Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro - Climb Kilimanjaro Guide
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Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro

It is possible to trek Kilimanjaro all-year-round. However, certain months are characterised by colder weather, more rain and potentially loads of snow on the summit.

In this article we provide a brief outline on the two trekking seasons that are the best time to climb Kilimanjaro.

Please use the quicklinks to navigate through the article.

Quicklinks

Winds and Kilimanjaro Weather

Kilimanjaro’s weather is heavily influenced by the interaction of trade winds with the structure of the mountain.

The South-east trade winds travelling over the Indian Ocean carry loads of moisture. When they hit Kilimanjaro, around March, then are forced upwards where they condense, form clouds and precipitation. This means March through to May is the wettest season on Kilimanjaro. The southern slopes are particular susceptible to rain during this time in the year.

If you are confined to a trekking date in April or May we suggest you consider the Rongai route, which departs from the Northern end of Kilimanjaro and is generally drier than the southern route options during these months.

Anti-trade winds from the North-east carry very little moisture but blow strongly. The strength of these winds which last from April through to October keep the South-east trade winds below them, hence these months are usually dry and cloud cover and precipitation is generally restricted to the lower slopes.

kilimanjaro-weather-clouds

The North-east monsoon arrives in November and brings some light rains to the northern slopes of Kilimanjaro.

Best Trekking Months

There are two distinct trekking seasons which constitute the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. They are January-March and June-October.

January-March is generally colder than June-October and there is a higher probability of encountering snow on the summit. For some this might be seen as a negative, but the benefits of a January-March trek is that the slopes are often quieter at this time of the year.

The June-October trekking season coincides with the summer holidays in Europe and N.America and hence certain routes are often quite busy.

March, April and November are the wettest months on Kilimanjaro, and not ideal of trekking.

Snow fall and cold temperatures are common during December-May.

The chart below shows average snowfall in cm on the summit of Kilimanjaro

snow-kilimanjaro

Altitude and Climate Zones

Another factor that is important to consider is the variation in weather conditions as you ascend Kilimanjaro.

There are four distinct climatic zones on Kilimanjaro – the rainforest zone (~800m-3,000m) is warm and humid. Rain is common in the zone, particularly during the wet season and temperatures average around 12-15 degrees Celsius at 2,870m. The second zone is often called the low alpine area (~3,000m-4,200m) and is a semi-arid zone where average temperatures range between 5-10 degrees Celsius at 3,630m. The high alpine zone (4,200m-5,000) is desert-like. Here temperatures average around the freezing point at 4,970m, and at the summit in the glacial zone (above 5,000m) temperatures average around -6 degrees Celsius.

Although the summit temperature doesn’t sound too cold, wind chill is a major factor. You are almost guaranteed relatively high winds. Moreover, the effects of cold temperatures at high altitude are more pronounced as your body expends more effort trying to get your skin and vital organs well-oxygenated in an oxygen depleted environment. This results in vasoconstriction near the extremities (like your hands, feet and nose) and means that you will feel the cold a lot more at high altitude. In other words -6 degrees Celsius can feel like -20!

The chart below shows average monthly temperatures at four points across the climate zones.

kilimanjaro-temperatures

See here for detailed information on Kilimanjaro weather.

FAQ

Still have questions on the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. Leave us a comment below and we will respond within 24hours.

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About the Author Mark Whitman

Hi, I'm Mark! Welcome to Climb Kilimanjaro Guide - the Web's No.1 Trekking Guide to Mount Kilimanjaro. This site is your one stop shop for everything Kilimanjaro. To date over 2 million people have visited ClimbKilimanjaroGuide.com, many of which have gone on to summit Kili! I hope you find all the answers you are looking for, but if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a comment below! Happy Trekking!

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86 comments
Jayne McCullough says July 13, 2016

Hi guys

Im trying to decide weather to climb February or March, would you say Feb would be better as there may be less snow and rain?

