What is the best time to go on safari in Kenya?
Sitting on the Equator, Kenya offers good conditions and comfortable year-round temperatures across the country, so it’s hard to define a ‘best time to visit Kenya’. That being said, there are particular months and areas that go hand in hand, offering exceptional safari and game viewing experiences.
The beauty of the Masai Mara, is that it is renowned as a year-round destination! The Mara and the Talek River provide a permanent water supply, securing an abundance of resident wildlife, including herds of elephant, prides of lion, dazzles of zebra and many more. The plains of the Mara sit on an altitude of around 2000m, making it generally milder (and damper) than similar regions, but temperatures average at a comfortable 26°C throughout the year and the African sun never lets you down!
July to October are considered by most to be the best time to go on safari in Kenya. This is the most exciting time of the year to visit as the herds of the Great Migration arrive in the Masai Mara in July/August time and graze the plains of the Mara until October/ November time. With wildebeest and zebra in their thousands, and other species of animals that often tag along, speckled across the reserve, predators such as the cats are ready awaiting their next meal. On the other hand, one of the downsides to this season is the high visitor numbers. The Masai Mara is one Africa's most concentrated parks in terms of game and size, so vehicles shamelessly often crowd around the game.
However… the beauty of the Masai Mara is that is has opened up to private conservancies, known as the Greater Mara Conservancies, so guests and vehicles are not necessarily limited to the regulated areas of the Mara Reserve. Many of the conservancies, especially the Mara North, have high game concentrations and a huge variety of luxury and unique camps and lodges to choose from. So for those looking for a quieter and more intimate experience, the conservancies are the way forward!
One time of year we would recommend avoiding is the months of April and May when it is the rainy season. During these months, a lot of the destinations are hard to access because of the rains and the properties shut down. Although there are some camps that remain open, a lot of them shut for renovation which means there is much less choice on where to stay.
November and December bring the short rains which, like much of East Africa, arrive in short downpours in most afternoons. That said, December onwards offers warm temperatures and all-day sun, which increases visitor numbers. These months, especially around the Festive period, are some of the busiest and most popular, so make sure you plan way in advance if you want to get your favourite property!
To find out when is best to go on safari in Kenya in a specific destination, please click here.