If you are wondering whether March is a good time to visit Kenya on a safari, this guide will answer all your questions! As part of the research on activities, budget, and the best places to visit on a Kenya safari in March, we got all the inside information from our expert team of travelers. I recently wrote about April safaris and I want to note how similar and different a safari in March can be.
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Is March a good month to visit Kenya?
Kenya’s annual rains in March usually present a challenge for visitors, as roads become impassable and wildlife disperses. However, this also yields unbeatable prices! Even if the rainy season does arrive on time, conditions in Kenya may still be favorable—wildlife might flock to water sources, and bird species can remain concentrated during dry spells. The best part: with low rates of tourists due to rain concerns, guests will benefit from an unparalleled experience surrounded by nature’s beauty.
So which period/days in March is best to visit?
Yes, March can be a great month to visit Kenya, especially in the first week of the month before the long rainy season begins. By mid-march, roads may become impassable and wildlife disperses. However, visitors will benefit from an unparalleled experience surrounded by nature’s beauty at a fraction of the cost due to the low rates of tourists during this time.
Weather in Kenya in March:
Using historical rainfall patterns in Kenya (with Nairobi as the example), I got a good understanding of the rain patterns during this month from the data put together by Weatherspark.
March in Nairobi is no exception to the increasing trend of rainfall, with averages climbing from 1.1 inches at the start of the month to 2.6 inches by its end. The numbers rarely surpass 5 or dip below 0.7, further showing this monthly pattern’s reliability and consistency.
What this means is that the rains will come in fits and starts, so tourists planning their safari should try to avoid visiting during the onset of rain. It’s also a good idea to be prepared for wetter than usual conditions with waterproof clothing and gear.
From the historical rain patterns from the Weatherspark website, it is clear that the best days in the month of March to visit Kenya are between March 1st and March 11th as the rain is still low at this time. See the chart below showing that rainfall does not exceed 1.5 inches during this period.
The reason why dry weather is great for a Kenya safari is that it makes it easier to spot animals and also ensures the roads are still passable.
By end of April, the rains will become heavy and could potentially put a damper on your safari experience. If you book your safari (all-inclusive) or campervan or self-drive vehicle, you won’t have to worry as they all have 4WD with which you can traverse through the wet terrain.
As per historical temperatures that I obtained from Weatherspark, the temperature in most of Kenya including Nairobi during the month of March is best described as warm and hot ranging from 75°Fto 85°F during the day – from 9 am to 9 pm. In parts of the Coast such as Malindi and Mombasa, the temperatures can best be described as sweltering reaching 95°F in the hours between noon and 3 pm.
If you plan on going for early game drives during your safari in Kenya in March, you can expect the early morning temperatures to be tolerable. Using Weatherspark’s terms, the temperature from 6 – 9 am and from 9 pm to midnight is best described as cool, coming down to as low as 55°F.
See the chart below from Weatherspark showing temperatures in Kenya from March 1st to March 31st.
Based on historical temperatures in Kenya, you are not likely to experience uncomfortably high sweltering temperatures above 95°F during your safari in March. However, temperatures above 85°F should be expected during the daytime and so you should pack light clothing and shades to beat the heat.
Don’t be tricked by the temperatures to go for light clothing. Once the sun goes down, you’ll want to wear a thick coat or jacket as temperatures dip sharply to 55°F. This article from Kimkim blog emphasizes how swiftly the weather in Kenya shifts from hot and dry to wet and rainy come March.
Where to visit:
With the weather in Kenya being favorable during March, it is the perfect time to go for a safari.
There are several national parks to explore with the most popular being:
Masai Mara National Reserve:
The Serengeti’s northern neighbor and star of BBC documentaries such as Big Cat Diary & Big Cat Live, Masai Mara offer one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth. During March, the Total rainfall that Maasai mara receives is around 31.5 mm, around 1.2 inches which we consider to be decent. As per this post by Governor’s Camp, early mornings can be as low as 15°C with midday temperatures being as high as 32°C.
Below is a picture on the Governors Camp blog showing the green vegetation during this month;
Amboseli National Park:
Located at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, Amboseli offers spectacular views of the snow-covered summit as well as large herds of elephants and other plains game.
