Best Time to Climb Mt Kilimanjaro corresponds with the mountain’s two dry seasons. Although the weather could also be occasionally inclement, it’s recommended to climb January to mid-March and June to December.
Best Time To Climb Kilimanjaro
Kilimanjaro can trek all year round. Certain months are, however, characterized by colder weather, heavier rain, and possibly a lot of snow on the summit.
We provide a brief overview of the two trekking seasons that are the best time to climb Kilimanjaro in this article.
One of the Seven Summits of Africa
One of the seven summits of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest mountain. From highest to lowest, here are the seven summits.
- Everest (29,035’/8850m) in Asia
- Aconcagua (22,834’/6960m) in South America
- Denali (20,310’/6,190m) in North America
- Kilimanjaro (19,340’/5895m) in Africa
- The highest point in Europe is Elbrus (18,513’/5,642m).
- Carstensz Pyramid (16,023’/4884m) in Oceania
Kilimanjaro is very popular both with experienced hikers and first-time adventurers because it is regarded as the easiest of the seven summits. There are no technical skills or equipment required to scale the mountain, such as rope, harness, crampons, or ice ax. Thus, it is a hiking or “walk-up” peak, not a mountaineering or climbing peak.
The best time to trek Kilimanjaro
Winds and the Kilimanjaro weather
Kilimanjaro’s weather is heavily influenced by the interaction between trade winds and their structure.
Over the Indian Ocean, the Southeast trade winds carry a lot of moisture. As they reach Kilimanjaro, around March, they are forced upward, where they condense into clouds and precipitation. March through May is the wettest season on Kilimanjaro. These slopes are particularly susceptible to rain during this time of year.
When trekking 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 routes.
The anti-trade winds from the northeast carry very little moisture but blow strongly. In April and October, these winds are so strong that they keep the Southeast trade winds beneath them so that these months are usually dry and cloud cover and precipitation are limited to the lower slopes.
The best months for trekking
Climbing Kilimanjaro is best done during two distinct trekking seasons. The months are January-March and June-October.
Generally, January-March is colder than June-October, and snow is more likely to fall on the summit. While this may seem like a negative to some, a January-March trek often means that the slopes are quiet at this time of year.
Trekking during the June-October trekking season coincides with summer holidays in Europe and North America, so certain routes can be quite crowded.
During the wettest months at Kilimanjaro, March, April, and November are unsuitable for trekking.
During December-May, snowfall and cold temperatures are common.
An Overview of Climate Zones at Different Altitudes
As you ascend Kilimanjaro, it is important to consider the variation in weather conditions.
Kilimanjaro has four distinct climate zones.
- Tropical rainforest (*800 m-3,000 m) is warm and humid. At 2,870m, rain is frequent in the zone, particularly during the wet season. Temperatures average 12-15 degrees Celsius.
- The second zone is often called low alpine (*3,000m-4,200m) and is a semi-arid region with temperatures ranging from 5-10 degrees Celsius at 3,630m.
- The high alpine zone (4,200m-5,000m) resembles a desert. At an altitude of 4,970m, the temperature averages around freezing, and,
- Temperatures in the glacial zone are -6 degrees Celsius at the summit (above 5,000m).
The wind chill is a major factor in determining the summit temperature, even though it doesn’t seem too cold. There are almost always high winds.
As a result, the effects of cold temperatures at high altitudes are more pronounced since your body expends more attempts to get your skin and vital organs well-oxygenated in an environment that lacks oxygen.
High altitude leads to vasoconstriction near the extremities (like your hands, feet, and nose) and means that you will feel the cold a lot more. -6 degrees Celsius can feel like -20 degrees!
Frequently Asked Questions
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