Kenya prides itself on being a tourist destination.
It doesn’t matter which time of the year you decide to visit; some adventure is always awaiting you.
However, some months are more favorable for visitors than others regarding climatic conditions.
Most tourists prefer visiting Kenya in the drier season, which is understandable because the weather allows them to explore different tourist attractions uninterrupted by the rains.
Tourists visiting Kenya during the dry season in months like August doesn’t imply that the wet season has little to offer.
Even in cold and wet months like May, there are a lot of activities to enjoy.
All you need to do is take the right precautions, such as packing warm clothes and mosquito repellants to facilitate a smooth stay.
This guide particularly addresses the weather to expect in Kenya if you visit in May.
Besides familiarizing yourself with the May weather, you’ll also learn about some places you can visit, festivals you can attend, and what to wear, among other insights.
The May weather is generally not very friendly, but it should not affect your traveling plans unless you have other valid reasons.
May falls under the wet season, so expect rainfall, low temperatures, cloudy days, and little sunshine.
However, all is not lost because Kenya has several attractions in different locations, which means the weather is not uniform in all these locations.
Some locations may experience rain at night and stay cold during the day and vice versa.
Other locations may experience a little sunshine for a few hours a day.
Despite the prevailing May climatic conditions, you can control your movements by relying on local weather forecasts and planning.
Downloading a reliable weather forecast app is a great start.
The forecasts are accurate and enable you to determine in advance which park, beach, museum to visit, or mountain to climb depending on the weather readings.
You get to know which place will have more or less rainfall, humidity, cloud coverage, sunshine, etc.
For example, you can decide to fly to Mombasa for a day or two if the forecast indicates more hours of sunshine, the same case for other local destinations.
The table below provides a summary of what the weather is like in Kenya in different cities and most frequented national parks in Kenya:
Disclaimer: the averages below may slightly differ in different years, so it is advisable to consult updated forecasts.
|Maasai Mara National Reserve
|Amboseli National Park
|Lake Naivasha National Park
|Mt. Kenya National Park
|Average Wind Speed
|Average UV Index
As a tourist, you need convincing reasons that May is not a bad month to visit Kenya despite the unfavorable weather.
Well, if you aren’t for the idea that May is a good month to fly into the country, the following justifications may change your mind
I. May Is Less Crowded
Low seasons automatically translate to low tourist numbers.
If you love your space or are an introvert, May sounds like the perfect time of the year to hop on a plane to Kenya.
The wet weather is a turnoff to most tourists hence the low turnout, but looking at it, it is a blessing in disguise.
You have the privilege of choosing a hotel room with the best view, full attention from the hotel staff, less crowded tour vans when out for Safari drives, less crowded swimming pools and beaches, and ample time to interact with locals.
Additionally, less crowded national parks and game reserves mean you will have adequate time with the tour guides without being rushed to pave the way for other groups.
II. A Chance to Vacation on Budget
If you have a tight vacation budget that may not comfortably sustain you through a peak season without feeling the pinch, consider visiting Kenya during low-season months like May.
Being a low season, every tourism stakeholder is desperate to win over the few tourists available, from airlines to hotels and tour companies.
You can, therefore, expect significantly reduced accommodation rates, flight tickets, and Safari Packages.
Nevertheless, the low season offers an opportune moment to negotiate for lower prices which you shouldn’t shy from trying because most service providers are vulnerable at that time.
III. It is a Wildlife and Photo-friendly Season
The vegetation in game parks becomes greener and more abundant in the wet season, not forgetting the fuller water pools and streams.
Food and water are abundant for the wildlife, making it easy to spot them as they come out in numbers after rains subdue to eat and drink to their fill.
It is the perfect time to watch predators like leopards and lions go after their hunts, pouncing on them, ripping them apart, devouring them, and leaving some for the scavengers.
With your camera or digital phone, you can capture many wildlife moments in the wet season and create lasting memories.
IV. It is Wildlife Birthing Month
May marks one of the birthing months of wildlife because there is plenty of food and water for breastfeeding and young animals.
You watch cubs and calves play and hover around their life givers, breastfeeding and licking each other’s fur.
V. Watch Birds Migration
If you are a bird watcher, you wouldn’t want to miss the magical bird migration in Kenyan locations like Lake Nakuru in May.
We are not talking about one or two bird species, but hundreds of them, big and small, different colors, from different places.
Your visit to Kenya can get as busy as you intend in May because you can never run out of options when choosing what to do and where to go once you get here.
Below is a brief list of things to do and places to visit on your May visit to Kenya:
- Safari tours in national parks and reserves: Be part of exhilarating and therapeutic game safaris as you watch the big five and other wildlife species in parks and reserves like Maasai Mara, Tsavo, Amboseli, Nairobi National Park, Lake Nakuru, Samburu, etc.
- Museum visits: You can opt for indoor activities when the weather doesn’t favor outdoor programs, one of them being visiting museums the Nairobi Museum or Karen Blixen Museum.
- City Walks: You can decide to stroll in Nairobi city or other towns, amusement parks such as Uhuru Park or Arboretum, admire the architectural setting of major buildings, and mingle with citizens and street vendors.
- Camping, hiking, and mountain climbing: If the weather behaves, you can go hiking in places like Karura Forest or Hells Gate. Only go for mountain climbing or camping when there is no forecast of extreme weather conditions.
- Coastal beaches: An unforgettable coastal experience awaits you in Mombasa and other towns like Lamu. A stroll on the beaches, swimming, soaking in the sunshine, vising historical sites, mingling with the locals and learning their Swahili culture, boat riding, and diving are examples of activities you can do.
Tourists coming to Kenya look forward to joining local festivals and events to interact with the people and learn their way of life.
There are several festivals and national events that take place in different Months.
Kenyans celebrate Labor Day on 1st May, providing an opportunity to attend the annual national celebration at the selected Venue and interact with the attendees.
You can find out about other scheduled events from your tour company.
Alternatively, some high-end hotels like English Point Marina organize cultural events and live bands for their visitors, so you may consider staying in such a hotel for a riveting experience full of dance, acrobats, traditional food and drinks, etc.
Packing for a wet season is a task because you need to carry enough warm clothes, shawls and scarves, warm socks, shoes, an umbrella, and other items like insect repellants.
You shouldn’t rule out packing beach wear if you intend to visit the Kenyan coast because some days are sunny.
If mountain climbing and hiking are on your to-do list, you can arrange with your tour company to provide the right gear to avoid packing many items.
Pack some medications like painkillers and antihistamines, not ignoring a first aid kit.
For national park tours, pack a camera, a pair of binoculars, a heavy jacket, a hat, and clothes that cover your entire body to avoid tsetse flies and other insect bites.
If you are like most tourists who buy souvenirs like carvings, Maasai shawls, and jewelry to serve as reminders of their trip to Kenya, carry an extra bag or leave some space in your traveling bag for the purchased items. It is also critical to have cash in dollars to pay for services that do not accept credit cards.
As mentioned earlier, May attracts few visitors because of the unfriendly wet season.
For that reason, you can anticipate less crowded hotels, airports, hotels, camps and lodges, and game drives.
Some lodges opt to close down at such times of the year for renovations in preparation for peak seasons.
If you are looking for a quiet and affordable vacation, May is up for your consideration.
May is a good time to visit Kenya if you are looking to save vacation costs, watch birds’ migration, and enjoy a less-crowded experience.
May is also not ideal for visiting Kenya if you can’t stand wet weather.
The suitability of vacationing in May Kenya depends on what you are comfortable with.
Now that you know what the weather is like, you can make an informed traveling decision.