Best time to Climb

When is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro

When is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro

The best time to climb Kilimanjaro are the months of January through early-March and June through October. The clear skies, great views, and the sunshine makes it the best comfortable hiking conditions. However, there is always the possibility of weather changing dramatically, regardless of the season.

You can climb Kilimanjaro at any time of the year, but certain months are better than others. We recommend best to climb Mount Kilimanjaro during the driest months We avoid April and November as these are the main rainy seasons, making the trails more dangerous.

What is the best month to climb Kilimanjaro? month by month overview

Unlike the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro is never “closed”. You can trek year-round, but you need to be prepared. We do not normally offer climbs during April/May and November.

 

Kilimanjaro Climbing in January, February, and Early March

With mostly dry, clear days and good visibility, trekking conditions are ideal. Over 14,000 feet, there’s a good chance of snow, so expect some epic photo opportunities.

While this is considered “high season,” the slopes are often quieter than during the main climbing season of June to September, making it a good balance of not-too-crowded and pleasant weather.

Hikers who want to avoid crowds while still enjoying dry weather should go here.

A bonus is snow on the summit.

Kilimanjaro Climbing in March, April, and May

Early March can be beautiful, but as the month goes on, rain can set in, resulting in muddy trails, cloudy skies, and poor visibility. You can get lucky with dry weather in late March and late May, but it’s hit or miss.

Long rains occur from April to early May, making climbing impossible.

If your schedule requires you to travel during the shoulder seasons (late March to late May), be prepared for rain and avoid being disappointed by poor visibility.

You should have some trekking experience and won’t be intimidated by more difficult trail conditions.

Best for: experienced hikers who want to avoid crowds and don’t mind being exposed to the elements. The routes on the mountain’s north side are recommended.

Kilimanjaro climbing in the months of June, July, August, and September

This is the main climbing season and the busiest time on the mountain due to the best weather and US and European summer vacations. The most popular months are July and August, so if you want to avoid crowds, go in June or September, or October if you don’t mind a little rain.

Showers are always possible, especially in the forest, but this is a largely dry time of year. During this time, especially around the full moon, routes tend to be busier.

Best for: Climbers who don’t mind crowds (which are mostly on the Marangu and Machame routes) and want the best weather for their trip.

Kilimanjaro Climbing in October/November

In November, short rains usually arrive and last 3–4 weeks. Rain falls mostly in the late afternoon and is less persistent than in April and May (the “long rains”). During this time, the mountain is very quiet.

The Rongai or Northern Circuit routes are recommended because the northern side of the mountain is more sheltered and has less overall rainfall.

Best for: Those who want to avoid crowds and who aren’t put off by rain.

When is the best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?

Climate Conditions

Because Kilimanjaro is so close to the equator, it does not have the same four seasons as the rest of the world. Instead, it has rainy and dry seasons, which both change the appearance of the mountain.

The months of January through early March, as well as June through October, are ideal for climbing Kilimanjaro. Clear skies, beautiful views, and plenty of sunshine make for fantastic photo opportunities and pleasant hiking conditions.

These are usually the driest and busiest months of the year. Read more: Kilimanjaro Weather Guide.

Temperature

As you climb higher on the mountain, temperatures change with the seasons and within the different climate zones.

The summit zone is classified as “Arctic,” with temperatures consistently below freezing throughout the year.

The coldest months are usually December to March and June (just after the rains), and there’s a good chance you’ll see snow on the summit. As a result, the number of visitors is reduced (as compared to July through August which is the busiest time).

Season of the rains

In the Kilimanjaro region, there are two distinct wet seasons:

  • End of March to May: Heavy rains
  • November brings light rains.

The rainiest months are typically April and November, though this can vary.

The rainy season usually starts in mid-March and lasts until the end of May. On Kilimanjaro, especially along its southern face, conditions can be wet, stormy, and muddy during this time.
Even in the dry season, rain is always a possibility. That’s why we keep good wet-weather gear in our daypacks at all times.

Clouds, mist, and fog obscure visibility.

You didn’t come all this way to walk through the fog and cloudy skies. Due to cloud cover, visibility can be poor from late March to the end of May, and throughout November. You won’t be able to see the panoramic views or take great photographs.

Number of climbers on Mount Kilimanjaro

The favorable weather in January through early March, and June through October, makes the mountain busier as climbing Kilimanjaro becomes more popular.

