Kenya Weather in May 2024: Travel Tips for First-Timers

By Edward | Updated Jul. 21, 2023

May is in Kenya's monsoon season. The highlands have moderately rainy and mild weather, and the southeastern lowlands around Mombasa have very rainy and warm weather. We recommend touring in several places in the Nairobi region and along the southeast coast in May.

Read on for our travel advice and weather information including average temperatures, rainfall, and humidity, and travel tips…

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Weather in May: Overview

Averages:

  • Temperature range: 19–28°C (66–82°F)
  • Rainfall: 15 cm (6 inches)
  • Rainy days: 13
  • Sunshine hours/day: 6

In the southeastern coastal lowlands, it rains about 14 days each May and is the month with heaviest rainfall. In most of the highland plateau attractions, it rains about half of the days of the month. It is cloudier in Nairobi than usual with only about 6 hours of sunshine a day.

We recommend that you stay mainly in the developed area of Nairobi, savannas near the city, and the southeast coast where the infrastructure is better so you could enjoy urban attractions and have a base for outdoor excursions.

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Weather of Kenya's Major Cities in May

Kenya City Temperature Rainfall
Nairobi (Capital, largest city, travel hub) Mild Moderate
Maasai Mara (Game reserve) Mild Moderate
Mombasa (Beaches, second largest city) Hot High
Turkana (Beautiful desert lake, ethnic culture) Hot Low
Kisumu (Lake Victoria, wildlife, 3rd largest city) Hot Moderate
Amboseli (Nature Reserve, Kilimanjaro) Warm Low
Kenya City Daily High Temp. Daily Low Temp.
Nairobi (Capital, largest city, travel hub) 24ºC (75ºF) 12ºC (54ºF)
Maasai Mara (Game reserve) 25ºC (77ºF) 13ºC (55ºF)
Mombasa (Beaches, second largest city) 31ºC (88ºF) 22ºC (72ºF)
Turkana (Beautiful desert lake, ethnic culture) 33ºC (91ºF) 26ºC (79ºF)
Kisumu (Lake Victoria, wildlife, 3rd largest city) 28ºC (82ºF) 23ºC (73ºF)
Amboseli (Nature Reserve, Kilimanjaro) 26ºC (78ºF) 16ºC (61ºF)
Kenya City Rain (cm) Rain (in)
Nairobi (Capital, largest city, travel hub) 19 8
Maasai Mara (Game reserve) 16 6
Mombasa (Beaches, second largest city) 24 10
Turkana (Beautiful desert lake, ethnic culture) 8 3
Kisumu (Lake Victoria, wildlife, 3rd largest city) 17 7
Amboseli (Nature Reserve, Kilimanjaro) 7 3

Highland plateau: The various big attractions in the highlands such as Nairobi, Maasai Mara, and Kisumu have warm or cool weather and high rainfall. Amboseli and Nakuru are better avoided due to floods, mud, and washed-out roads. Beware of flash floods in mountain and valley areas. To escape the rain and enjoy hot weather with more sunshine, you could go down to the southeast coast.

Southeast coastal lowlands: The weather in the coastal lowlands such as Mombasa and Malindi is hot with heavy rains in May. On most mornings in May, thankfully, you can enjoy the outdoors and beaches unhampered by rainfall.

Best Places to Visit in Kenya in May

Top things to do in May: enjoying the developed urban areas and going to the southeastern lowlands for hiking, beaches, and surfing.

1. Nairobi — Vibrant Downtown, Natural Parks, and Airport Gateway

Nairobi is Kenya's big capital city, and most tourists arrive through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. During May, its temperatures are comfortable with an average high of 24°C (75°F), and nights are cool, dropping to 12°C (54°F). When it rains, you could visit attractions in the city and go out for excursions in the countryside as weather permits.

Urban highlights: Giraffe Centre and Elephant Sanctuary are places to see the animals. Oloolua Nature Trail next to the Giraffe Centre is a beautiful trail through dense forests and past streams, waterfalls and caves. It is a place to have a picnic. The Nairobi National Museum is extensive.

Nairobi National Park is adjacent to the city.

2. Naivasha — Vast Lake, Boating, and Closeness to Great Nature

Naivasha is a big beautiful lake that is less than 3 hours from Nairobi by private vehicle on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway, so you could visit on a day trip from Nairobi.

