It’s worth all the trials and tribulations when you reach the top of Kilimanjaro – Uhuru Peak.
The view that greets you at the top is an out-of-this-world experience.
But what time of year is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?
Read on below.
NB: The guide below is a guideline only.
Kilimanjaro’s location near the equator means that there are not four clear seasons as we are used to in the UK.
In fact, there are no major temperature fluctuations over the year, but the weather depends largely on the seasons and which vegetation zone you pass through on the way up.
There are two seasons on Kilimanjaro: one dry season and one rainy season, both of which come twice during the year.
The dry seasons extend from:
The dry season is generally characterised by mild temperatures, except from June to August, which may be cold. In addition, the weather is clearer and there is less rain than in the rainy season.
Due to the smaller amount of rainfall, these months are also high season, with more people visiting Kilimanjaro during these periods.
The rainy seasons extend from:
The rainy season is characterised by a larger amount of rainfall – the months of April and May are particularly hard hit. Most rain falls on the southern and eastern sides of Kilimanjaro. Rain means poorer visibility, but in the short rainy season, there is better visibility in the morning.
Due to the increased amount of rain, the rainy seasons are less popular than the dry seasons. So, you can expect to enjoy a more private trekking experience during these periods.
Below is an overview of the weather throughout the year.
Between January and March, you get mild temperatures and clear weather in the morning and afternoon.
However, the days’ almost cloud-free characteristics may be accompanied by a little rain or snow on the top of Kilimanjaro.
Between March and May, it is rainy season. This often means reduced visibility. The cloud can be heavy, producing heavy rain and snow at the top.
Trekking can be a major challenge during the rainy season, so if you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to trek at other times of the year. On the other hand, you enjoy a more private experience when you climb Kilimanjaro during this period.
The British summer months can be cold in Tanzania.
The daytime temperatures are pleasant, but expect cold nights. Visibility is usually very good. What’s more, like September and October, these months are drier than the rest of the year.
After a few cold months, the temperature slowly begins to rise again.
However, the warmer weather brings fog with it in the lower parts of the trek, but when you come higher up the mountain, the fog gives way to clearer weather.
In the last months of the year, you can expect afternoon rain showers and occasional thunder. But beyond that, visibility in these two months is good in the morning and at night.
Besides the two seasons, the altitude also has an influence on what weather you can expect on Kilimanjaro.
On the way to the top, you pass through five different vegetation zones, each with unique weather conditions.
At the foot of the mountain, the temperature is around 21 to 27 degrees all year round, and the higher up the mountain you go, the colder it will be. At the top – at Uhuru Peak – night temperatures can drop to between -7 and -29 degrees.
Zone 1: Bushland or cultivated area (800–1,800 AMSL) is characterized by meadows, plains, farmland and settlements. It is one of the zones on the mountain with the most rainfall over the year.
Generally speaking, all routes on Kilimanjaro can be climbed all year round.
The various routes are climbed from different sides of the mountain, which means that some routes are better than others at different times of the year.
If you would like a precise overview of the differences on the individual routes, then take a look at our comparison of the routes.
Most of the climbing takes place during the day, but the final push to the top takes place in the middle of the night – in darkness – so you reach the peak at sunrise.
This is a very special (and popular) experience, either in the light of the full moon – without the use of head torches – or when it’s a new moon and the stars are extra clear in the sky.
So, you can also include the dates of the new moon and the full moon in your planning. Please note, however, that these are extremely popular times, so there are often a lot of people.
See an overview in the chart below:
*Please note that the dates are estimates. So you should double check both the date and time of the full moon/new moon before booking.
Completing a trek to the top of the world’s highest free-standing mountain is a truly fantastic feeling.
Have you made the decision to go? For help with your planning, you might like to consult our ultimate guide to Kilimanjaro and check out the itineraries of each route for a detailed description.
Please note that the above guide is a guideline only, and recommendations may change on an ongoing basis.
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