According to this safaribookings blog, the wet season typically begins in the middle to end of March and continues throughout April, with afternoon showers expected during this time. On average, temperatures reach a balmy 28°C/82°F in the afternoons – perfect for enjoying outdoor activities!
Towards the end of the month, the rain can be so heavy reaching 92 mm or about 3.6 inches which can make the unpaved Amboseli tracks almost impassable for 2-wheel-drive vehicles.
Other places to go:
March is the perfect time to visit Kenya- in particular, Nairobi! The city has a comfortable combination of sunny days and occasional rain showers that won’t linger throughout your entire stay. Furthermore, you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to indoor activities like museums, restaurants, and nightlife for those unpredictable wet weather days.
I would also recommend going on a beach vacation in March as the weather is just perfect for it! Even if you’re not looking to swim, the coastal regions in Kenya offer beautiful views and a peaceful atmosphere.
Even though you may experience some rainy beach days, there will be plenty of sunshine in between. On those sunny days, temperatures are warm and inviting – ideal for sunbathing or taking a dip in the ocean. Plus, when you visit during this season, it’s less crowded so you can have entire stretches of sand to yourself without being surrounded by throngs of tourists.
Hell’s Gate National Park
If you prefer a walking or biking safari during this month, Hell’s Gate National Park outside Nairobi is a great option. Despite its name, Hell’s Gate is anything but hellish in March – with temperatures ranging from 63°F to 82°F, it’s the perfect environment for exploring the park’s wildlife and geological wonders.
The big advantage here is that Hell’s Gate doesn’t have predatory wildlife so it is much safer than other parks.
Lake Nakuru National Park:
If you want to explore wild camping, then Lake Nakuru National Park is a great choice. With temperatures averaging between 62°F and 84°F, it’s the perfect place to sleep under the stars and enjoy the peaceful sounds of nature.
I would also suggest taking a visit to the Samburu National Reserve in Northern Kenya. March is the perfect time to spot wildlife – as it’s nearing the end of the dry season, animals are drawn to watering holes around this area.
What to wear for a Kenya Safari in March:
Early March attire:
A good way to stay comfortable during this season is to layer your clothes. For early March, it’s best to wear light layers like a tank top or t-shirt with a lightweight jacket or shawl. If it gets too hot, take off the jacket and if it starts raining, cover it up with your raincoat or umbrella.
A bit later in the month:
As temperatures start to rise towards mid-March, it’s best to switch from light layers to breathable, lightweight fabrics such as linen or cotton. Throw on a light scarf for when the sun goes down and if you’re planning to go out at night, put on some light trousers or jeans with a long sleeve few other essential items:
- A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect you from the sun;
- Insect repellent to keep away pesky mosquitoes and other bugs;
- Comfortable walking shoes that are suitable for different terrain – think sandals with a good grip or hiking boots, depending on your safari activities.
- Finally, a great camera to capture all the amazing sights and sounds you’ll experience on your trip. Don’t forget to bring a few extra batteries too, just in case!
Activities to do:
Game watching/game drives:
At this time of the year, wildlife viewing is at its peak with huge herds of plains game and predators to be spotted. The morning hours offer the best opportunity to spot animals as they are out and about in search of food. By mid-day, most of them will take shelter from the hot sun, making them hard to find.
March is great for bird watching as most of the migratory birds are now in the country. During this time of the year, you can expect to see stunning species like the African Fish Eagle, Grey Crowned Crane, and Vervet Monkey. Lake Nakuru is one of the best places to go for bird watching as it houses over 450 species.
Night Game Drives:
Night game drives offer a unique experience to safari-goers, as you get to spot nocturnal animals like the leopard and serval cats. Most of the national parks in Kenya offer night game drives and you should definitely not miss this opportunity!
Hot air balloon:
If the roads in the parks become muddy and impassable, you can take a hot air balloon ride for some unforgettable aerial views of the savanna. Hot air balloons are available in Masai Mara, Amboseli and Samburu National Park on request.
