Kenya in January: Weather, Tips and More

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In January, Kenya offers excellent conditions for wildlife safaris, mountain climbing or hiking, and beach activities. Hot and dry weather drives the wildlife of Maasai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park near the watering holes, making them easier to spot. Lack of rainfall also means you can climb Mount Kenya and other peaks or embark on hikes in Mount Longonot and Ngong Hills. And if you crave some coastal fun, you will find stunning beaches in and around Mombasa. 

Plan a Kenya trip in January to expect a well-rounded vacation with no shortage of fun and adventure.

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Rhino spotted in the thin vegetation of Kenya in January.
Experience Kenya's majestic Big Five amidst January's dry seaon, when sparse vegetation brought about my the weather makes spotting them much easier.

January falls in the short dry season of Kenya, where the country basks in hot and dry weather. Daytime temperature throughout the country typically hovers around 26°C (79°F), which can drop to 13°C (56°F) at night. The capital, Nairobi, sees the temperature range between 12°C (54°F) and 27°C (81°F). Along the coastal areas near Mombasa, the mercury can soar even higher, averaging 32°C (90°F). Although Kenya sees high temperatures with little to no rainfall throughout January, it is one of the peak months to visit for viewing wildlife, climbing peaks, and enjoying beaches. So expect the popular tourist sites to be a bit crowded.

For a more detailed month-by-month overview of the country, read our best time to visit Kenya article.

Weather in Kenya in January - Rainfall and Temperatures

Dec Jan Feb
Avg Daily (°C) 24 26 28
Avg Nightly (°C) 13 13 13
Avg Daily (°F) 76 79 83
Avg Nightly (°F) 56 56 56
Avg Rainfall (mm) 80 40 60


Animals of Tanzania gather near a water source in the dry month of January.
Witness Tanzania's wildlife congregating at a serene water stream in the dry month of January while on your game drive.
Boat sailing in the calm waters of March in Lamu Island, Kenya, during suns
Experience the serene beauty of Lamu Island, Kenya, as you embark on a captivating sunset boat sail across the tranquil waters brought by the dry weather.

 Kenya in January is flocked with tourists from all over the world. While the influx of tourists is significant, the diverse range of activities and experiences offer more than makes up for the hassle of this high-season crowd. Below are some of the main reasons as to why you should take a trip to Kenya in January.

  • Primetime for game-viewing: January offers unparalleled game-viewing opportunities, particularly in the famed Maasai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park. As the dry conditions force wildlife to gather around available water sources, this is a great time to spot the Big Five and elusive animals like the East African Oryx.
  • Hiking and climbing season: Clear skies and little to no rainfall make January one of the best and safest times to embark on a hiking or climbing expedition in Kenya. With no slippery slopes and a 360-degree clear view of the surrounding terrain, you can embark on a hike on the popular trails of Mount Longonot and Ngong Hills. You can also climb Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest and Kenya’s highest peak.
  • Beach holiday: For those yearning for coastal bliss, January is the perfect time to enjoy a beach holiday along Kenya's scenic coastline. While daytime temperatures can soar, the beautiful beaches of Mombasa and Diani offer idyllic sun-soaked retreats, clear waters for indulging in water sports, and the chance to unwind by the Indian Ocean.


Scenic trail of Hell's Kitchen during January.
Explore the stunning, rain-free January trails of Hell's Kitchen for an unforgettable hiking adventure like no other.

January in Kenya unfolds as a captivating tapestry of experiences that beckon travelers from all corners of the globe. Head to Amboseli National Park to spot the big five and also spot herds of elephants under the clear backdrop of Mount Kenya. January is also perfect for a hike to Hell’s Gate Nationa Park, where you can also enjoy rock climbing and soak in the Olkaria Geothermal Spa while marveling at the surrounding landscapes. If you are a mountaineer, January is the best month to climb the technical peaks of Mount Kenya.

For those pursuing sun-soaked shores, head to Diani Beach, where you can snorkel and dive in the clear waters. Adventure lovers can also go to the Tana River, Kenya's largest, where white-water rafting reaches its zenith from late October to mid-January. If you are lucky, you can catch the annual Nairobi Restaurant Week, which typically falls in January or February, and indulge in local as well as international delicacies paired with complementary or special price liqueurs.

Need help planning a January trip to Kenya?

A trip to Kenya in January promises an adventure-packed holiday experience. From wildlife safari to hiking to diving and snorkeling, the country offers a wide range of activities that you can enjoy. But remember that January is part of the high tourist season in Kenya, so popular sites and activities could be a bit crowded and expensive. Let us design your dream itinerary. Just complete our Kenya customized trips form with your preferences, and we will do the rest.

Related articles:
Kenya in December
Kenya in February
Summer in Kenya

Published by Supriya Rayamajhi, updated on September 12, 2023

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