The route I was thinking was the Machame ?

thanks so much

Reply
    Mark Whitman says July 13, 2016

    Hi Jayne, You are less likely to encounter rain on the lower slopes in February as opposed to March. However, there could be more snow on the summit in February. Good thing is the Machame route is quieter in these months, than during the peak season June-September.

    Reply
Jay says November 2, 2016

Hello,
We are thinking about climbing the last week of May. We are concerned about the amount of rain/cold temperatures. Do many people choose to climb during this time or is the potential for rain a major drawback?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says November 2, 2016

    Hi Jay, most people elect to miss the April / May rainy season as it came be very hit and miss. I would say if you can push your dates a few weeks forward to June, that would give you a better chance of better weather. All the best!

    Reply
Sunil Vora says November 15, 2016

Hi,

We are climbing kilimanjaro from dec 11 to dec 18, expecting to summit on dec 17. The weather forecasts seem to suggest that there will be lots of snow on the summit. In your experience is it advisable for us to bring our crampons or are they just going to be superfluous weight?

Thank you.

Reply
Karol simo says November 18, 2016

I’m climbing Kili in beginning in march 2017 via Marangu route. We are sliping in huts.What sleeping bag is recommended?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says November 20, 2016

    Hi Karol, It still get’s freezing cold in the huts. You need a four season sleeping bag. Cheers!

    Reply
Sudhir Khot says December 13, 2016

Hi team,

We are climbing Kilimanjaro from 14th January 2017. Planned summit day on 19th January 2017.

What is weather conditions during these times? Please guide.

Regards,

Sudhir Khot

Reply
Novice Climber says December 30, 2016

Hi,
After reading all posts, I am planning to climb Kili in June or July 2017. As per your previous answers it would be a busy season with the best weather. My questions to you are: What are other downfalls of busy season and which track would you recommend in the month of June/July ? For price wise is it climb in Sept-Oct much better than June-July (Since we will have a big group) ? I am in the beginning phase of planning so I can modify my plans.Thanks in advance.

Reply
    Mark Whitman says December 31, 2016

    The main downside of the peak season is that there are more people on the mountain. The busiest routes are the Marangu and the Machame. I would recommend looking at the Lemosho and the Rongai routes – the former joins the Machame on day 3/4 but have a relatively remote start. The cost of the climb should not vary from June / July to Sept / Oct.
    All the best!!

    Reply
Eddie says January 4, 2017

Hi I recieved a trip to kilimanjaro for my bday (lucky guy) but it is the beginning of may is this peak time or bad weather ?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says January 8, 2017

    Hi Eddie, May is the rainy season. You might be okay but expect rain on the lower slopes and lots of cloud cover. Good news is that the mountain is a lot quieter.

    Reply
Meg says January 6, 2017

Hello,
We are hoping to avoid the crowded months, so we are considering climbing in either early October or in early February. Which routes would you recommend for October, and which would you recommend for February?
Thank you for the advice!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says January 8, 2017

    Hi Meg, The Southern routes via the Machame and Lemosho are great for both October and March. All the best!

    Reply
Yuga says January 22, 2017

Hi, I am planning to climb Kili in the midst of June, which route would you suggest. And what should I carry with me.

Reply
Dov Levy says February 16, 2017

Hi there – taking everything into account (temperature, snow, crowd, etc.) which month would you recommend to climb?

Thanks Dov

Reply
    Mark Whitman says February 26, 2017

    Hi Don, I recommend July-October as the best months weather-wise. All the best!

    Reply
      Chenga says March 21, 2017

      Wow thanks,, found the answer of my question.

      Reply
Hamed Al Bar says March 27, 2017

Hi my name Hamed Al Bar I live in Saudi Arabia , I would like to climb Kili mountain within this two months April , May , I need your help

Reply
Hamed Al Bar says March 27, 2017

Thank you in advance need your support to climb the mountain of kliminjaro

Reply
Michelle says April 26, 2017

Hi,
I am looking to complete the Lemosho Route but having a hard time deciding when to go.
I would love to be able to experience snow on the summit.
I can be pretty flexible when I go so I would love to experience this route at its best!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says April 26, 2017

    Hi Michelle, snow on the summit is no guarantee but the most likely period to have snow under foot is from December through to March. Lemosho route is great, hope you have a ball!