Kenya is home to several ethnic communities with unique cultures and traditions. Visiting local villages and interacting directly with the locals can provide you with a great learning opportunity – not to mention, the best photo opportunities!
Kenya offers ideal diving conditions from October to March, as during the summer months of June through August, visibility is often compromised by turbulent silt flow. Nevertheless, some divers have taken up the challenge and discovered that visibility can reach 7-10 meters in July–albeit 4m being more common.
Where to dive or snorkel?
Escape to the beautiful Manda Toto Island, found off the northeast coast of Manda! It boasts some of the most captivating snorkeling opportunities in this area. According to the Lonely Planet guide, you’ll need to take a dhow boat to get here – an entire day’s excursion (round-trip) from Lamu typically costs KSh5500 for up to four people and is totally worth it! Here is Google Map’s exact location of this island.
Below are other suggestions from Lonely Planet guide on other places to dive or snorkel in the Coast;
- Malindi Marine National Park
- Kisite Marine National Park
- Diani Beach
- Wasini Island
- Watamu Marine National Park
How much will a safari in March cost me?
The cost of a safari in Kenya depends on the length and type of trip you are looking to take. A three-day safari, including accommodation and game drives, can range from around $500 USD per person to over $2000 USD per person, depending on the luxury level. Other attractions such as hot air balloon rides will add more to your overall cost.
The $500 rate for a 3-day package translates to just over $150 per day which is a significant discount from what you would pay during peak months from July to October. In fact, you can even get this rate lower if you opt for a full-camping safari trip where your accommodation is at cheap campsites.
March is considered a low-season month so you can get some great deals on safaris if you book ahead of time.
Is there an advantage to visiting Kenya in March? 2 key benefits:
The month of March is a low season for tourism in Kenya, making it the perfect time to visit if you’re looking for peace and quiet away from the crowds. Prices: You can also get some great deals on safaris during this time as prices are usually lower than normal.
Visiting in March will also help you save money, as most of the hotels and lodges are offering discounts. You can also expect to pay as low as $150 per day for a three-day safari, including accommodation and game drives.
Downsides to March Safari:
Weather not ideal for tent camping:
One downside of visiting Kenya in March is that the weather can be quite hot and humid. This might not be ideal for tent camping as it could make it uncomfortable to stay outdoors. You can, however, still, go camping on our campervans as you won’t have issues such as finding dry ground to pitch a tent.
If you still want to go tent camping in March, reach out to us and we can give you suggestions on campsites with raised platforms for tent pitching.
The rainy season starts in March and can continue till May in some areas. This means that the roads in national parks may become muddy and impassable which can be an issue if you’re planning a self-drive safari. However, this should not stop you shujaa!
Limited safari options:
Some conservancies close during low-tourism season, so there may be limited safari options available. However, if you book with us, we can help you plan a unique safari experience that includes game drives, cultural visits, and other activities tailored to your interests.
Q: What is the best time to go on a safari in Kenya?
A: The dry season (July-October) is considered the best time to go on a safari in Kenya as there is less rain and better visibility for game drives. However, March can also be a great time to visit if you’re looking for peace and quiet and good deals on safaris.
Q: Is it safe to go on a safari in March?
A: Yes, it is safe to go on a safari in March as long as you follow the safety guidelines provided by your travel operator. Ensure that you are aware of the local security situation before you plan a safari. Read this guide on the safety of Kenya as a tourist destination.
Q: What are the best things to do in Kenya during March?
A: There are plenty of activities to enjoy on a safari in March, including game drives, sightseeing, cultural visits and more. Additionally, you can also go hot air ballooning, take bush walks and explore local villages.
Q: What should I pack for a safari in March?
A: It is important to take the right gear and packing essentials when you go on a safari, as the weather and terrain can be unpredictable. Be sure to bring light and airy clothing, insect repellent, sunscreen, a sunhat, binoculars and a camera. Additionally, you should also pack medication for travel sickness, diarrhea and headaches.
We hope this blog has given you all the information you need to plan your dream safari in Kenya during March. If you have any further questions or would like assistance with planning your trip, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to helping you plan an unforgettable experience in Kenya!