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When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

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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 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 Time to Climb Kilimanjaro

January to March have average temperatures on the mountain and rainfall is low. It is not the driest season, but it is dry enough to offer a safe and enjoyable trek. This time of year offers amazing views with its sunny and clear skies.

April is the start of the wettest season. April offers the quietest routes on the mountain, although the rain and the mud make the trekking harder. May continues to follow April with the rain, although it does get drier as the month goes on. Many Kilimanjaro providers do not offer tours during the April and May period.

June, July and August are almost ideal times to tackle the mountain. Both the temperature and rainfall become steady and the trails start to dry out. However, though the temperature is warm and dry, it can get very cold during the night.

The optimum month to climb Kilimanjaro is September. The mild weather, in the region’s driest month, makes September the best month to venture up Kilimanjaro – it’s definitely my favourite.

The weather in October, November and December is very similar to the beginning of the year.

It offers warm temperatures, although the rainfall now is going to start to increase as the. months go on. December is a very popular month to climb the mountain.

snow on the final push to the summit of Kilimanjaro

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

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

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.

Alpine Desert on Kilimanjaro

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 venture up Kilimanjaro, then you can check out our upcoming dates for our Kilimanjaro trek

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