambling Samburu-Buffalo Springs parks in the north, from the misty highlands of Abadare to the intricate geological formations of Hell’s Gate; there’s something for everybody in Kenya.
In addition to the opportunity to see some of Africa’s most iconic animals in their natural habitat, Kenya also offers visitors the chance to go on a cultural safari as they learn more about the tribes and religions of the Kenyan people.
The more adventurous may even wish to tackle the steep slopes of Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest mountain and the mountain from which the country takes its name.
Last, but certainly not least, the picturesque Indian Ocean coastline of Kenya is home to such famous beach escapes as Mombasa, Malindi, and the quaint island of Lamu. After you’ve had your fill of game drives and stunning panoramas, wash away the dust in crystal clear waters.
When To Visit Kenya
As it straddles the equator, Kenya does not have the traditional four seasons. Instead, it experiences alternating periods of wet and dry.
The short dry season stretches from January to March and the long dry season lasts from July until October. These dry seasons are considered the best time for game viewing. With clearer weather and less vegetation, ideal conditions are available in most of Kenya’s national parks for spotting animals in action.
The short wet season is between November-December and the long wet season lasts from April to May, and sees the country painted green as the high rainfall nourishes the land and ushers in the calving season among herbivores. While this makes for beautiful landscapes and is also a good time for bird watching, the denser undergrowth and the many available sources of water do tend to make game viewing more difficult. This does translate into a saving for those visiting in this time, as many lodges lower their rates to encourage visitors.
For the beaches of the Kenya coast, the weather remains warm and clear year-round. The temperatures are at their highest between mid-March and May, however, and it might be best to avoid this period.
For the Great Wildebeest Migration, the vast herd of wildebeest, zebras, and antelope makes its home on the Masai Mara between July and October. The exact timing varies from year to year based on rainfall, so bear in mind that the above dates are not a guarantee of seeing the Great Migration during your visit.
Big Five Safaris can be done year-round, although the dry season (January-March and July-October) tend to provide better game viewing conditions as animals are forced closer to water sources and the undergrowth is less thick.
Climbing Mt. Kenya can be achieved year-round, with the mountain maintaining a fairly cold climate at its peak. Climbing is more difficult during the rainy season, and so it is best to climb in January-February, or between July & October when the weather is drier.
For visiting arid Northern Kenya, it is possible to visit at any time of year. With temperatures ranging between 20-40C, it is best to go in one of the cooler months – June, July, August, or December.
Before You Travel
Entering Kenya requires both a valid passport and a Kenyan visa. While the information below is up to date at the time of writing, it is advisable to always check ahead to ensure visa processes or charges have not changed.
With the exception of a select few countries, anybody entering Kenya is required to have a visa. To enter Kenya, you’ll also need a passport with at least six months validity remaining. Your passport will need at least two pages free.