Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro
One of the most frequently asked questions we get from trekkers is the one of the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. The highest mountain in Africa although situated in an area subjected to seasonal influences; it remains what it is-a mountain. And mountains pretty much have their own weather patterns, especially Mount Kilimanjaro. We have been involved in guided treks up this African icon for over 15 years and we still firmly believe that you can climb to the summit of Uhuru all year round.
No matter what time of the year you decide is best to climb Kilimanjaro you should always take the following criteria into account.
- The foothills of Kilimanjaro especially the rainforest are going to be humid and hot no matter what time of the year you decide to climb. Temperatures usually range between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity level of about 75%
- The summit of Kilimanjaro is situated at 5895m above sea level. This is considered extreme altitude and with that brings arctic conditions. Temperatures can easily drop to well below freezing point.
- Kilimanjaro is pretty unique in terms of mountaineering. The reason being is climbers trek through 5 basic climatic zones in just 6 days. From Rainforest, to Moorland, to Alpine Desert to glaciers. These zones bring with them a range of temperature variations.
- As mentioned before in determine the best time to climb Kilimanjaro, we are dealing with a massive deity of nature and snow can fall at any time of the year. And snow isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The crunch of snow and ice under your boots and the chance for a snow fight sometimes add to the fun of the climb.
- Although rainfall is also pretty much a guarantee, months like April and November tend to be the wettest months.
Rainy Seasons on Kilimanjaro
Technically the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is your entire round. However, it is probably best to try and avoid the wettest months, which are statistically, April and May. It is still possible to climb in these months but it can just get pretty miserable and unsafe. The lashing rain and freezing cold can often dampen team morale and have a massive influence on a successful summit attempt.
Temperatures on Kilimanjaro
Because Kilimanjaro is so close the equator temperature variations are not too severe. January and February are considered the warmest months while June and July the coldest. Climbing to extreme altitude is always going to bring with it freezing cold conditions no matter what time of the year you climb Kilimanjaro. That is why we follow the age old principle of ‘prepare for the worst case scenario’ in terms of the equipment you bring. Throughout your trek, temperatures vary depending on the time of day and altitude. The rainforest ranges between 80-89 degrees Fahrenheit.
So you slowly gain altitude and climb through the various ecological zones the temperatures will gradually drop. Temperatures of -15 Degrees Fahrenheit have been recorded on the summit of Uhuru. So if you live at the North Pole that is probably the best time to climb Kilimanjaro for you.
Traffic on Kilimanjaro
We would love to purchase Kilimanjaro for the Tanzanian government and keep the mountain to ourselves but unfortunately our bank balance doesn’t warrant that-Just yet. So yes there are going to be months where the amount of trekkers on the hike is going to increase dramatically. Sometimes their decision on the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is not weather related one, but purely a timing one. Most Northern Hemisphere countries take their summer vacations between August and September preempting a high volume of climbers trying to reach the highest mountain in Africa.
How to avoid the crowds?
Most climbing companies organize their planning logistics around a full moon summit. We tend to try and get clients to climb not necessarily when there is a full moon. The best time to climb Kilimanjaro from our experience is also mid-week. Most trekkers tend to start on a Friday or Saturday.
In conclusion, the ancient glaciers of Kilimanjaro will most likely be gone by 2040. The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is now. Mountains have a way of testing our character and endurance. Earning the summit is an achievement that will stay with you forever. Sometimes it’s not the weather that prevents you from summiting-it’s your mind. Overcoming hardships on the mountain will give perspective on yourself and reality. Sometimes that snow storm you get stuck in is the rite of passage to the summit that your grandchildren will hear about one day.
√√ The best time to climb
√ A good time to climb
X Not a good time to climb