|Most of the year is fine for safaris in Kenya
You probably want to avoid the rainy seasons, though, when the conditions for safaris
are not as good as during dry seasons.
| Season summary
| All year, except for rainy April and May, and rainy November and
October to March.
|| AprilMay, 'the long
November, 'the short
|Best wildlife seasons:
|| Varies from park to park, for example:
· Serengeti: December to March
· Masai Mara: August to October
· Tarangire: September to October
· Selous & Ruaha:
September to October
· Ngorongoro: All year round
|Most popular seasons:
July and August
Christmas and New Year
The following applies to the most popular safari regions, i.e. northern Tanzania (Serengeti,
Ngorongoro etc) and central/southern Kenya (Masai
Mara, Lake Nakuru etc).
Go for dry seasons
DecemberMarch and JuneOctober are dry seasons, when conditions for safaris
are generally the best. That's when to go, to fully enjoy a safari.
Avoid rainy seasons
We suggest that you avoid going during a rainy season. Safari-goers may encounter problems
travelling in the bush, due to damaged roads, flooded bridges and mud. Game viewing
is less rewarding when windows and roof hatches on safari vehicles have to be closed
to keep the rain out.
April to May are the wettest months (called 'the long rains'). Some days may be nice
and sunny, as it doesn't rain continuously for the whole season, but overall you can
Another rainy season ('the short rains') in November, sometimes continuing into December,
brings less rain. Much of it falls in the afternoons and evenings, and there may be
clear days, too. It may still be wet enough to cause accessibility problems on poor
roads, and to make good game driving difficult.
Tours during rainy seasons
Some travel companies sell tours even during the rainy season in April and May, and
as this is a low season, these tours cost less. But conditions for safaris, coastal
holidays, mountain climbing and other activities may not be very good during these months,
due to rainfall.
The temperatures in the main safari areas, most of them situated inland, are 2530+ºC/7785+ºF
during OctoberMarch, and 5º/10º less during the rest of the year. Rainfall
brings cooler temperatures.
The air in the inland safari regions is mainly dry.
Most good parks are situated inland, and many of them at altitudes between 800 m/2,600
ft and 1,800 m/5,900 ft. This is not because they are mountainous, but because much
of inland East Africa lies on a plateau. Due to the altitude, nights are cool and pleasant,
even after very hot days. Also mornings are cool, so you may want a wind-proof jacket
or sweater during early morning game
Some good parks are mountainous, for example Mount
Kenya National Park in Kenya and the Ngorongoro Crater
area in Tanzania. Here, you may be staying at altitudes higher than 2,000 m/6,500 ft,
which means night that may be cold. Some lodges even have central heating.
As to safari tour prices in general, it's low season from April to mid-June. It's high
season the rest of the year, except for the peak season during Christmas and New Year,
when prices are the highest.
The numbers of visitors to Kenya and Tanzania are highest during February, July
to August, October, and Christmas and New Year.
June can be a month with relatively few visitors and good game viewing.
General on weather
Note that East
Africa, like most places in the world, has weather, ranging from good to bad.
There can be rainy days during dry seasons, and sunny days during rainy seasons.
Also note that the rainy seasons aren't fully predictable. They may start and end earlier
or later, and don't come at all some years.
The wildlife conditions (whereabouts, congregations, numbers) in many parks vary during
the year, depending on season. The variations depend on local factors, and are not the
same for all parks. Therefore, no tour or safari route can be said to be the best, unless
you also specify during witch time of year.
Many parks have one or a few peaks every year, when factors such as migrations, temperatures,
grazing and water sum up to prime game viewing conditions. Most of these factors are
controlled by seasons and weather. The peaks for all parks don't coincide, though. While
one park may be as good as it ever gets in February, game viewing in a nearby park may
be less than ultimate at that time.
The great migration
The migration in the Serengeti
and Masai Mara region is an example of wildlife changing
seasonally. The herds of the migration normally spend December to June in Serengeti
in Tanzania, and August to October in Masai Mara in Kenya. This means that an area crowded
with wildebeest and zebras may be virtually deserted a few months later.
The wildebeest give birth to their calves during a few weeks starting in the middle
of February, when the migration is normally in southern Serengeti.
Water and vegetation
To the wildlife, dry seasons mean congregating where there is permanent water, or, if
there is no such source of water, moving to a different area that has water, maybe outside
of the park.
Wet seasons mean that both water and quality grazing is widely available, and animals
may disperse over large areas. Most flowers, butterflies and other insects etc are seen
during wet seasons, and mean food for larger animals, reptiles and birds.
