Weather in Kenya in December

December in Kenya brings the onset of the short rains, bringing with it a refreshing change to the landscape after the dry season. The weather remains comfortably warm, ideal for outdoor activities and exploration. Hotspots like the Maasai Mara and Tsavo National Park see a surge in visitors seeking to witness the Great Migration or catch glimpses of the iconic Big Five amidst the green surroundings. Embracing the festive spirit, December in Kenya is a time of celebration and appreciation of the country's breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife. Here is our guide to the weather in Kenya in December. 

Kenya in December at a glance

  • The average temperature in Kenya in December is warm, ranging from 14°C to 25°C (57°F to 77°F) in Nairobi. In coastal areas, temperatures average between 25°C and 32°C (77°F to 90°F).
  • On average, Kenya receives minimal rainfall in December.
  • December marks the peak of tourist activity due to the holiday season.
  • Landscapes are usually dry, but remain lush in areas that have received rain in previous months.

What is the weather like in Kenya in December?

The weather in Kenya in December is warm and mostly dry, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and wildlife safaris. While occasional afternoon showers may occur, mornings and evenings remain clear. 

The month is characterized by plenty of sunshine and clear skies. These favorable weather trends create excellent opportunities for exploring Kenya's diverse landscapes.

December falls within the high season for tourism in Kenya. This is primarily due to the favorable weather conditions and the festive season, as many find Kenya to be a great way to spend the holidays in a tropical destination. Visitor numbers are typically high during this time, and accommodations and safari tours may be booked up quickly — so definitely book in advance. 

On average, Kenya receives minimal rainfall in December, with around 30mm throughout the month. This is pretty low precipitation which means mostly dry and sunny weather conditions.

Overall, December can be a great time to visit Kenya because it offers optimal weather conditions for outdoor activities and wildlife viewing, along with the festive atmosphere of the holiday season. That said, you’ll want to be prepared for higher prices and larger crowds due to the peak tourist season.

Heading to Kenya soon? Make the most of your trip by allowing us to take care of the planning and booking.


Tips from Kellen

Kenya Travel Expert


The Indian Ocean becomes calm in December, so a moonlit dhow cruise off the coast of Mombasa or Lamu will give you a magical experience. Glide over gentle waves under a starry sky, often accompanied by live Swahili music, creating a serene and romantic evening.

African landscape with a lodge, Kenya © Shutterstock

African landscape with a lodge, Kenya © Shutterstock

Is Kenya warm in December?

Yes, the weather in Kenya in December tends to be warm to mild. The "short rains" season continues, with periodic heavy showers and thunderstorms. Humidity levels are high, especially along the coast.

Northern Kenya

December in Northern Kenya tends to be warm during the day, with temperatures typically ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). However, nights can be cooler, with temperatures dropping to around 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F). 

It's important to note that some areas in Northern Kenya, particularly those at higher altitudes, may experience slightly cooler temperatures. This is great for visiting natural hot springs.

Central Kenya

Central Kenya experiences mild to warm temperatures in December. Daytime temperatures generally range from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), while nighttime temperatures can drop to around 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F). Visitors should consider bringing layers as temperatures can vary throughout the day. This is great weather for 

Coastal Kenya

December remains warm in Coastal Kenya, with daytime temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). Nights are typically milder, with temperatures seldom dropping below 20°C (68°F). 

Additionally, coastal areas may experience higher humidity levels compared to inland regions, contributing to the overall warm and humid conditions throughout the day and night. This is a great time of year to unwind at the beach, as well as enjoy a variety of water sports. 

For the most accurate and up-to-date weather information, you can refer to AccuWeather's Kenya page: AccuWeather Kenya.

Sunset at Shimba Hills, Kenya © Shutterstock

Sunset at Shimba Hills, Kenya © Shutterstock

Is December a good time to visit Kenya?

The weather in Kenya in December is characterized by warm temperatures and low humidity, making it an ideal time to explore the country's landscapes and national parks. 

This is particularly true in popular safari destinations like the Maasai Mara, Amboseli National Park, and Tsavo National Park, where animals gather around water sources.

One of the highlights of visiting Kenya in December is the chance to witness the Great Migration in the Maasai Mara. It is also a great time of year to  explore the Shimba Hills National Reserve, located near the coastal town of Diani. This park offers opportunities to spot elephants, leopards, and rare sable antelopes amidst lush forests and rolling hills.

