ABOUT KENYA

KENYA OVERVIEW

A country in East Africa, the Republic of Kenya borders the Indian Ocean to the southeast, Tanzania to the south, Uganda to the west, Sudan to the northwest, Ethiopia to the north, and Somalia to the northeast. Lake Victoria is shared between Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. The capital is Nairobi. The total area is 58,000 sq. km and the population is estimated to be 51,903,301 million (2018). There are over 40 different ethnic groups in Kenya. Kenya’s diverse areas range from highlands over low plains to sandy beaches on the coast of the Indian Ocean. The Great Rift Valley is home to Africa’s biggest fresh water lake, Lake Victoria. The plateaus boast the highest point in the country: Mount Kenya the second highest in Africa and the country takes its name from the mountain. There’s the opportunity of witnessing one of nature’s natural wonders the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra and the chance of seeing the Big Five. You can visit the bustling city of Nairobi; go snorkeling on coral reefs or visit a traditional Maasai village; the opportunities are endless in Kenya.

Best time to visit Kenya

One of the best times to visit Kenya is from July to September, during the country’s dry season, which also coincides with the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra. The rainy seasons are also good times to travel, as there are fewer visitors and you can admire the striking emerald vegetation. December in particular is a great time to travel to Kenya, since the rains are short and you have the chance to see newborn animals and migratory bird species. Only the peak of the ‘long rains’ in March, April and May are very wet.

Weather and climate in Kenya

Kenya’s climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate inland to arid in the north and northeast parts of the country. The area receives a great deal of sunshine every month. It is usually cool at night and early in the morning inland at higher elevations.

 

The “long rains” season occurs from March/April to May/June. The “short rains” season occurs from October to November/December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and often falls in the afternoons and evenings. The temperature remains high throughout these months of tropical rain. The hottest period is February and March, leading into the season of the long rains, and the coldest is in July, until mid-August.

BEST KENYA SAFARI DESTINATIONS

Read more about popular Kenya safari destinations below. Our customized tours and packages holidays can include multiple destinations to ensure you get the most out of your Kenya safari holiday and other East Africa destinations.

MAASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE

Maasai Mara National Reserve which encompassing 1510 square km of endless plains, wonderful views and wildlife. The Maasai Mara is named after the Maasai people who live in the area. It shares a common border with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

 

The Maasai Mara Reserve is home to the world’s greatest wildlife phenomenon, the Wildebeest Migration, which crosses its rolling grasslands from August to October each year. Several million animals take part in this epic journey through the Serengeti-Mara eco system, surging over the flood-swollen Mara River, attempting crocodile-infected crossing points, and shadowed by their padded foot predators. The Mara can be visited year round and has one of the highest concentrations of predator to prey ratio in Africa.

Best time to visit Maasai Mara

The best time to visit The Maasai Mara is during the driest months, from late June to October. These are the best months for wildlife viewing because vegetation is thinner and animals gather around rivers and water holes. It does offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year, but the rainy months (March, April, November and December) make some of the roads difficult to navigate. The wildebeest migration and the river crossings in particular are difficult to time, but your best chance to witness this spectacle is in late September and October.

Weather and climate in Maasai Mara

Due to the altitude, the climate in the Maasai Mara is slightly colder and wetter than might be expected this close to the equator. Daytime is pleasant with temperatures in the mid to upper twenties, while it cools off significantly at night. Dry season this is an enjoyable time to be in the park with lovely weather. Typically, there are sunny days and it’s rarely very hot. Don’t forget to pack winter clothing for early morning game drives.

NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK

Nairobi National Park is a National Park in Kenya, established in 1946; the national park was Kenya’s first It is located approximately 7 kilometers (4 mi) south of the centre of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, with an electric fence separating the park’s wildlife from the metropolis. Nairobi’s skyscrapers can be seen from the park. The proximity of urban and natural environments has caused conflicts between the animals and local people and threatens animals’ migration routes.

