Best Times to Visit

Weather

March to May sees the long rains, October to December the short rains. The coastal areas are hot and humid all year, but tempered by monsoon winds, whilst the higher regions are more temperate with four seasons. The lowlands are hot but mainly dry. (More information may be found in Climate in Kenya).

The country receives a great deal of sunshine all the year round; however, it is usually cool at night and early in the morning. Visitors are advised to bring lightweight cottons and linens, with warmer clothing in June and July and for the cooler mornings and nights. Waterproofs will be needed between March and May, and between October and December.

Festivals

The Kenyatta International Conference Centre hosts a Cultural Music Festival in August featuring traditional dances, acrobatics, and folk. A food festival, the Uhondo Africa, is held in July, featuring world and Kenyan cuisine. The Dugong festival is held in May in Lamu, to raise money to save the dugong: activities include dhow racing, watersports, dancing, and feasts. Nairobi and Mombasa hold Carnivals in October and November.

Public Holidays

The following table shows the public holidays celebrated in Kenya:

Date Holiday
1 January New Year's Day
March/April (variable) Good Friday
March/April (variable) Easter Monday
1 May Labour Day
1 June Madaraka Day
10 October Moi Day
20 October Kenyatta Day
12 December Independence Day
25 December Christmas Day
26 December Boxing Day
Variable* Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)

* Although Muslim holidays always fall on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date they are celebrated on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, due to the fact that the Islamic calendar is lunar whilst the Gregorian calendar is solar. Because this lunar year is about 11 days shorter than the solar year, Islamic holy days usually shift 11 days earlier each successive solar year. The method used to determine when each Islamic month begins also varies from country to country.