The mild weather is also great for taking a stroll or picnic in the Nairobi Arboretum, a green oasis in the heart of the city, featuring a diverse collection of indigenous and exotic tree species.

Traveling in December requires packing lightweight and breathable clothing for warm days, as well as sunscreen and hats for protection against the sun. Overall, December offers fantastic weather conditions and abundant wildlife sightings, making it a great time to plan your visit to Kenya.

Not sure when to take your trip to Kenya? See our year-round Kenya weather guide.

Zebra in Tsavo National Park - Kenya © ANTONIO JIMENO JIMENEZ/Shutterstock

The weather in Kenya in December is great for seeing wildlife  © Shutterstock

What about crowds and costs?

December in Kenya marks the beginning of the high tourist season, with an influx of visitors flocking to popular destinations such as the Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Park. 

Tourist traffic is at its peak during this month, as many seek to experience Kenya's incredible wildlife and landscapes. As a result of the high demand, accommodation and tour prices tend to be at their highest in December, making it one of the most expensive times to visit.

The benefit of visiting Kenya in December lies in the opportunity to witness the Great Migration in the Maasai Mara, as well as the chance to enjoy the dry and sunny weather conditions. December offers excellent game viewing opportunities, with clear skies providing optimal conditions for wildlife photography and outdoor activities.

However, the downside of visiting in December is the crowded tourist attractions and the higher cost associated with accommodation and tours. You should expect long queues, crowded safari vehicles, and limited availability for accommodations during this peak season month. 

For those seeking a quieter and more budget-friendly experience, you'll want to consider visiting during the shoulder seasons like January or September, which offer similar weather conditions with fewer tourists and potentially more affordable prices.

Researching for your Kenya trip? Our local travel experts can help create the trip of your dreams.

Buffalo and flamingos at the Nakuru National Park, Kenya © GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock

Buffalo and flamingos at the Nakuru National Park, Kenya © GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock

Festivals and events in Kenya in December

Festivals and events in Kenya in December capture the essence of the country's rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, making it an ideal time to visit. Because of the popularity of these festivals, it's best to book accommodation and transportation well in advance. For more inspiration, see our guide to the best things to do in Kenya.

Koroga Festival

The Koroga Festival is a popular music and food event held in Nairobi. It features live performances by top Kenyan and international artists, alongside a diverse selection of food vendors offering delicious cuisines from different cultures.

Mombasa Carnival

Held in Mombasa, the Mombasa Carnival is a colorful extravaganza celebrating the diverse cultures that call Kenya's coastal region home. Visitors can enjoy vibrant parades featuring traditional dances, music, and elaborate costumes. 

The carnival showcases the Swahili culture's dynamism and hospitality, inviting you to immerse yourself in its lively atmosphere. Don't miss the chance to sample delicious coastal cuisine and explore Mombasa's historic landmarks.

Lamu Yoga Festival

For those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, the Lamu Yoga Festival offers a serene escape on the idyllic island of Lamu. You can participate in a variety of yoga classes led by experienced instructors, set against the backdrop of Lamu's tranquil beaches and ancient architecture. 

The festival also features meditation sessions, wellness workshops, and cultural performances, providing a holistic experience for mind, body, and soul. 

Landscape in Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya ©  Belikova Oksana/Shutterstock

Landscape in Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya ©  Belikova Oksana/Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Kenya in December?

Are you prepared to explore Kenya? Utilize our tailor-made trip service to bypass the exhaustive research needed for your perfect vacation. Count on us for the planning and booking. Our itineraries, meticulously crafted by local travel experts, can be entirely tailored to your preferences.

  • Family Safari in Kenya (7 days): Take your family on the adventure of a lifetime: 7 days in Kenya with close animal encounters, Big 5 game drives, and fun day activities.
  • Bush to Beach Safari (11 days): Explore Kenya's vast national parks like Lake Nakuru, Maasai Mara, and Tsavo, with its unique 'red' elephants. Then, relax on Diani's sandy beaches near Mombasa.
  • Best of Kenya and Tanzania (10 days): Journey through Maasai Mara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Conservation Areas in Kenya and Tanzania. Experience Maasai culture and witness abundant wildlife on game drives.
  • Browse even more of our Kenya itineraries.

Planning a family holiday to Kenya? Check out our helpful tips on travelling with kids to make your trip more enjoyable and carefree.

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 03.06.2024

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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