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Best time to climb Kilimanjaro?


The main seasons for climbing Kilimanjaro are traditionally December through to March, and June through to October. At this time temperatures in Moshi, at the base of the mountain, are typically around 22 degrees C and summit temperatures around - 7 degrees C.
It is generally advised to try and avoid November and April / May, which are when the short and long rains come. However, there is a caveat as the seasons are shifting and the timing of the rains is definitely less predictable when compared to the past and of course you must be prepared (as per any mountain) for rain (and higher up snow) at all times of the year.
If you were to climb in a period when the weather would traditionally be wetter, then the northern slopes are not only less travelled but they're also less affected by the rains. Therefore if you’d like to go at a quieter time then November and April / May deliver less people and if you use the Rongai route, which starts on the northern slopes, it’ll be drier than the Machame or Lemosho routes that cross the southern flanks during the traditional rains.


    Many people also take into consideration the moons and a full moon climb of Kilimanjaro, or indeed a new moon climb, is often a popular time. Summit night can be spent walking under the light of a full silvery moon - you won’t even need a head-torch; or since Kilimanjaro is situated on the equator, under a full sky of both northern and southern hemisphere constellations. In fact, from high up on the peak you can see the North Star and the Southern Cross in the same sky!
    If you would like to experience a climb on a full or new moon, then we recommend that you offset your summit night, so you don’t summit on the actual date of the full or new moon (see image below). There can be no doubt that on certain nights the summit route can be remarkably busy with a lot of people leaving camp at the same time and initially creating a bottleneck. These groups spread out fairly quickly but if you’d like less people then summiting the day before or the day after a full, or new moon, will give you all the effects and atmosphere with less of the crowds – of course it could also be cloudy!


    The final consideration is high and low season. There are no premiums or seasonal savings to be made in terms of the land costs for a climb, though there are high, low and medium seasons in terms of accommodation costs if you’re also planning on doing a safari. There are prices differences when it comes to flights with August and January typically being higher priced and something you may like to consider when choosing a time of year to climb Africa’s highest peak.

    • What is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

      April-May The “big” rainy season starts at the end of March and continues until the middle of May. April marks the beginning of the coldest time of the year in Tanzania. These months have significantly less climbers than the rest of the year, but there is a high chance of hiking in the rain at this time of the year.

      June-July The frequency of rain gradually decreases. The weather on Kilimanjaro is fairly dry and clear in these months, but nights are still cold. June is usually quiet, sunny, and, in our opinion, much underrated in terms of climbing. It is an excellent idea to choose June for your adventure because of great weather and routes that are almost private to your climbing party. The number of climbers increases as the year progresses. Starting from July the majority of the routes will be quite busy.

      The peak climbing season on Kilimanjaro is from August to September. The weather is particularly good for climbing: the days are clear and somewhat warmer than in June/July. At the same time, it may be cloudy in the forest/moorland zone, as well as it may be rainy on the southern routes (Machame and Umbwe). However, once you leave the rain forest behind, it will be sunny.

      October is another unfairly ignored season: nice weather conditions last into mid-October and the number of climbers drops dramatically, giving you a good chance to enjoy Kilimanjaro treks almost alone. At the end of October, the weather becomes more changeable. As long as you are equipped to withstand the occasional rain shower, this should not present any major challenges.

      November is the “small” rainy season. The rainy weather may last into mid-December. The temperatures will have dropped and mist covers the Mountain, making your climb slightly tricky and risky, yet more challenging and exciting. November might not be the best pick in terms of weather, but gives a great opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views of misty-covered Mount Kilimanjaro with its snow-capped peak and to take some terrific pictures.

      December - January - Christmas and New Years are the second busiest climbing season on Kilimanjaro. The traffic is extremely high, although there is a good chance of rain and thick clouds at the lower altitudes of Kilimanjaro.

      Mid-January to mid-March are very popular among climbers. The weather is perfectly balanced: it is neither too cold, nor too wet. The days are generally dry, though occasional rains may happen. The possibility of rain increases in the second half of March because the season of the “big rains” is approaching.

    • Kilimanjaro Temperature

      The temperature on Mount Kilimanjaro correlates with the four distinct climatic zones:

      The rainforest zone (800m-3,000m) is warm and humid. Densely covered with green vegetation, this zone temperatures average 12-15 °C (20-25 °C during daytime) at 2,900 m. This is where you are going to spend the first one or two days of your climb, depending on the route.

      The low alpine zone (3,000m-4,200m) is a semi-arid area. The higher you climb the scarcer the vegetation becomes. Depending on the route, here you will spend one or two days with average temperatures range 5-10 °C (15-20 °C during the daytime) at 3,600 m.

      The high alpine zone (4,200m-5,000) is desert-like. You will spend your fourth and fifth day on the Mount here, as well as the final arrangements for summiting at those altitudes. Here the temperatures average around the freezing point at 5,000m, but during the daytime, when the sun is shining, it is still quite warm and comfortable.

      The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro lies in the glacial zone (above 5,000m) and its temperatures average around -6 °C. However, keep in mind that all summiting attempts usually start at midnight in order to reach the Uhuru peak by dawn. You will be trekking at night when the temperature can drop to – 20°C. With harsh gusts of wind, the temperature may feel below -40 °C. However, it’s totally worth enduring the cold, because on the top you will see one of the best pictures you have ever witnessed in the light of the rising sun.