 

Still, despite its proximity to civilization and relative small size for an African national park, Nairobi National Park boasts a large and varied wildlife population. Migrating herbivores gather in the park during the dry season, and it is one of Kenya’s most successful rhinoceros sanctuaries.

Best time to visit Nairobi National Park

Wildlife viewing is at its finest in the Dry season (when animals can easily be seen around water sources), from June to September, although it’s possible to visit Nairobi NP any time. Wildlife watching is usually more difficult during the long rains (March to May) and the short rains (October to November). During these months, rainfall might restrict game drives and the grass tends to be very high.

Weather and climate in Nairobi National Park

Nairobi has a cool and temperate climate. Temperatures are reasonably constant year-round, and it cools off considerably at night. There is very little rain in the Dry season between June and October. November to May, the Wet season, has two periods of rain. The ‘short rains’ are heaviest in November, and the ‘long rains’ are at their peak in April.

 

Dry season it rains very little in the Dry season, although when the first rains fall is changeable. July and August are the coolest months, and temperatures increase in September through October before the rain breaks. The Wet season is comprised of three distinct parts: the ‘short rains’ from November to December and the ‘long rains’ from March to May, with a dry period separating them

AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK

Amboseli is situated in the Loitoktok District in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya. This Kenya safari destination is 39 206 hectares in size which crosses the Kenya and Tanzania border. Amboseli National Park showcases these Classic East African landscapes with Elephants and Giraffes silhouetted against the snowy peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro. With emerald swamps, springs, acacia scrub, high wildlife concentrations and grassy savanna, Amboseli is an oasis in Kenya’s south, with perfect views of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, especially at dawn and sunset. This relatively small park supports a wide range of mammals, well over 50 of the larger species, and birds with over 400 species.

Best time to visit Amboseli

Although Amboseli can be visited at any time of year it is recommended to go in the dry months, which are from June to October and January to February. Views of Kilimanjaro are hit-and-miss, but chances are best early morning and late afternoon in the Wet season months from November to May, when the sky is clear of dust.

Weather and climate in Amboseli

Conditions in Amboseli are hot and dry. Rain typically falls as short, heavy showers. During the day expect average temperatures of around 28°C/82°F and 15°C/59°F at night. Early morning activities, such as game drives, require warm clothing. The ‘long rains’ usually fall from mid-March to mid-May while the ‘short rains’ are from late October to mid-December. Dry season June to September these are the coolest months and typically have bright, sunny days. It is very dry with practically no rain.

 

The Wet season is marked by the ‘short rains’ followed by the ‘long rains’. January and February is a drier interlude. Driving can be a challenge in April and May when rains cause road conditions to deteriorate.

TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK

Tsavo East National Park is located on the east coast of Kenya and lies between the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa. Tsavo is one of the oldest parks in Kenya and was opened in April 1948.

 

Tsavo East is the larger of the two parks in Tsavo National Park and its arid bush veld is defined by the azure water ways of the Galana & Athi Rivers, volcanic lava fields, thorny bush, marshes and savannah grasslands. From the world’s longest lava flow, the Yatta Plateau to the Lugard Falls and water worn rocks, Tsavo East is home to every creature, from hyenas, leopards, elephants to Somali Ostriches, migratory birds and kongoni antelope.

Best time to visit Tsavo East

A trip to Tsavo East is best planned in June to October and January to February, when conditions in the park are favorable for wildlife watching. During the peak of the short rains (November) and the long rains (April and May) conditions can be more challenging. The vegetation at these times is denser and animals spread out, which makes spotting them more difficult.

Weather and climate in Tsavo East

Visitors to Tsavo East can expect a hot, dry climate. The average temperature fluctuates between 31°C/88°F during the day and 20°C/68°F at nighttime. Rainfall peaks in April and November during the long and short rains, respectively. Rain tends to fall as short heavy showers. The Dry season months are the coolest. Days are full of sunshine and there is very little rain. The ‘short rains’ and the ‘long rains’ are separated by a drier couple of months in January and February. Road conditions are at their worst in April and May.

