Kenya safaris are available year-round, but the best time for game-viewing is during the dry winter season of May through August and the warmer spring months of September and October. The temperatures are comfortable, animals are concentrated at water sources, and the vegetation is thinner, allowing unhindered views.
Many travelers like to time their trip during the Great Migration, the once-a-year movement of nearly 2 million wildebeest and zebras through Kenya and neighboring Tanzania. The animals’ journey is forced by seasonal rains and drought. Schedule your visit right, and you’ll come across some fantastic opportunities for wildlife-viewing. While the precise timing of the migration can’t be predicted, there is a general pattern, which we’ve outlined below.
Wildebeests and zebras usually spend December to April in Tanzania, raising newborn calves. The young calves attract hyenas, lions and cheetahs, and the resulting combination of prey and their predators provides excellent viewing opportunities in preserves like Serengeti National Park.
The animals stay here until the rains end, typically in May. Then they start north looking for better grazing. This is the beginning of the Great Migration, a rhythmic procession of animals that can stretch for miles, moving toward the western and northern Serengeti. June and July are the best months for viewing the migration here.
By August or September, the animals have moved into southwest Kenya to graze amid the rich grasses of the Masai Mara National Reserve. Some experts claim that the Masai Mara contains the biggest concentration of predators along the migratory path. The animals stay here until October or November. Most safaris visit the area before fall brings another rainy season to the savannahs and the herds turn south, back to Tanzania.
For more information on the Great Migration, and to see safaris that visit each region during the most favorable game-viewing times, click here.
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