Weather in Kenya in May

In Kenya, May initiates a shift away from the prolonged rainy spell towards a climate characterized by cooler temperatures and reduced precipitation. Although May falls during Kenya's low tourism season, it offers unique opportunities for you if you are seeking cultural immersion, quieter tourist spots and more affordable prices. So, whether you're drawn to lush green landscapes, wildlife encounters, or vibrant cultural festivals, here is our guide to the weather in Kenya in May. 

Kenya in May at a glance

  • The average temperature in Kenya in May varies by region. In Nairobi, temperatures typically range from 13°C to 25°C (55°F to 77°F), while coastal areas are warmer, averaging 22°C to 31°C (72°F to 88°F).
  • May is part of the long rainy season.
  • Due to heavy rains, there is little tourist activity in May.
  • The rains contribute to the lush nature, perfect for seeing newborn wildlife and blooming flora.

What is the weather like in Kenya in May?

For Kenya in May, the weather typically marks the transition from the long rainy season to the cooler, drier months. While the early part of the month may still experience occasional rain showers and cloudy skies, towards the end of May, the weather tends to become increasingly dry and sunny. 

May falls within the low season for tourism in Kenya. This is primarily due to the lingering effects of the rainy season, which can make some areas difficult to access due to muddy roads and limited visibility for wildlife viewing. 

Additionally, visitor numbers tend to be lower during this time, resulting in more affordable accommodation rates and fewer crowds at popular tourist destinations.

On average, Kenya receives around 100mm of rainfall in May, although this can vary depending on the region. While this amount of rainfall is less compared to the peak rainy months, it can still impact travel plans, particularly outdoor activities such as safaris and hiking. Additionally, transportation may be affected by muddy roads and occasional flight delays.

Overall, May is not the best time to visit Kenya if you are seeking optimal wildlife viewing experiences and outdoor adventures, due to the lingering effects of the rainy season and the potential for travel disruptions. However, if you are looking to explore Kenya's cultural attractions, enjoy quieter tourist sites, and take advantage of lower prices, May can still offer a rewarding travel experience.

Are you Kenya-bound? Our tailor-made trip service ensures that every detail of your trip is perfect  — without the hassle of planning and booking.


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Experience a different perspective with a hot air balloon safari over the Masai Mara. The lush scenery from above is breathtaking and offers a serene way to observe wildlife.

National Park for Rothschild Giraffes Giraffe Manor in Kenya © Shutterstock

National Park for Rothschild Giraffes Giraffe Manor in Kenya © Shutterstock

Is Kenya warm in May?

The weather in Kenya in May tends to be warm to mild. Rainfall starts to decrease towards the end of the month, transitioning to a drier period. However, sporadic showers may still occur. For the most accurate and up-to-date weather information, you can refer to AccuWeather's Kenya page.

Northern Kenya

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

It's essential to note that some areas in Northern Kenya, particularly those at higher elevations, may experience slightly cooler temperatures.

Central Kenya

Central Kenya experiences mild to warm temperatures in May. 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). 

It's advisable to bring layers as temperatures can vary throughout the day. This is great for outdoor activities like visiting the national parks.

Coastal Kenya

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

Coastal areas may also experience higher humidity levels compared to inland regions, contributing to the overall warm and humid conditions throughout the day and night. Cultural experiences such as visiting museums and exploring local markets are enjoyable in this mild weather.

Planning to get away this May? See our guide to the best places to go in May.

Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya, Africa

Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya, Africa © Shutterstock

Is May a good time to visit Kenya?

May is a transitional month in Kenya, marking the end of the long rainy season and the beginning of cooler, drier weather in many parts of the country. While it may not be the peak tourist season, May still offers advantages.

One of the highlights of visiting Kenya in May is the opportunity to witness the lush, green landscapes that result from the recent rainfall. This is particularly true in areas such as the Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Park, where the vegetation is vibrant, and wildlife sightings are still plentiful.

May offers good weather for climbing Mount Kenya, the second-highest peak in Africa, with various routes catering to different skill levels. It is also a good time to visit the Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Giraffe Centre for a day of wildlife encounters and conservation education.

However, it's essential to be prepared for occasional showers, especially earlier in the month, and to pack accordingly with waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear. Overall, May can be a great time to visit Kenya for travelers looking to enjoy the beauty of nature, and cultural experiences without the peak season crowds.

Not sure when to plan your trip to Kenya? Consult our year-round Kenya weather guide.

White-tailed eagle on the lake Naivasha © kyslynskahal/Shutterstock

The weather in Kenya in May is great for viewing wildlife like the White-tailed eagle  © kyslynskahal/Shutterstock

What about crowds and costs?

While not as crowded as the high season, in May you'll find there is still a steady flow of visitors, particularly in popular destinations like the Maasai Mara and Amboseli National Park. However, you can generally expect fewer crowds and a more relaxed atmosphere during this time.

Accommodation prices in May are typically more affordable compared to the peak season months, offering a chance to experience Kenya's wildlife and landscapes without breaking the bank. Safari lodges and camps may offer discounted rates and special deals to attract visitors during this shoulder season.

The benefit of visiting Kenya in May lies in the opportunity to witness the lush green landscapes following the long rains, providing stunning scenery for safaris and outdoor adventures. You’ll want to be prepared for wet weather and plan your activities accordingly. 

Skip the hassle of planning a book your trip today. Let our Kenya travel experts plan the perfect customized trip for you.

Bomas of Kenya © Shutterstock

Bomas of Kenya © Shutterstock

Festivals and events in Kenya in May

If you’re planning your trip to Kenya this spring, you won’t want to miss these events. However, be warned that these events can be quite popular, and you’ll want to book as far in advance as possible. For more inspiration for your trip, see our guide to the best things to do in Kenya.

Rhino Charge

Held annually in May, the Rhino Charge is an exhilarating off-road motorsport event that takes place in Kenya's wilderness. Participants navigate challenging terrain in custom-built vehicles, racing against the clock to reach designated checkpoints. 

You can witness thrilling displays of skill and determination amidst Kenya's breathtaking landscapes. Due to limited access and high demand for viewing spots, booking camping accommodations near the event site is advisable.

Lake Turkana Festival

Celebrating the cultural heritage of the region's indigenous communities, the Lake Turkana Festival is a colorful extravaganza held in May. You can experience traditional dances, music performances, and displays of tribal artistry, all set against the stunning backdrop of Lake Turkana.

Additionally, the festival offers opportunities to explore the unique landscapes surrounding the lake, including volcanic formations and ancient archaeological sites. 

Madaraka Day

Madaraka Day, celebrated on June 1st, commemorates the day Kenya attained self-rule in 1963. This national holiday is marked by various events and festivities across the country, including parades, cultural performances, and fireworks displays. You can immerse yourself in Kenya's patriotic spirit and witness the country's rich cultural heritage on display.

Find even more options for your trip in our list of the best holiday destinations in May.

Galu - Kinondo beach, Kenya © Shutterstock

Galu - Kinondo beach, Kenya © Shutterstock

Ready for your dream trip to Kenya in May?

Eager for an adventure in Kenya? Choose our tailor-made trip service and say goodbye to the exhaustive research for your dream vacation. Trust us for the planning and booking. Our trips, meticulously designed by local travel experts, are fully adaptable to your preferences.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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