TSAVO WEST NATIONAL PARK

Tsavo West National Park is located between the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa. Tsavo West National Park is the continuity of one of the greatest National Parks in the world. The west incorporates rolling vistas of hills and bush, stark, volcanic outpourings, honeycombed tunnels shaped by the bubbling Tsavo River itself. Eden like pools and freshwater springs, shaded by palm and fig trees can be found at Mzima Springs and along the river banks. This breathtaking expanse of landscape attracts all of Africa’s Big-Five animals, the small and mysterious ones too. There are also sanctuaries for the black rhino as well as antelope, gazelle, melanistic servals, aardwolves and 400 bird species.

 

A Tsavo West National Park activity includes hikes to viewpoints e.g. Poacher’s Lookout, Rhodesian Hill, Ngulia and Kichwa Tembo. This is a good area for game drives with the longest game drive to Ziwani Swamp where one can have a picnic. Night game drives are also available.

Best time to visit Tsavo West

Tsavo West is best visited in the dry months from June to October and January to February. Although the park can be visited any time of year, wildlife viewing during the height of the Wet season (November, April and May) is not recommended. In the wet months animals tend to spread out due to the abundance of water.

Weather and climate in Tsavo West

Tsavo West has a climate characterized by hot and dry conditions. During the day, expect temperatures around 29°C/84°F, while 18°C/64°F is typical at night. Cool mornings mean warm clothing is a good idea for early game drives. Rainfall peaks in April and November. The coolest months are full of sunshine, but very little rain. Warm clothing is necessary for open vehicle game drives. The ‘short rains’ followed by the ‘long rains’ comprise the Wet season. In between these two wetter periods is a drier stretch which falls in the months of January and February.

LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

Lake Nakuru is a shallow soda-lake nestled in the Great Rift Valley of Kenya. Lake Nakuru National Park protects it. There are much other diversity in the park which range from animal and bird habitats from the lake to the escarpment and the beautiful scenery.

 

Lake Nakuru is renowned for its huge concentration of brilliant pink flamingos, over 460 species of birds and a wealth of other wildlife. The alkaline lake’s abundance of algae attracts the large quantity of flamingos (estimated as millions) that famously line the shore. Alongside the flamingoes the park provides sanctuary for the black and white rhino. The Nakuru eco-system comprises of the lake, surrounded by wooded areas and grasslands which support a number of Rothschild Giraffes, Zebra, Impala, Gazelle, Waterbuck, Lion, Warthog, Bushbuck, Buffalo, plus the elusive Leopard.

Best time to visit Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru offers good wildlife viewing throughout the year, but the rains might interfere with your game drives in the wettest months, April and May. Although there is great birdlife at the lake, conditions in recent years have become unfavorable for flamingos, which used to be a real attraction here. As a result, the flamingos have moved to other lakes in the Rift Valley.

Weather and climate in Lake Nakuru

Lake Nakuru’s climate is mild and temperatures are consistent year-round. Daytime temperatures are pleasant in the mid to upper twenties, although it is much cooler at nights. Warm clothing for early morning game drives is a necessity. The wettest months are April and May. The rest of the year is relatively dry with some rain throughout.

 

Dry season June to February, the pleasant days are usually sunny, but do not get too hot. It rarely rains, although don’t be surprised if there is an occasional shower at any time. It is recommended to wear warm clothing on early morning game drives.

 

Wet season March to May there are many overcast, cloudy days in the Wet season, but it rarely rains all day. Temperatures in the afternoon are pleasant at around 27°C/81°F. Early mornings are a bit milder at 11°C/52°F. April is the wettest month.

SAMBURU & SHAMBA

Samburu National Park is located on the Ewaso Ng’iro River in Kenya. It is 165 km in size and geographically located in Samburu County. Samburu was where George and Joy Adamson raised Elsa the Lioness and wrote the famous bestselling book and movie “Born Free”.