    Reply
Maggie says May 12, 2017

We’re planning a year long trip through 3 continents (Africa, SE Asia, and South America), and Kilimanjaro is on our top bucket list.

It looks like Sept/Oct seems to have the very best weather – would you agree with this? When you say its crowded – how crowded to you mean? Difficult to hike because there are so many people, or bearable? We can be very very flexible.

Thank you!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says May 12, 2017

    Hi Maggie, Sep/Oct us a great time to climb Kilimanjaro. Crowded is probably the wrong word, it is just busier at this time of year, particularly August and September, than other parts of the year. All the best for your trip – sounds awesome!

    Reply
Jenna brown says May 16, 2017

I am At the beginning stages of planning my climb. What month out of the whole year do you recommend I make my climb?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says May 26, 2017

    August through to October is generally a great time to climb Kilimanjaro. All the best!

    Reply
Funmi says June 12, 2017

I’m not a hiker but I want to climb Kilimanjaro. What is your recommendation

Reply
    Mark Whitman says June 13, 2017

    Do it! You don’t need to be an experienced hiker to climb Kilimanjaro. You do need to be fit and determined though. Best months are June-October and January-March. All the best!

    Reply
James says July 11, 2017

Considering trekking Kili mid-December.

I expect snow and colder temperatures but what is visibility like? Is it still an OK time to trek if you’re OK with snow and colder temps?

I trekked Everest Base Camp in December and it was fantastic (although cold).

Thanks!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says July 12, 2017

    Hi James, yeah, climbing Kilimanjaro in December is absolutely fine. You may experience snow and slightly colder conditions, but visibility is usually fine. All the best!

    Reply
Ramin says September 6, 2017

Hi,
How is the visibility on Kilimanjaru in October?
Thanks

Reply
    Mark Whitman says September 8, 2017

    Hi Ramin, that’s a difficult question to answer as there are so many variables, but generally October is a good month to trek Kilimanjaro.

    Reply
Kimberly says October 6, 2017

My husband and I are trying to decide between Lemosho and Rongai for our mid-March climb. We’re flexible with level of difficulty and would probably prioritize scenery and solitude. Which would you choose? Thank you!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says October 11, 2017

    That’s a touch one Kimberly. Both offer great scenery and solitude. Admittedly the Lemosho gets busy once it joins with the Machame. Personally I prefer the Lemosho as it has a great acclimitisation profile (8 day version) and a better summit ascent approach. Hope this helps!

    Reply
Eve says October 11, 2017

Hi

Which route is best in July/August?

Thanks

Reply
    Mark Whitman says October 11, 2017

    Hi Eve, all the Southern Circuit routes are good in July / August. I recommend the 7 day Machame or 8 day Lemosho. Cheers!

    Reply
Rituparna says November 2, 2017

We are planning to climb in the last week of Dec? How would be the weather? would there be lot of snow? Do we need crampons?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says November 6, 2017

    Hi Rituparna, December tends to be a little colder at night and during the early mornings. Temperatures during the day can be quite warm and temperate low down the mountain. But as you get above the cloud cover it can also be relatively fresh during the day. There is a higher probability of snow at or near the summit in December, but generally crampons are not required. It may be worthwhile taking yak-traks, but as I said generally these won’t be required. All the best!