Wet seasons and early dry seasons also mean dense vegetation, making game spotting more
difficult, while late dry seasons mean vegetation is less dense and game spotting easier.
Seasons park by park
The table below shows the wildlife seasons for the most popular parks in Tanzania and
Kenya, under normal weather and climate conditions:
Tours and wildlife seasons
Close to all tour itineraries (except for tailored tours) are the same all year round.
They are not adapted to the wildlife seasons in the parks visited.
This is generally no big problem, as most parks are good enough all year round, and
the prime parks are very good. But you may get an even better safari if you consider
the wildlife seasons when choosing your safari.
The climate in general
Africa is a tropical region. Kenya is situated on the equator, Tanzania just
south of. The midday sun zeniths twice a year, around the March and September equinoxes.
A rainy season follows soon after each equinox. This means that Kenya and Tanzania have
two rainy seasons every year, and between these two longer dry seasons.
The climate is also depending on monsoons; hot winds from the north-east and north-west
during East Africa's hot season (September to March), and cooler winds from the south
and south-east during the cool season (April to August).
Local geography, such as large lakes or mountains, may cause local variations to the
The pattern in southern Tanzania reminds of that of southern Africa, with one hot and
wet season (November to May) and one cool and dry season (June to October) every year.
The rainy seasons are not fully predictable. They can begin and end earlier or later
than the dates mentioned on this page, vary between regions and some years not come
at all. Some years, prolonged rains may come during dry seasons. For example, December
to March 2006 were exceptionally dry, as the November rains had failed, while December
to March 2007 were exceptionally wet.
However, you cannot predict such variations at the time when you book your safari. Your
best shot is expecting weather and seasons to be like they usually are, i.e. as described
on this page.
Rainy and dry seasons
April to May, 'the long rains'
The rainy season in April and May is locally called 'the long rains', and is the season
with the most rainfall. Some days may still be nice and sunny, as it doesn't rain continuously
for the whole season.
Safari-goers may encounter problems travelling in the bush, due to damaged roads, flooded
bridges and mud. Game viewing may be difficult, as roof hatches and windows have to
be closed when raining. Some lodges and camps close during this season.
During the long rains, the migration
starts moving north/north-west from southern Serengeti
in Tanzania, to be found in the Western corridor within the park by the end of the rainy
June to October, dry season
June to October is a long dry season. The first months are cooler, but temperatures
start rising in September, reaching 2530+ºC/7785+ºF towards the
end of the season.
During June, the migration moves north through the Western
corridor in Serengeti, and arrives in Masai
Mara in Kenya during July.
November, 'the short rains'
The rainy season usually coming in November (and may extend into December) is called
'the short rains'. The rainfall is less heavy compared to the long rains in April and
May, and much of the rain falls during afternoons and nights. Conditions may or may
not be good enough for safaris, depending on the amount of rain.
The migration starts moving south from Masai
Mara in Kenya into Serengeti in Tanzania during these
rains. This is a good time to visit the Lobo area in northern Serengeti.
December to March, dry season
This dry season is normally hot, with temperatures around 2530+ºC/7785+ºF.
The migration moves to and then stays in the southern
parts of Serengeti and into western Ngorongoro Conservation
Area. This is the calving and foaling season for the wildebeest and zebras.
For southern Tanzania, where Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi
National Park and Ruaha National Park are found, some
consider November to May to be one single rainy season, with a drier spell in January
and February, and the rest of the year one dry season.
Much of Selous is below 200 m/650 ft, which means higher temperatures both days
The local geography, such as mountains and big lakes, may affect the local climate.
The Lake Victoria region, for example, has
much rain, which is more evenly distributed throughout the year.
The westmost parts of East Africa (where fewer safari-goers venture) have a rainy season
from March to November, due to westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean and the Congo
Both Kenya and Tanzania have coasts facing the Indian Ocean. The coastal climate is
similar to the inland climate, but the coastal air is more humid and the temperatures
rarely rise much higher than 2530ºC/7785ºF. The climate allows
swimming and bathing all year round.
in Tanzania and Mount
Kenya in Kenya are the two highest mountains in Africa, and both can be climbed.
Your chances of reaching the summit may depend on the season when you try it.
On the high altitudes you reach during a climb, temperatures are of course lower than
in the foothills or on the savanna. The highest peaks are covered in permanent snow
The table below shows the seasons for climbing the mountains:
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Number of visitors
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temp/Little rain/Clear/Few visitors
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temp/Some rain/Some clouds/Normal # of visitors
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lot of rain/Cloudy/Many visitors
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