The Marangu and Machame routes are usually the ones that are overcrowded. You can still enjoy the views without too many people if you choose one of the less popular routes, such as the Northern Circuits, Rongai, or Lemosho.

Overcrowding of toilet facilities at campsites is one of the main drawbacks that climbers try to avoid when trekking during peak seasons. We look after our climbers by providing private toilet tents that are only used by our group.

The sense of camaraderie and friendships formed through meeting other climbers more than compensates for the fact that it is a bit “busy.” Many of our clients have formed lifelong bonds with people they met on the mountain.

When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro without having to deal with crowds?

The shoulder seasons, just before and after the rains, are the quietest times of year if you don’t mind getting wet and are well prepared.

If you want to be alone, it’s worth it to risk a little rain in exchange for having the mountain to yourself.

During the rainy season (April/May and November), we avoid climbing.

Choose one of the routes with less foot traffic as an alternative. During the rainier months, we recommend the routes on the mountain’s northern side, which receive less rainfall and are more sheltered.

The best company to climb Kilimanjaro with will be a dedicated operator not a travel agent

The best company to climb Kilimanjaro with will be a dedicated operator not a travel agent

Agents simply take your reservations; all of the major adventure travel companies that offer treks all over the world are simply agents. They take your reservation and then subcontract your climb to someone you have never met.

If you’re lucky, this could work out fine, but the agent has no control over what happens on the mountain, so you’ll have to hope. Furthermore, agents receive commission from the operator, which raises the price you pay. So, when choosing a company for your Kilimanjaro climb, go with one of the best operators: they can offer you a good price and have direct control over the quality of your climb.

Make sure your Kilimanjaro climb operator meets the minimum legal requirements.

Make sure your Kilimanjaro climb operator meets the minimum legal requirements.

Financial bonding should be in place to protect your money if they go bankrupt. They must have adequate public liability insurance as well as a Tanzanian Tourist Board license, both of which are required: These basic legal requirements are met by all of the best Kilimanjaro operators.

Examine the details of your preferred Kilimanjaro operator's quote.

Examine the details of your preferred Kilimanjaro operator's quote.

The fact that airport transfers are included both coming and going, that you have a good-quality hotel before and after the climb, and that all park fees are included are all important factors. Even some of the best Kilimanjaro operators list these as a local cost, which, at around $700, is a significant expense to overlook.

Inquire about the operator's guide-to-client ratio, food, and equipment.

Inquire about the operator's guide-to-client ratio, food, and equipment.

This is extremely important for your safety. We always have at least one guide for every two clients. And good tents are essential; nothing is worse than a leaky tent, and you’ll need good food and plenty of it to summit.

Make sure they are acting responsibly.

Make sure they are acting responsibly.

This may appear to be a nice to-have, but the best Kilimanjaro guide will be concerned about his guides and porters, as well as Kilimanjaro and Tanzania. A minimum of membership in the Tanzania Porters Organization (TPO) and the Kilimanjaro Guides Association (KGA) is required—TPO ensures that its members treat their porters well. The best Kilimanjaro operators follow TPOs and KGA rules. 

Also, take note of what they say about the environment: we adhere to the Leave No Trace principles, ensuring that Kilimanjaro is preserved for future climbers. The best Kilimanjaro tour companies also donate to local charities. We help a local children’s home and the porters’ association with the money that each climber gives.

See what they'll do if something goes wrong.

See what they'll do if something goes wrong.

Flights are delayed – the best Kilimanjaro operators will reschedule your climb right up until the last minute at no extra charge; luggage is lost or arrives late – a good operator should be prepared to deal with this; and some members of a group become ill – the best Kilimanjaro companies will always be able to split a group so that not everyone has to descend.

Obtain the appropriate references.

Obtain the appropriate references.

Don’t rely solely on testimonials; they’re far too easy to fabricate. Get real emails and contact people yourself, and check out an operator’s page on Facebook or Tripadvisor to see what other climbers have said. This is a fantastic way to find the best and most reputable Kilimanjaro operators to climb the mountain with.
 
So there you have it: seven tips for finding the best climber for Mount Kilimanjaro. Book with an operator instead of an agent, make sure they are operating legally, double-check what they include, ask about their social responsibility, and last but not least, get some references.