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Best Time to Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro

When to Climb

Best time to Hike Mount Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro isn’t an easy feat. Thus, knowing the best time to ascend the mountain is the best way to ensure reaching the peak. So, when is the best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? The best time to climb the highest-free standing mountain in the world is during Tanzania’s dry season. This means it would be best to scale from December to March or the middle of June to the end of October, which are the driest months in Tanzania.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a mighty challenge, but practically everyone can do it. In addition, if you’re a newbie to trekking, camping, living outdoors or high altitude, you might find the hike up Kilimanjaro quite challenging indeed.

Thus, it’s essential to scale the mountain during the driest months in Tanzania and avoid climbing in April, May and November as these are the rainy seasons in the country.

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Best month to climb Kilimanjaro - monthly overview

The Mount Kilimanjaro weather affects your climb and your success chances. When to climb Kilimanjaro is an important decision. Bad weather on Kilimanjaro not only makes for a miserable trek and ruins your photos, most importantly it simply makes the climb twice as hard! You are a LOT more likely to reach the summit if the weather on Kilimanjaro is good. Mount Kilimanjaro is near the equator. In the tropics there is no such thing as summer and winter. There are only dry and rainy periods. Or “dry seasons” and “wet seasons”.

The main rainy season lasts from the end of March through to mid June. As elsewhere in the world, when exactly it rains and when it stops is impossible to predict. It’s the warmest time of the year in Tanzania, but those months are so wet that many operators simply do not offer climbs in April/May at all.

The rain gradually decreases, and so do the temperatures on Kilimanjaro. The weather on Kilimanjaro is fairly dry and clear but the nights will be bitter cold. June is quiet, but the number of climbers increases as the year progresses.

August and even more so September is the peak climbing season on Kilimanjaro. The weather is good with many clear days and warmer than in June/July. You may, however, get clouds blanketing the forest/moorland zone, and on the southern routes you may get rained on on the first days. But once you leave the rain forest behind all is good! The good conditions last into about mid October when the build up for the short rains begins.

The weather on Kilimanjaro becomes more unstable and the number of climbers drops. As in all tropical regions of the world, the wetter time of the year announces itself with afternoon clouds and occasional thunderstorms. As long as you are equipped to withstand the occasional shower, this should not present any major problems.

November is the small rainy season, and the rain lasts into mid December. The temperatures have dropped and the rain brings with it all the hazards that I described at the top of the page. Not the best time to climb Kilimanjaro.

The four to six weeks around Christmas and New Year are the second peak climbing season on Kilimanjaro. Traffic is extremely high despite there still being a good chance of rainfall and thick clouds in the lower regions. It’s not a time I would choose.

Mid January to mid March is also a good time to climb Kilimanjaro. The weather is reasonable, not too cold, not too wet, and there aren’t as many climbers. The days are mainly dry, beautifully clear with few clouds and occasional brief showers. In March the chances of rain gradually increase as you approach the long rainy season. See above.

Conclusion: When we recommend to climb Kilimanjaro

We recommend climbing Kilimanjaro in the months of January to February. These months are the driest in Kilimanjaro, offering you the best views and many perfect-pictures opportunities. Furthermore, December to mid-March and mid-June to the end of October are also the best times to visit the mountain. If you would like to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and have your own dates in mind, get in touch with our team of Kilimanjaro specialists here at Travel Route Africa.

Mountain

Climate zones in mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro comprises five primary ecological climate zones — the Cultivation (Farmland) Zone, Rainforest Zone, Heather and Moorland Zone, Alpine Desert Zone, and the Arctic Zone

  • Altitude Range: 2,600 to 6,000 ft. or 792 to 1,800 metres
  • Days Temperature Range: 21 to 32 ℃ or 70 to 90 °F
  • Nights Temperature Range: 4 to 15 ℃ to 40 to 60 °F

Zone 1 on Kilimanjaro is the Cultivation Zone. The altitude ranges from 792 m to 1,800 m. You can find plenty of human activities in this zone and see grazing livestock and small farm operations.

You can also find several rivers formed by the glacier run-off on the top of the mountain. Most of the porters and guides are from this part of Kilimanjaro.

  • Altitude Range: 6,000 to 9,200 ft or 1,800 to 2,800 metres
  • Days Temperature Range: 21 to32 ℃ or 70 to 90 °F
  • Nights Temperature Range: 4 to 15 ℃ or 40 to 60 °F

The rainforest zone is the montane found encircling the whole mountain, also known as the rain forest. This forest is dense and wet and is home to many birds and other animal species.

Ever since the increase of human activity in the area, the big game has been rare, but plenty of monkeys and birds are around.

