THE BEST TIME TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO
Let’s start with the good news: Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed all year long. But some moments are better than others. Certain months are wetter, others colder, and during some there might be more snow on the summit than during others. So what’s the best time to climb Kilimanjaro? Keep reading, we have the answer for you!
MOUNT KILIMANJARO WEATHER
Mount Kilimanjaro basically has its own climate, as it’s such a large geographic structure. There’s different zones that you’ll cross while climbing, each with their own habitat and temperatures. We’ll tell you more about them in a minute. But let’s start with the winds, that interfere with the mountain and have a huge impact on the amount of rain.
From May to October/November occur what are called anti-trade winds. They contain little humidity, but blow strongly, strong enough to control the South-east trade winds and significantly reduce the rain. These months, from May to November, are the dry season. You’re likely to still encounter a bit of rain, but this is mainly limited to the lower slopes, below 3000 m / 9840 ft.
Finally, from November/December to mid-March occurs the North-east Monsoon, that brings some rainfall to the Northern slopes of the mountain. They contain a lot less humidity than the South-east trade winds though, especially in the second half of this period, from January to mid-March, making this an ideal time to climb.
Rain forest zone (800 – 3000 m / 2620 – 9840 ft)
Low alpine zone (3000 – 4200 m / 9840 – 13780 ft)
High alpine zone (4200 – 5000 m / 13780 – 16400 ft)
You are now above the clouds and vegetation has become rare. The sun burns during the day and there are no more clouds to protect you. So don’t forget to put lots of sunscreen. Temperatures drop well below 0 overnight.
Glacial zone (5000 – 5895 m / 16400 – 19340 ft)
THE BEST KILIMANJARO CLIMBING SEASON
January – March
The first dry season on most of the mountain, January to (mid-)March are great months to climb Kili. It might rain a little bit on the lower slopes but rain is rare above 3000 m / 9840 ft and the skies are likely to be perfectly clear. Temperatures at the top are the lowest of the year, and chances of snow in the upper areas are high.
June – October/November
During this time rain and snow are rare, making it a good time for your Mount Kilimanjaro hike. It’s the busiest season and less ideal for those who want quiet time, but this also means chances of finding open groups to join are much higher, which can drastically lower the price of your climb.
April, May and December
These months are usually the wettest and generally less ideal for trekking. However, climbing on a northern route in April or May, or on a southern route in December is usually fine, due to the origin of the winds that cause the rain. December corresponds to school holidays in most countries, making this a very busy month as well.
Don’t forget to bring good rain gear and the right clothes to handle the very low temperatures at the summit.
IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE SPECIAL…
… you might want to think about planning your hike around full moon. Of course most of the hike happens during the day, but not your summit attempt. Imagine hiking up to the summit in the light of a full moon… magical! Check out this link for full moon dates, and remember, you want the full moon to happen on the night of your summit attempt. Don’t hesitate to contact us for any kind of assistance.
HAVE YOU DECIDED WHEN YOU WANT TO GO?
Have a look at our trekking itineraries or other practical tips that will help you prepare for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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