May Safari in Kenya Guide
While May is not the most ideal month to visit Kenya on a traditional tent camping safari, it is still a great month to visit Kenya on a safari. The month of May 2023 was more rainy than usual although May is usually part of the Kenyan long-rain season.
So, what’s the Kenyan weather like in May?
In Kenya, May is a very rainy month, similar to April. Most days experience rainfall in the afternoon, while the mornings are usually sunny and dry. Despite being warm, temperatures are cooler than those in April by about 10°F. It is also quite humid, with the average humidity levels reaching between 75% and 95%.
The best time to visit Kenya on a safari depends on what type of wildlife you would like to see. The peak animal-viewing season occurs from July through October, so if you are looking for the most active game-viewing experience, this is your ideal time to go.
During May, the temperature in the capital city ranges from 70 to 78°F. It tends to be hotter earlier in the month and cooler towards the end. Coastal areas like Mombasa and Malindi experience even higher daytime temperatures of around 84 to 91°F.
In May, Kenya’s temperature averages around 23°C (73°F), with highs of 25°C (77°F) and lows of 20°C (68°F). Due to heavy rainfall, some dirt roads may be unreachable and some parks and reserves may be closed or hard to get to. Nevertheless, the landscape is likely to be green and scenic, and there will still be chances to see wildlife.
When we recently went on a safari in the Mara Triangle in late May, it did rain although I didn’t expect that much rain that late in the month. While you can expect the rainfall levels to be less as the month progresses, climate change has made weather patterns very unpredictable.
When planning your safari, always take time to research the area you are visiting and pick a tour operator who actively monitors weather forecasts in order to adjust the game drive plans accordingly. It’s also a good idea to bring lightweight waterproof clothing with you, just in case.
If you’re planning on camping during May, the mornings tend to provide better wildlife viewing opportunities since animals are more active early in the morning before it gets too hot. Additionally, campsites should be picked carefully as there may be potential flooding issues in some of them.
Is May a good month to visit Kenya?
While it may not be the most ideal month for a traditional safari, you can still expect to get a glimpse of some amazing wildlife and stunning landscapes. With careful planning and consideration of the weather, there’s no reason why May can’t be an enjoyable safari experience. So, go ahead and plan your dream African adventure! Happy Safari-ing!
If you are planning a tent camping safari, the rains may make pitching a tent unbearable but there are plenty of other options available such as lodge accommodations. Kambu’s tented camps in the Mara and in Nairobi allow you to utilize our cottages or glamping accommodations in case the ground is too wet for your traditional tent.
Why May? Fewer crowds and better hotel deals:
The month of May is a great time to visit Kenya in terms of crowds. Since it’s not high season, you can expect fewer tourists and less competition when trying to book accommodations or find space on safari tours. This also means better hotel deals, as many lodges and camps are willing to discount rates during this period. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly safari experience, May is the time to go!
Kenya’s low tourist season is in the month of April and May and again in November. May is the last month right before the peak tourist season and you’ll be lucky to get up to 30% discounts in hotel accommodations in major tourist destinations such as Masai Mara.
Lastly, if you’re looking for something different than your typical safari experience, why not try one of Kenya’s amazing cultural attractions? There are plenty of unique festivals throughout the country in May that are worth exploring. From traditional dances and music performances to local craft markets and food festivals, May is the perfect time to experience the country’s vibrant culture.
So if you’re looking for an unforgettable safari experience in Kenya, then consider visiting during the month of May! You’ll be able to take advantage of low prices, less crowds, and great wildlife sightings – all while exploring one of Africa’s most beautiful countries.
What animals to see this month?
While the wet season of May gives animals more watering holes, it also makes spotting animals more challenging. However, with some luck and patience, you can still expect to see plenty of wildlife during this month. In Reserves such as Masai Mara, you’ll still get great views of the big five (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino) as well as cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, and wildebeests.
While you’ll miss the Great Migration in May, the abundance of grass from the rain makes the Mara a great place for wildlife spotting. This month is also not particularly considered the birding month but you may also be lucky to see some endangered animals such as Black Rhinos or Grevy’s Zebras.
In other areas, such as coastal parks like Tsavo, you may be able to spot elephants, giraffes, buffaloes and different species of antelopes. You could also head out on an exciting game drive in Amboseli National Park for great views of Mount Kilimanjaro and get up close with some of its wildlife inhabitants such as the big cats like lions or leopards.
And of course, no Kenyan safari is complete without a visit to the flamingos at Lake Nakuru National Park and seeing thousands of these beautiful pink birds. So no matter where you go in Kenya during May, there’s plenty of wildlife to be seen!
May Safari Tips
1. May is an ideal time to visit Kenya due to mild temperatures and less crowds.
2. Plan carefully for potential rainfall and bring waterproof clothing with you if needed.
3. Take advantage of discounts on hotel accommodations during low season.
4. Have the chance to explore unique local cultures and festivals throughout the country.
5. Spot a variety of wildlife, from big cats to elephants to flamingos.
Packing for May Safari in Kenya
No matter the season or where you’re going in Kenya, certain items will always be essential to pack for a safari. Start with the basics like sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses and hat. Pack enough clothes for the duration of your trip as well as some lightweight waterproof clothing just in case it rains. Don’t forget your camera equipment and binoculars to get the best views of wildlife.
• Lightweight waterproof clothing
• Sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses and hat
• Camera equipment
• First aid kit
• Motion sickness medication
• Spare batteries or solar chargers for electronic devices
• Cash in the local currency
Other things you should consider bringing include a first aid kit, motion sickness medication if needed, and spare batteries or solar chargers for your electronic devices. Finally, don’t forget to bring plenty of cash in the local currency as some places may not accept credit cards.
Which places to visit in Kenya in May
Kenya offers a range of exciting destinations for a safari.
The most popular destination is the Masai Mara National Reserve, home to the Great Migration and plenty of wildlife such as lions, elephants, buffalo and cheetahs.
Amboseli National Park offers great views of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest peak – while Tsavo has its own unique ecosystem of acacias and baobab trees.
For something completely different, visit Lake Nakuru National Park to see thousands of pink flamingos in their natural habitat.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed adventure, take some time out to explore the beautiful beaches and traditional culture on Lamu Island.
Making your safari trip happen in May
Booking a safari in Kenya is relatively easy, and there are plenty of tour operators and packages to choose from. Do some research beforehand to find the right one for you, and ensure they have good reviews and experienced guides. Make sure they provide all-inclusive services such as accommodation, food, transportation and park entrance fees.
Once you’ve booked your tour, plan ahead to make sure you have all the necessary documents such as a valid passport and visa (if required). Don’t forget to research the local customs, safety precautions, vaccination requirements and other important information for the region.
Finally, if possible visit Kenya’s major cities like Nairobi or Mombasa before or after your safari. This will give you the chance to explore a different side of the country and add some variety to your trip.
So get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Kenya – May is just around the corner!
Check out the following related monthly guides on visiting Kenya;
- Visiting Kenya in January
- Visiting Kenya in February
- Visiting Kenya in March
- Visiting Kenya in April
- Visiting Kenya in December.
Wondering when it’s the best time to visit Kenya on a safari? We’ve answered that here.