Winter in Nairobi

Winter skies in the city of Nairobi, Kenya

The dark clouds in the picture look like rain clouds, right? These are not rain clouds, they are cold weather clouds, marking the arrival of winter in Nairobi.

Nairobi experiences its equivalent of winter each year between June and August as cold winds bring the chill from the South Pole. During this time, the sun has moved northwards, bringing summer to the northern hemisphere of our planet, which includes Europe, North America and the Far East. The cold winds from the south, apparently, are trying to chase the sun but since we happen to be along the way, then we must suffer the chills!

The Nairobi winter is not as wet as northern hemisphere winters. Sometimes, if its cold enough, we get light showers.

But then, doesn’t Nairobi lie just 100km south of the Equator? Shouldn’t we be sweltering in tropical heat? Well, that would be the case if Kenya were a low lying country like the Congo, or the Amazon.

Kenya does not experience equatorial climate due to its highlands. The city of Nairobi lies over 5,000 feet (1,650 metres) above sea level. The Rift Valley and the Central Kenya highlands often are much higher than this. Consequently, Kenya experiences a much cooler climate than would be expected of the equator. That’s one of the biggest factors that attracted British settlers here in the first half of the 20th century.

The Nairobi winter usually peaks in the months of July and August. Daytime temperatures will hover at 17C, plunging to 10C in the night. High altitude towns such as Nyahururu and Narok typically record 4C in winter.

The coastal city of Mombasa will see temperatures drop to 26C between July and August, compared to summer temperatures of 33C and above.

As you travel southwards, winter conditions worsen. The city of Cape Town, South Africa, occasionally sees snow at this time of year.

4 Responses

  1. I wish I could spend all of June-August in Nairobi. It is sweltering here and it’s going to get even hotter.

  2. Weather is relative. Of course, for you in the US, temperatures of 17C seem “warm” while to Kenyan, the same is “cold.” Probably thats because you guys over there have harsher winters.

  3. The Nairobi winter has now lasted long enough. I look forward to some warmer weather next month

  4. It is very cold in Nairobi at the moment. I seriously need to spend more time with my girlfriend

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