Kenya Travel Guide

Pom Pom Lodge, Kenya

Kenya’s different topographical regions experience distinct climates.

Generally, the hottest time is in February and March and the coldest in July and August.

The coastal region is largely humid and wet. The city of Malindi, for instance, receives an average rainfall of 1,050 mm (41 in) per year, with average temperatures ranging from 21° to 32°C (70° to 90°F) in January and 20° to 29°C (68° to 84°F) in July.

The low plateau area is the driest part of the country. There, the town of Wajir receives an average annual rainfall of 320 mm (13 in) and experiences average temperatures ranging from 19° to 37°C (66° to 99°F) in January and 19° to 34°C (66° to 93°F) in July.

Nairobi, in the temperate Kenya highlands, receives an average annual rainfall of 790 mm (31 in) and experiences average temperatures ranging from 9° to 29°C (48° to 84°F) in January and 7° to 26°C (45° to 79°F) in July.

Higher elevation areas within the highlands receive much larger amounts of rainfall. The Lake Victoria basin in western Kenya is generally the wettest region in the country, particularly the highland regions to the north and south of Kisumu, where average annual rainfall ranges from 1,740 mm (70 in) to 1,940 mm (80 in). Average temperatures in this region range from 14° to 34°C (57° to 93°F) in January and 14° to 30°C (57° to 86°F) in July.

The average annual temperatures in the main areas are:
Mombasa (coastal): Max 30ºC, Min 22ºC
Nairobi: Max 25ºC, Min 13ºC
North Plain lands: Max 34ºC, Min 23ºC

Rainfall occurs seasonally throughout most of Kenya. The coast, eastern plateaus, and lake basin experience two rainy seasons: the “long rains” extends roughly from March to June, and the “short rains” lasts from approximately October to December.

The highlands of western Kenya have a single rainy season, lasting from March to September. All parts of the country are subject to periodic droughts, or delays in the start of the rainy seasons. Kenya’s climate has had a profound effect on settlement patterns, as for centuries population has been concentrated in the wettest areas of the country.

Clothing on a safari should be practical and comfortable. Roads can be dusty and the temperature can fluctuate as much as 20 degrees during the course of the day. Layers are an ideal way to pack. Mornings are generally cooler – and in some areas cold. As the day progresses and the sun rises higher in the sky, the temperatures rise. The cooling process begins again in the late afternoon, as the sun sets.

Packing light layers will help you adjust to any climate condition, as you simply remove layers as the temperatures rise.

Safari clothing should be light in color – both for reflecting the suns rays, and for blending in with the natural environment.

Avoid dark colors such as brown, black and navy that absorb the heat.

Neutral colors such as beige, khaki and bush green are particularly suitable. Try to stick to cotton or other natural fibers. Cotton breathes and allows the cooler air to circulate, thus keeping you cool and comfortable.

Avoid clothing that needs to be dry-cleaned, as these facilities are not generally available at lodges and camps. Remember that casual dress is acceptable everywhere.

Often, clothing worn to dinner will be worn on safari the next day.

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