Best time to climb Kilimanjaro


Kilimanjaro is virtually on the equator, so the lower slopes are generally hot and dry reaching 25°C during the day. This quickly dips with each ecological zone however, open heathlands, alpine desert and then, at the summit, categorically Arctic. Uhuru Point’s nighttime temps are between -7 to -29°C. Kili has a couple of rainy seasons but not ones that put a stop to the trekking. But they do put a stop to the crowds. The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is really when you feel physically and mentally ready to do so.

When to trek Kilimanjaro

a month by month guide

January, February and the first half of March are the warmest months, with wonderful clear skies mornings and evenings, making these very popular times to climb. Although you may get a few showers during the day.

June, July and August are the “winter” months in Tanzania. Although it’s still warm during the day, nights are cold. Kili is chilly year-round anyway but, if you are combining your trek with other activities, the days will be warm but the nights and early morning safaris are cold.

August and September are peak seasons
, so if you want to avoid busy trails you might want to consider another time of year. It is , however, also migratory season for wildlife if you want to add a safari into the already magical mix. September is a little quieter and also warmer than August.

Climbs around full moons are very popular for obvious reasons.

There is a rainy season in April and May
, which generally means one pretty heavy rainstorm every day on Kili. However, even that is not guaranteed and it doesn’t last for hours with most of the rain hitting the coast. So although some people want to avoid this, others embrace it, as rain equates with more solitary slopes.

There is another shorter rainy season from November to December, although the showers are short, and quite refreshing too. October is usually a great time for climbing, getting in just before the rains do, but when many of the crowds have gone home.

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Paul Deakin, Kilimanjaro expert at our supplier Private Expeditions shares his thoughts on the best time to trek Kilimanjaro:

“Personally, I love January and February on Kilimanjaro, when it is generally dry, clear and not very busy. And in terms of time of day, if you can get to the rim of the crater for dawn, and see the sunrise, it is absolutely breathtaking. Because you are so high and there are no other mountains around, you can actually see the curvature of the earth. It is the only place I can think of when you are actually aware that the earth is curved.”
Andrew Appleyard, from our supplier Exodus:

“I think that one of the best times for trekking Kilimanjaro is late September, as the crowds have gone home so the routes are quieter. The Serengeti is still in Great Migration season too, and so packed with wildlife but not so many people.”
Photo credits: [Top box: Kyle Taylor] [Tip: Kyle Taylor]
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