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East Africa Weather

East Africa: The weather is practically perfect – great safari weather. Sunny and balmy throughout the year, average temperatures range between low to mid-70s year-round with slightly warmer temperatures in summer (November through March) and slightly cooler temperatures in winter (May through August). Despite the fact that East Africa lies on the equator, the region’s high elevation (averaging 5,000 feet above sea level), keeps the air mild and pleasant. Temperature variance is determined more by region than by season: upcountry areas such as Mount Kenya and the Aberdares at 7,000 feet can be cool, while the drier bush country is warmer and the sea level regions of Mombasa and Zanzibar quite tropical.

Travellers often ask about the romantic “rains” of East Africa. The “short rains” traditionally arrive in November while the “long rains” arrive around April. Even during the rains, however, the sun usually shines for a part of the day—in fact, many experienced Africa hands enjoy safariing during this time as the bush is lush, green and quiet. It’s worth noting that worldwide changes in weather patterns due to global warming have also affected East Africa. We’ve noticed that the arrival of the rains is not as predictable as in past years, which has also affected wildlife and migration patterns.

East Africa enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperate inland and very dry in the north and northeast parts in Kenya.

The average annual temperature for the coastal town of Mombasa (altitude 17 metres) is 30.30 Celsius maximum and 22.40 Celsius minimum, the capital city, Nairobi (altitude 1,661 metres) 25.20 Celsius maximum and 13.60 Celsius minimum, Eldoret (altitude 3,085) 23.60 Celsius maximum and 9.50 Celsius minimum, Lodwar (altitude) 506 metres) and the drier north plainlands 34.80 Celsius maximum and 23.70 Celsius minimum.

There is plenty of sunshine all the year round and summer clothes are worn throughout the year. However, it is usually cool at night and early in the morning.

The long rains occur from April to June and short rains from October to December. The rainfall is sometimes heavy and when it does come it often falls in the afternoons and evenings. The hottest period is from February to March and coldest in July to August.

The annual migration of wildlife between Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya takes place between June and September. The migration of almost two million wildebeest, zebras and other species is nature’s greatest spectacle on earth. The animal trek has been captured by filmmakers worldwide.