 

With a distinct isolated beauty of the dry North, the National reserves of Samburu, Shaba and Buffalo Springs are heavy with classic big game, termite skyscrapers, and home to the Ewaso Ngiro River and host a population of creatures that occur in no other major Kenyan Park. These include rarities such as the blue-leered Somali Ostrich, Grevy’s Zebra, unicorn like beisa oryxes, flocks of vulturine, marshal and helmeted eagles, reticulated giraffes and the gerenuk, a gazelle with an exceptionally long neck. The local populations of the neighboring communities are of the Rendille, Borana and the Samburu tribe, a descendent clan of the Masai. Cattle, as well as sheep, goats and camels, are of utmost importance to the Samburu culture and way of life. The Samburu paint their faces using striking patterns to accentuate their facial features & neighboring tribes, admiring the beauty of the Samburu people, called them “Samburu” which means butterfly.

Best time to visit Samburu

Samburu can be visited year-round, but wildlife watching is usually best in the dry months from June to October and December to March. It is wise to avoid the height of the Wet seasons (November, April and May). During these months, spotting wildlife (which has spread out anyway with the availability of water) in the long grass is more challenging.

Weather and climate in Samburu

During the day, Samburu’s climate is hot and dry, although it cools down at night. The daytime temperature is usually in the region of 32°C/90°F, while the average at nighttime is 15°C/59°F. It is a good idea to bring warm clothing for game drives in the early morning. The rains peak in April and November, but annual rainfall is low. The Wet season is defined by the ‘short rains’ followed by the wetter ‘long rains’. The months of January and February are a dry period that separates the shorter and longer rains.

LAKE NAIVASHA

Lake Naivasha (rough water) is a freshwater lake North West of the capital Nairobi and it is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes which is 1884m above sea level. Freshwater shores fringed with papyrus and a yellow acacia, hippos frolicking in the shallows and the cacophony of twittering birds creates a lasting impression of Lake Naivasha.

 

Lake Naivasha has many different types of wildlife with a good portion of hippos and fish including Crayfish, Tilapia and Black bass. There are 400 species of birds of which Great Cormorants, Long-tailed, Fish Eagles, Pelicans and all types of Kingfishers as well as the Grey-backed fiscal are some.

Best time to visit Lake Naivasha

Temperatures are Pleasant all year round! Average temperatures range from 24 ° (June) to 28 ° (February). The rainiest months are: November, May and April. We recommended the month of January, February, march, December, to visit Lake Naivasha.

Weather and climate in Naivasha

In January, in Lake Naivasha, Minimum temperatures vary between 11 in the morning and 27 in the afternoon. Temperatures are hot. The average rainfall is around 30 inches, for 26 days without rain.

LAKE TURKANA NATIONAL PARK

Lake Turkana also called Lake Rudolf, fourth largest of the eastern African lakes. It lies mainly in northern Kenya, with its northern end stretching into Ethiopia. The lake lies in the eastern arm of eastern Africa’s Rift Valley. It covers an area of 2,473 square miles (6,405 square km) and lies at 1,230 feet (375 m) above sea level. Together with Lake Baringo (south), Lake Rudolf once formed a larger body of water drained by the Sobat River into the Nile River. Earth movements during the Pleistocene Epoch (about 2,600,000 to 11,700 years ago), however, created a smaller lake of independent inland drainage. Volcanic outcrops give rise to rocky shores in the east and south, while the lake’s western and northern shores are lower and consist of sand dunes, sandpits, and mudflats. The three main islands in the lake North, Central, and South are volcanic.

 

Lake Rudolf is 154 miles (248 km) long, only 10 20 miles (16–32 km) wide and relatively shallow, its greatest recorded depth being 240 feet (73 m). The lake’s level and area tend to fluctuate. Its only perennial tributary is the Omo River, which flows from Ethiopia. Having no outlet, the lake’s waters are brackish. Sudden storms are frequent, rendering navigation on the lake treacherous.

 

Lake Rudolf is a rich reservoir of fish. Nile perch, tiger fish, bichir, and various species of Tilapia abound. Crocodiles and hippopotamuses are common, and birds include flamingos, cormorants, and kingfishers. The peoples of the neighboring desert scrub are largely nomadic pastoralists. Count Samuel Teleki and Lieutenant Ludwig von Höhnel visited the lake in 1888 and named it after the crown prince of Austria. In Kenya it is called Lake Turkana.