Deep in the Great Rift Valley, it has a vast and stunning lake with exotic scenery. You will feel like you are a world away from the capital. You can see hippos and maybe flamingos and boat and fish. Tour boat operators offer boat trips, and guesthouses and lodges provide seasonal discounted lodging.

3. Hell's Gate National Park — Wild Highland Camping and Hiking

Hell's Gate is 50 minutes from Naivasha and an hour and a half (90 kilometers (56 miles)) from Nairobi. An easy day trip from either location, it is recommended for hiking with a good driver and tour guide to avoid weather problems.

It is a medium-altitude camping and hiking area at 1,900 meters (6,200 feet). Be aware that flash floods occur in May. Park officials permit hiking and tent camping. The entrance fee is about 27 USD.

4. Mount Kenya National Park — Sightseeing, Mountain Greenery, and Wildlife

In May, another place near the capital for a day trip is Mount Kenya National Park. The rainy season makes the park about the most green and lush in May, and animals migrate to the park since water and food is available. So, for seeing wildlife, May is about the best month of the year.

Most of the park is at high elevation, over 3,000 meters (9,800 feet), so some people might need to acclimate at a medium elevation for a night or two before being able to enjoy the area for even a few hours. People with respiratory issues probably should not visit.

We recommend 3 days or more for tour. Since prices are lower in the rainy season, you could enjoy stays at lower rates at luxurious inns and guesthouses with amazingly beautiful views.

The weather in May is generally mild, averaging 25°C (78°F) highs and 14°C (57°F) lows. Ticket prices per person per day are 70 USD for a non-resident adult and 40 USD per child. It is recommended you hike with a guide on the trails.

5. Mombasa — Dining, Beaches, Hiking, and Water Sports

During the May low tourist season, Mombasa road conditions are iffy due to occasional floods, but our travel expert would help you by planning transportation accordingly. Many good luxury hotels and guesthouses have low occupancy and offer discounted rates. May is the rainiest month there, and Mombasa gets about 24 centimeters (10 inches) of rain.

When it is raining, there are a variety of international styles of cuisine, and you might see an old fortress museum called Fort Jesus and Old Town.

When it is not raining, you could visit the natural inland and marine parks. Bamburi Natural Trail is convenient. You can scuba dive at Mombasa Marine National Park and Wasini Island. Diani has stretches of white sand beach.

6. Malindi — Best Surfing Season at the Top Surfing Location

Kenya is renowned for having about the most pristine shoreline along the Indian Ocean with many beaches and surfing areas. Malindi has the best surfing in Kenya in May for intermediate and advanced surfers since waves range from 1 to 2.5 meters (3 to 8 feet). Calmer mornings have the best waves for beginners to surf and bodyboard.

The water is quite warm and great for swimming. It ranges from 26°C (78°F) to of 30°C (86°F).

Low Tourist Season: Bargains and Touring Advice for May

The monsoon season including May is low tourist season. It is the cheapest time to safari in Kenya. There is more greenery and less wildlife visibility in most of the savannas and parks, but as we explained above, it is a good time to see wildlife at Mount Kenya. It is one of the times in the year when you could be alone on safari.

However, in the rainy season, be aware that it is better to avoid places where flash flooding might occur such as Amboseli, Nakuru, and Turkana, and beware of travel in the north during the rainy season.

Public holidays in May: May 1 is Labor Day with more local tourism and banks and government offices closed.

What to Wear in May

Mosquitoes abound in May. Since 2020, there have been malaria epidemics in Kenya. Rubbing or spraying natural oils of lemongrass or citronella on your clothes can help you ward them away. In general, to avoid sunburn and mosquito bites, wear a hat, long-sleeved shirts, and light trousers or long dresses. Bring mosquito repellent and a mosquito net.

To avoid alarming the animals in national parks, wear neutral-colored clothes. Bring rain gear or umbrellas. For the higher mountains, bring winter clothing on treks. It can snow on the peaks.

Monthly Weather in Kenya

Recommended Tours for Kenya in May

Having the aid of travel experts who know the local conditions will benefit comfort, enjoyment, safety, and speed of travel. A private driver and a local guide would help you tour Kenya and the surrounding region.

At Global Highlights, we recognize that you may want some private time with your traveling companion(s), e.g., for a safari together or hike in a national park. So, we are flexible to do as much itinerary tailoring and expert arranging as you want to make the best trip for you. Contact us to begin a tour inquiry.

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