Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro
Best Tme to Climb Kilimanjaro
So you’ve decided to tackle Africa’s highest peak? Then you need to think about the best time to climb Kilimanjaro in terms of weather, hiking conditions and popularity. While it’s technically possible to hike Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania year-round, there are certain months characterized by colder weather, more rain, and potentially lots of snow at the summit.
We generally advise that the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the hottest and driest times of the year, from December to mid-March and from mid-June to the end of October. Although these are the best times for climbing weather-wise, they are also the busiest months.
Here we break down Kilimanjaro’s climbing season, off-peak alternatives and times to avoid, as well as other things to consider so you can plan the best time for your mountain adventure.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in January & February
January and February are the best months to climb Kilimanjaro and therefore the most popular month. These are the warmest months, so you can expect clear, sunny skies in the mornings and evenings, but clouds may appear in the afternoons and rain may occur.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in March, April & May
The long rainy season starts at the end of March and lasts until the beginning of June. We do not recommend climbing Kilimanjaro during this time as the trails can be very wet, muddy and snowy.
Climbing in the rain is likely to be less enjoyable and means you’ll miss out on stunning views and photo opportunities. On the other hand, if you choose to hike this time of year, you can avoid the crowds on the trails (even the most popular routes can offer solitude, peace and quiet) and campsites.
In fact, some may like to climb Kilimanjaro when the summit is likely to be covered in snow, as this can add an extra challenge (as well as beautiful scenery) to hiking the mountain.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in June
June switches from the rainy season to the dry season, making this month much drier than March, April and May. Be prepared for the cold, though, and the sky will typically remain cloudy, which means you won’t necessarily have such spectacular views.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in July, August, September or October
From July to the end of October, conditions are generally colder but much drier than in previous months. Although rain can occur throughout the year, especially when trekking through rainforest and moorland, rainfall is generally low and infrequent.
Staying dry will make you more comfortable and make your hike a more enjoyable experience overall. Another advantage of climbing during these months is that the skies will be clear and sunny and the views will be spectacular.
The downside of trekking during these months is that the trails can get quite busy, but some people enjoy chatting with other groups at the campsites. After all, team spirit is essential to get to the top.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in November
In Tanzania, the short rainy season starts in early November and lasts until early December. Afternoon rains are common, but we can expect clear skies in the morning and evening. This is not considered an ideal month for trekking Mt Kilimanjaro as conditions can be very wet, muddy and slippery.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in December
The short rainy season often lasts until December, but it is still a popular time to climb Kilimanjaro.
Climbing Kilimanjaro During Full Moon
The peak of Kilimanjaro is especially beautiful during the full moon. The glaciers are illuminated by the bright moon and the view is absolutely stunning. Another advantage of trekking at this time is that the moonlight improves visibility during the trek, which is most important during the final climb to Uhuru Peak.
Although it is not necessary to reach the peak at the exact time of the full moon to take advantage of the moonlight, many people like to reach Uhuru Peak when the moon is full.
To reach the summit during a full moon, the seven-day climb must be started five days before the full moon date, and the eight-day climb six days before the full moon date. Book well in advance as there are only a limited number of people on the mountain at any one time and these times are very popular.
If you’re looking for a quieter hike—and bright starry skies—we recommend avoiding the full moon period altogether.