    Reply
Lisa says November 7, 2017

Hi Mark We’re planning to go January 2019 what kit would you recommend we took?
Regards

Reply
Pedro Tavares says December 3, 2017

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your site and all the info that you provide 🙂

I’m the early stages of starting to plan our family trip to TANZANIA and consecutive Kilimanjaro climb, and from what I could read, mid September seems to be a great option in terms of weather forecast to do the climb, but in your opinion what would be the best time to combine a few days before the climb doing a photo/video safari and after the climb to go for few extra days in Zanzibar. Early June after the main rainy season ends or in the mid September…

Besides that my other question is:
Do you know anyone that climbed Kilimanjaro with a DOG?
My Border Collie travels everywhere with us and is used to do a lot of hikings (to like this one) and a lot other activities (Rappel, Slide, Paragliding, Canyoning, snorkling, etc, etc…)

Reply
    Mark Whitman says December 4, 2017

    Hi Pedro, Glad you are finding the site useful! Mid September is a great time for all the activities you want to do – i.e. Safari, Climb Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. This period is also just after the Summer holidays in Europe so the mountain trails are a little quieter. In terms of taking a dog with you, I haven’t heard of anyone doing this, but I suspect it has been done and is possible. My suggestion would be to contact Kilimanjaro National Park http://www.tanzaniaparks.go.tz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31&Itemid=106 to see if they have any specific regulations / advice on taking a dog. All the best!

    Reply
Steven says December 7, 2017

Hi,

Due to timing constraints, I will be planning my trip to Kilimanjaro in April. I understand this is the rainy season. Given that, is there a route that is best suited for an April Trek?

Thanks!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says December 17, 2017

    H Steven, The Rongai route, approaching from the North is probably your best bet. In tends to have less rain during April and May, then the standard Southern circuit routes. All the best!

    Reply
Thomas Allen says December 16, 2017

Hey There,

I’m climbing Kilimanjaro with a group in the very beginning of June. We are all in our Mid-20’s to Early 30’s, but little to no experience of climbing, especially something of this size. Any recommendation on which route to take with scenic views but beginner to intermediate level of difficulty? Thank you!

Tom

Reply
    Mark Whitman says December 17, 2017

    Hi Tom, without a doubt I would go for the 8 day Lemosho or 7 day Machame. Both have great route profiles for acclimatisation and are very scenic. The Lemosho is a little quieter for the first 3 days on the trail. Hope this helps and all the best!

    Reply
Robert Moes says December 19, 2017

I am a 70 year old male who likes to climb Kili.
Because of my age i like a private tour to the top.
What is the best time of the year and what are the costs?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says December 20, 2017

    Hi Robert, Great to hear that you are thinking of climbing Kilimanjaro. The best time is between mid June and mid October. Costs range depending on the route you take, type of tour operator and whether you do it as a private climb vs. joining an open group. A private trek as a solo is a lot more expensive than a group tour. I recommend using our tour operator recommendation service to get a quote: https://www.machupicchutrek.net/go/

    Reply
Candace Tice-Tomasik says January 7, 2018

Reading the narrative, it states that January – March is generally colder than June – October but looking at the chart of average monthly temperatures, it appears that the average temps in the rainforest and low alpine zones are higher in Jan. – March (12-14c in rainforest; 8-10c in low alpine) than it is in May – August (7 -10c in rainforest; 5 -7c in low alpine). Am I reading that correctly? Not that it’s a huge difference but I’m confused as it’s supposed to be COLDER Jan – March. Thank you.

Reply
    Mark Whitman says January 12, 2018

    Hi Candace, That is correct, the difference is not significant, but there tends to be more moisture / humidity in Jan-Mar, hence slightly warmer temperatures. However, as you get higher up the mountain, the average temperatures in Jan-Mar are colder than Jun-Oct. Hope this helps!

    Reply
Shane says January 11, 2018

Hi Mark!

Due my schedule constraints, I can only climb either before April 1st or after.
Your website indicated that April isn’t a good season. Would last week of March be the same too?

Thank you!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says January 12, 2018

    Hi Shane, it’s difficult to predict the exact beginning of the rainy season (April-May), so late March could be fine, but then again you could experience some rain. You may want to consider the Rongai route from the North as this side of Kilimanjaro tends to be drier over the rainy season.

    Reply
Kezzer says January 24, 2018

I’m a 45 yr old lady who only walks dogs for exercise and have been ‘treated’ to a trek up Killy in September by my not so better half, will I need to hit the gym hard to get fit enough in time?