Best time to visit Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana has a desert climate and rainfall is very low. The area can be visited at any time, but the scenery is most stunning after the rains, which peak in April and November. The wetter months should be avoided if you are driving up from Nairobi, as some tracks might become difficult to navigate.

Weather and climate in Lake Turkana

Lake Turkana lies in the very dry, inhospitable north of Kenya. This is the hottest area of the country with daytime temperatures reaching up to 37°C/99°F. The annual rainfall is under 200mm/7in, but the ‘long rains’ peak in April and the ‘short rains’ peak in November, as elsewhere in the country.

OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a 360 km2 (140 sq mi) not-for-profit wildlife conservancy in Central Kenya’s Laikipia County. Situated on the equator west of Nanyuki between the foothills of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy works to conserve wildlife, provide a sanctuary for great apes and to generate income through wildlife tourism and complementary enterprises for re-investment in conservation and community development.

 

The Conservancy boasts the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa and in 2013 reached a population milestone of 100 black rhino. It also houses the two remaining northern white rhino in the world, who were moved here from Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. The Sweetwater’s Chimpanzee Sanctuary is situated here, and provides a haven for orphaned, abandoned and rescued chimpanzees. It is the only place in Kenya where these great apes can be seen. The Conservancy is host to the “Big five game” among a large selection of other African animals, which makes it a popular safari destination. It also operates a successful livestock program, which serves to benefit local pastoralists and wildlife. Through the conservancy’s community development programmed, Ol Pejeta provides funding to surrounding communities to aid health, education, and water and infrastructure projects. They also support the provision of agriculture and livestock extension services and the development of community based conservation tourism ventures.

Best time to visit Ol Pejeta

Ol Pejeta Conservancy offers good wildlife viewing throughout the year, although heavy downpours in the peaks of the Wet season can disrupt planned excursions. A 4×4 vehicle is essential if visiting during the rainy season from October to May.

Weather and climate in Ol Pejeta

Due to the high altitude, Ol Pejeta experiences a mild climate. Temperatures are fairly constant all year daytime temperatures are in the mid twenties, while nights are cooler. Warm clothes for game drives are essential. The main Wet season (the long rains) is from March to May while there is a shorter wet period (the short rains), which peaks in November. The Dry season June to September has mostly sunny days, although rainfall is possible at any time. Temperatures of around 24°C/75°F are common. At 10°C/50°F nighttime and early mornings are cold. Even though the Wet season is between October and May, a drier period from December to February separates the ‘short rains’ and ‘long rains’. Overcast days are not unusual.

MOUNT KENYA

Mount Kenya is Africa’s second highest mountain at 5,199m (17,058 feet) and the highest of all Kenya Mountains. Mount Kenya is roughly circular, about 60km across at the 200mm contour, where the steep font hills rise out of the gentler slopes of the centered highlands. At the centre of the massif, the main peaks rise sharply from around 4,500m to the main summit of Batian 5,199m, Nelion 5,188m and point Lenana 4,985m. Other major summits on the mountain include Point Piggott 4,957m, Point Dutton 4,885 and Point John 4,883m. Of the three main peaks (Batian, Lenana and Nelion), only point Lenana can be reached by trekkers and the other two being only for technical climbers.

Best time to visit Mount Kenya

December to March is the sunniest months and perhaps the best time to visit. There are some cloudy periods and rain from March to May, and drizzle from October to early December which may restrict clear views. However, Mount Kenya National Park is open all year round.

Weather and climate in Mount Kenya

The temperatures span a wide range, which diminishes with altitude. In the lower alpine zone they usually don’t go below 12 °C (54 °F). Snow and rain are common from March to December, but especially in the two wet seasons. The wet seasons combined account for 5/6 of the annual precipitation. The monsoon, which controls the wet and dry seasons, means that most of the year there are south easterly winds, but during January and February the dominate wind direction is north easterly.

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