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When Is The Best Time To Climb Kilimanjaro?

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Best Time to Trek Kilimanjaro

In this article we look at one of the first questions we get asked when speaking to a potential Kilimanjaro customer ‘When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?’

You need to take a look month by month to see when is the optimum time for you to take your trip. You also will need to consider what else you are looking to achieve on your travels.

As a potential climber of Mount Kilimanjaro, you will need to decide when it is possible for you to climb the mountain. This will vary for everyone. But the weather and your ability to withstand the elements need to be something you consider carefully.

Best Month To Trek Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro in January

Dry, warm conditions make January an ideal time for Kilimanjaro expeditions. Glorious, clear views from the summit and a comfortable trek are what climbers can anticipate.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in February

February stands as another superb time to ascend Kilimanjaro with the typically mild temperatures and drier conditions proving favourable for climbers.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in March

Being the start of the long rainy season, March can offer challenging, yet uniquely captivating trek experiences. Ideal for adventurers who don’t mind a bit of rain.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in April

April falls squarely in the long rainy season, creating potentially muddy and slippery terrains. However, the mountain gains an added layer of beauty and tranquillity with fewer climbers.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in May

Continuing the trend from April, May challenges climbers with rainfall but rewards with unspoilt trails and the vibrant scenes of Kilimanjaro in the rain.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in June

Kicking off the dry season, June gradually heralds better weather conditions. Trekker traffic is relatively lower early in the month, creating a serene environment for the climb.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in July

As one of the cooler and drier months, July presents an optimal climbing atmosphere. The popularity of the season means more climbers but also higher summit successes.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in August

On the trails in August, climbers can expect slightly cooler temperatures, clear skies and a fair share of fellow mountain enthusiasts. The conditions make it one of the most sought after times for the Kilimanjaro quest.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in September

September maintains the desirable conditions of August. While it’s a popular month for climbing, the generally fair weather helps bolster success rates.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in October

Drying trails and rain becoming a rarity characterise October. However, the start of the short rainy season can bring occasional showers later in the month.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in November

Entering the short rainy season, November presents occasional rainfalls followed by clear skies. Less crowded trails give solitude-seeking climbers something to look forward to.

Climbing Kilimanjaro in December

Early December may still have vestiges of the short rainy season, but by the middle of the month, the weather usually clears up. The latter part of the month is a popular time due to holiday travellers.

Ultimately, the best month to climb Kilimanjaro depends on you: your preferences, your schedule, and your tolerance for crowds and variable weather. Remember, the mountain is open all year round, and every season offers a unique experience. The mountain changes with the seasons, and each trek will offer you unique opportunities to appreciate its beauty. With good preparation and a positive mindset, any time could be your best time to conquer this mighty peak.

snow on the final push to the summit of Kilimanjaro
When Is The Best Time To Climb Kilimanjaro? 1

What Is The Weather Like On Kilimanjaro?

This is always a hard question to answer as the range is so big. The temperatures on Kilimanjaro will go from hot to bitter cold. Depending on your route choice, it will feel like you have traveled from the equator to Antarctica in no time at all!

This is all because of the different ecological zones you pass on the way to Uhuru Peak. Kilimanjaro has 5 major ecological zones, each approximately 1000 meters apart. Rainfall, temperature, and life decrease as the altitude increases.

The gateway to Kilimanjaro is Moshi, and this is where I start all of my trips. Moshi lies to the south of the summit and sits 900m above sea level. At the Park gate and for the first few days of trekking you can expect temperatures of 21-28 degrees Celsius. From this point, the temperature will start to drop.

At Uhuru Point, you can expect temperatures from 0 to -27 degrees Celsius. With Kilimanjaro being a free standing mountain that is also 5895m high it creates its own weather patterns. The thing to remember with Kilimanjaro is you need to pack for every eventuality because they will all happen.

Ecological Zones on Kilimanjaro 

Next, we are going to take a look at each of the Ecological zones.

Kilimanjaro Climate Zone 1 – Rainforest

1,800m – 2,800m

Precipitation: 1,000mm – 2,000mm

Warm, humid, and lush all year round, this section of the mountain is home to rare species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth! The rainforest receives 1.8m of rain annually.

Rain forest on Marangu Route
When Is The Best Time To Climb Kilimanjaro? 2

Kilimanjaro Climate Zone 2 – Heath

2,800m – 3,400m

Precipitation: 500mm – 1,800mm

Sparser and drier than the forest. The heath includes bearded lichen hanging from the trees.

Kilimanjaro Climate Zone 3 – Moorland

3,400m – 4,000m

Precipitation: 400mm – 1,300mm

The moorland is home to unique vegetation, such as the alien-looking giant groundsels that tower overhead.

moorland zone on Kilimanjaro
When Is The Best Time To Climb Kilimanjaro? 3

Kilimanjaro Climate Zone 4 – Alpine Desert

4,000m – 5,000m

Precipitation: 250mm

Cold and dry, the alpine desert’s windswept, rocky landscapes have often been compared to the surface of the moon. The temperature here can vary from over 30 degrees Celsius during the day to below freezing point at night.

when is the best time to climb kilimanjaro
When Is The Best Time To Climb Kilimanjaro? 4

Kilimanjaro Climate Zone 5 – Arctic

5,000m+

Precipitation: 100mm

Near the summit, Kilimanjaro transforms into a frozen world of glittering ice and snow. You’ll feel like an Arctic explorer on your last steps to Uhuru Peak!

Temperatures are extremely cold at night and the sun is powerful during the day. You definitely need strong sun cream up here. The oxygen level is half that of sea level in the arctic zone.

If you’ve decided when you want to trek Mount Kilimanjaro, then you can check out our upcoming dates for our Kilimanjaro trek. 

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