Reply
Gwinder Childs says January 30, 2018

Leaving Atlanta, GA. What country is better to fly into in order to be close to Kilimanjaro..don’t like cold weather ..what’s the BEST MONTH..thank you

Reply
Di brayford says February 20, 2018

Hi am wanting to climb June to October.
Which is the best route
Thanks
Di

Reply
    Mark Whitman says February 21, 2018

    Hi Di, I recommend the 8 day Lemosho or 7 day Machame route. All the best!

    Reply
Abdul says March 7, 2018

I want to claim Kilimanjaro. Looking for hide. And price

Reply
    Mark Whitman says March 9, 2018

    Hi Abdul, not sure what you are looking for, but we are not a tour operator. We can connect you with our recommended partner, click here to get a quote: https://www.climbkilimanjaroguide.com/go/

    Reply
susanne sayers says March 13, 2018

I am trying to decide between late September and Early to mid-October. Any difference? Cheers, Susanne

Reply
    Mark Whitman says March 21, 2018

    HI Susanne, there is not a significant difference. Generally this period is good for hiking Kilimanjaro. Of course weather is incredibly variable on a big mountain like Kilimanjaro so you may get lucky with an amazing weak or you may get more inclement weather.

    Reply
Peter Landers says March 15, 2018

Hi Mark, Unfortunately I cant climb in the peak trekking season, so only have Feb, March or May to climb. If I was to climb in Feb when there is less snow, what would be the best route to take? Would this be the same for early March?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says March 21, 2018

    Hi Peter, I would recommend the Lemosho or Machame route for both February and March. I would avoid May as this is the raining season. Please note: you are more likely to encounter snow at and near the summit in January and February. Cheers!

    Reply
Lee says March 30, 2018

Hello, my daughter and I wish to climb the Lemoshu Route up Kili in late Dec 2018. After reading comments, would it be better to push the date out into January for more mild temperatures? Thank you.

Reply
    Mark Whitman says April 4, 2018

    Hi Lee, you can expect very similar weather in late Dec and into January, so I don’t think it is worthwhile moving your date. Generally these months are a little colder high up on the mountain and there will likely be snow cover on the upper reaches and at the summit. Weather is however so variable on the mountain that it is impossible to predict with some certainty the conditions until a week or so before your travel date.

    Reply
Ron says April 15, 2018

Hello, I am in the early stages of planning and was originally looking to climb in early November, which is the earliest I can climb with my work schedule. Is it completely out of the question to go on a guided climb at that time? Thanks for your feedback

Reply
    Mark Whitman says April 17, 2018

    Hi Ron, not at all. Although November can see some rain, it is still possible to hike Kilimanjaro at this time of the year. You may want to look at the northern approach via the Rongai Route. All the best!

    Reply
Ewa says April 26, 2018

Hello,
I am planning on trekking Mt. Kili in September. It seems like Lemosho trail goes thru Barrnaco area. Given Barranco wallreally scares me, what are the best routes for me? Thanks so much for any input. Ewa.

Reply
    Mark Whitman says April 27, 2018

    Hi Ewa, all the southern Circuit routes need to go over Barranco. It looks a lot scary than it actually is. In reality it is just a scramble and there are no serious exposures. If you definitely don’t want to do the Barranco wall then you could do the Rongai route, Northern Circuit or the Marangu route. Hope this helps.

    Reply
LorenZo says May 10, 2018

MW, First thing, thank you so much for hosting this site. My question may seem dumb to others but where I have hiked and where I come from we carry our own gear always or we don’t go. It has nothing to do with money. In fact I don’t even mind paying the Porter and of course the guide for their time in going. I just feel Better if I carry my own gear. Please advise
Thx, L

Reply
    Mark Whitman says May 10, 2018

    Hi Lorenzo, totally understand your point, I’m one for carrying my own gear too. Unfortunately, Kilimanjaro is almost always operated as a portered trek. You could check with a tour operator if they would allow you to carry all of your own gear. I suspect many will allow you to do this. All the best!

