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.

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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!

Leave a Comment:

48 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
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