When is the Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro can be climbed all year round. However, you should be thoughtful while deciding when to take your trip. You’re going to spend quite a sum of money, so you don’t want to ruin the trip by picking a crappy time to go.
Because Tanzania is near the equator, the country does not have four seasons like we do in the USA or UK. Instead, there are wet and dry seasons. The main dry season occurs during our summer (July) and goes through fall (October). This is generally considered the optimal time to climb Kilimanjaro. Rain and snow and blizzard-like conditions are least likely to occur during the main dry season.
The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the main dry season, from July to October.
The negative aspect of climbing at this time is that the mountain becomes very crowded. On any given day, there can be a thousand people at your campsite! But if you have to choose between being relatively alone with miserable weather, or crowded with beautiful weather, I’d opt for the second choice.
Now the other option is to climb during the short dry season, which is from January to February, which lessens the crowds somewhat. The chances of having great weather are still very high, but because these two months are bookended by rainy seasons, it’s possible that the rainy seasons run long or start early.
For those who truly want to be left alone, you can climb during the rainy seasons. The long rainy season goes from March to June, and the short rainy season goes from November to December. However, you must be willing to brave the wet trail conditions to do this. This should only be done if you have done wet weather backpacking before. First time trekkers should never climb during the rainy season. The difficulty and discomfort are exponentially higher at this time.
If you are wondering about how cold it will be, it can always be bitter cold. It is far more important to come while it is dry than to try to come during the relatively warmer months. The few degrees do not amount to much, but being soaked on the trail will.
Mount Kilimanjaro’s weather is unpredictable. All climbers should be prepared for rain and cold regardless of the time of year.
Temperatures in the various climate zones on the mountain remain fairly constant all year round; however the range in temperatures between the rainforest and the arctic summit zone is vast and can differ by up to 50 degrees. You will trek through five ecological zones during your Kilimanjaro climb and you should be prepared for any weather condition imaginable. With good planning, proper clothes and equipment, this should not be of concern. No matter which route you decide to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, your daily routine will basically be the same.