  • Altitude Range: 9,200 to 11,000 ft or 2,800 to 3,350 metres
  • Days Temperature Range: 10 to 27 ℃ 50 to 80 °F
  • Nights Temperature Range: -1 to 15 ℃ or 30 to 60 °F

As you enter the Heather and Moorland zone, you’ll be greeted by the majestic views of giant heathers and tussock grasses, as well as the scrubby shrubs. When you ascend, the average temperatures drop.

You’ll also see giant lobelias and senecios, which have developed unique characteristics, allowing them to adapt to the drastic temperature changes of the place.

  • Altitude Range: 13,200 to 16,500 ft or 4,020 to 5,030 metres
  • Days Temperature Range: -12 to 15 ℃ or 10 to 60 °F
  • Nights Temperature Range: -12 to 4 ℃ or 10 to 40 °F

The Alpine Desert Zone is barren and bleak. Thus, only the toughest plants exist in this area. You’ll often see tussocky grass and small hardy plants with only little flowers in this landscape.

Furthermore, rugged rock formations and scenic views mainly dominate this area.

  • Altitude Range: 16,500 to 19,340 ft or 5,030 to 5,895 metres
  • Days Temperature Range: -12 to 4 ℃ or 10 to 40 °F
  • Nights Temperature Range: -26 to -7 ℃ to -15 to 20 °F

The Arctic zone is dry and freezing-cold during nighttime, opposed to the intense sunshine during the day. Due to the shortness of available oxygen at sea level, this part of Kilimanjaro is dominated by massive glaciers and towering boulders.

In this area of Mount Kilimanjaro, there are no animals or plants present except for lichens since the climate here is extremely cold. At nighttime, temperatures are typically below the freezing point.

During the day, as you set off to climb Kilimanjaro’s peak, there could be ice and snow underfoot. Also, expect the temperature to be bitterly cold even in the middle of the day.

Thus, it’s wise to bring sunscreen to protect your exposed body parts as the dry air can dehydrate you quickly. You’ll also need warm layers of clothing to keep your core temperature up.

Hiking Tips

Ultimate Kilimanjaro Hiking Guide

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2023-12-18
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Wonderful Experience!! I really enjoyed spending time with my family visiting the beautiful Tarangire National Park. Tariq and the team were very accommodating and made sure all our need and wishes were catered too hence making the experience one to definitely remember. Looking forward to booking them in the future for a well deserved visit to Serengeti!! would def recommend to anyone looking to enjoy a safari visit
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2023-10-26
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Moshi kilamanjaro I went to moshi and did the waterfall coffee tour. The tour was amazing and fun. The locals were so kind and accommodating. Tariq was a great tour guide. Even though Im afraid of heights they made me feel safe during the hike. Getting to the waterfall was a Beautiful experience. I would recommend this company to a friend. Moshi is so beautiful I wanted to live there.
gilard
gilard
2023-10-18
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well organised trip and affordable prices I loved my trip up Kilimanjaro withTravel Route. I was picked up at the airport by Emmanuel. The hotel I stayed at the day before the trek was nice and even had a pool which was good for relaxing before the climb. I went on the Machame route, which was great. It's beautiful and the climb was manageable. The guides were encouraging, helpful, cheerful and knowledgeable. The tents we stayed in on the climb were nice and we even had sleeping mats, which made for a comfortable sleep. The food on the climb was plentiful and better than I expected it to be. Overall it was a great experience and I would highly recommend Travel Route to anyone thinking about about climbing Kilimanjaro.
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2023-10-18
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Best experience Had a lovely Trip in Tanzania thanks to travel route would definitely recommend them for your trips they have fair and suitable prices and service .Be assured to get the best experience with them cheers!
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Charlie R
2023-10-15
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Trip was absolutely amazing, From the Itinerary to the Wildlife our guide was so professional with a lot of stories Highly recommended. Best in the Wild, the team is so friendly makes every guests feel comfortable, very professional and informative
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Malcom K
2023-08-16
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Highest Point of Africa with Friends An incredible experience with Travel Route Africa on Mount Kilimanjaro! The guides (Inno, Tadei, Urio, Tariq, too many names to mention:) were knowledgeable and supportive, ensuring safety and comfort. Well-planned itinerary from Niko and the team, breathtaking landscapes, and a fantastic team. A dream fulfilled with my friends as we summited Kilimanjaro together. Highly recommended!
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2023-08-16
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6 DAY MARANGU ITINERARY if you need to enjoy your tour in Tanzania especially hiking mount kilimanjaro this company are the well expert. Every single day towards our Dream was spotless. The whole team made the experience unique and precious and something that we will never forget.
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