    Reply
Mike Frawley says May 13, 2018

Great information. I was thinking of starting the climb on Dec. 29 because the timing is convenient but I see there is quite a bit of snowfall in December and January. Is the trekking much harder with the snow on the ground and does the snow make summiting less likely? A lot less likely? I’m wondering how much more risky it is to do this in early January, as I would very much want to summit.

Reply
    Mark Whitman says May 13, 2018

    Hi Mike, yes, it can snow quite a bit in December / January, but this doesn’t make the summit push significantly more challenging as the last push for the summit is a slow slog, snow or no snow. Of course a massive dump of snow is potentially dangerous and can thwart a summit attempt, but it is not very common to get a major snow dump. Many people summit during these months and the snow can make the experience particularly beautiful. Hope this helps!

    Reply
Anurupa Damineni says May 20, 2018

hi, we are planning to climb in february but concerned of snow conditions on the summit trail, how often are the chances of cancellation of the summit hike if there is lot of snow and do we need crampons. also we
recently did the everest base camp and kalapathar last month and inca trail last year and we are planning for lemosho route , do you suggest 7 day or 8 day . thanks

Reply
    Mark Whitman says May 22, 2018

    Hi Anurupa, cancellation due to snow is not very common. As a precaution I would bring yak tracks (not full crampons). It’s unlikely that you will need them but better safe than sorry. In terms of the 7 or 8 day Lemosho, I prefer the latter as it breaks the final push to the summit into two days – between Karanga – Barafu and the summit. Hope this helps!

    Reply
Maud Slierb says June 12, 2018

Hi!

We are planning to climb the Kilimanjaro in October. In the past, we walked the Inca Trail, Rinjani in Indonesia and some other similar hikes. What route do you recommend, taking into accout weather and our “experience”?

Great website, thanks in advance!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says June 19, 2018

    Hi Maud, my two favourite and recommend routes are the 7 day Machame or 8 day Lemosho. Both are super scenic and offer good acclimatisation.

    Reply
Amory Kaiser says June 16, 2018

I would like to take a 10-day hike up Lemosho with my 32-year old son and 31-year old daughter. Can anyone recommend the best time of year for this hike? I’d like to avoid heavy crowds, so I’m thinking September, but I would welcome any advice/comments/suggestions. Thank you!

Reply
    Mark Whitman says June 19, 2018

    Hi Amory, the first few days on the Lemosho are relatively quiet, but the trail gets busier after it joins the southern circuit routes, like the Machame. Sepetember is still relatively busy, but does get quieter towards the end of the month and into October. Alternatively January-March are quieter months as well.

    Reply
Yasser says June 29, 2018

Hi Mark,
I’m planing to climb Kilimanjaro through Marangu route on December 21-28, 2018.
How the snow is going to be on the summit at this time?
I’m 55 and in good shape but do you have special advices for my age?
Thx bro.
Yasser

Reply
    Mark Whitman says July 5, 2018

    Hi Yasser, It is quite likely that there will be snow on and near the summit in December. Personally I think this makes the experience more authentic and fun. My best advice is to go slow, drink lots of water, try eat healthily and take one step at a time on summit night! Enjoy

    Reply
Jason Keaton says July 5, 2018

Hi,
I’m looking at a trip next year in March most likely, but have not heard any info on the Umbwe track which is the trail I am looking at doing. I have seen some descriptions relating to it being the best if you can handle the steep ascent but nothing else. Is this the case?
Cheers
Jason

Reply
    Mark Whitman says July 5, 2018

    Hi Jason, the Umbwe is not a very popular route as it provides limited possibilities to properly acclimatise. The route is very direct and is often used in conjunction with the Western Breach for speed ascents. It is not particularly steep, but the rapid ascent profile means that the risk of altitude sickness is higher. If you have more time I would recommend a route like the 7 day Machame or 8 day Lemosho that meanders more and gives hikers more time to acclimatise.

    Reply
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