Best time to climb Kilimanjaro

As might be expected of an isolated massif of its immense magnitude, Kilimanjaro supports a microclimate - indeed, several different altitude- and rainfall-related microclimates - that bears little resemblance to conditions on the surrounding plains. Precipitation is largely associated with moist trade winds that blow inland from the Indian Ocean towards Kilimanjaro’s southeastern slopes, which tend to receive far more rain than their northern counterparts.

Broadly speaking, the slopes below 3,000m are warm, humid and well-watered, with an annual rainfall of up to 2,000mm supporting a classic equatorial swathe of lush montane rainforest. Between 3,000m and 4,000m, the climate is significantly dryer and cooler, while the higher reaches of the mountain receive very little rainfall, and effectively support an alpine desert characterised by extreme daily temperature shifts, often dripping below freezing at night before soaring to above 30°C in the heat of the day.

rongai route glaciers kilimanjaro

Above 5,000m, the mountain supports a permanent glacial ice cap. This covered around 20km² and buried the main caldera of Kibo when the mountain was first surveyed in the late 19th century, but now extend over less than 2km², largely as as a result of global warming, and at the present rate of retreat, it will most likely vanish entirely before 2060. Though it can be quite warm by day, temperatures might drop as low as -20°C on the summit, and the wind chill factor makes it feel even colder.

Because Kilimanjaro lies so close to the equator, there isn’t a great deal of monthly variation in average minimum and maximum temperatures, so this shouldn’t be a big factor in your timing. By contrast, rainfall on Kilimanjaro is highly seasonal, and it is definitely worth aiming to climb during one of the dry seasons (January to March/June to October) and avoiding the long rains that fall over of April to May. The dry season is not only more pleasant, but it improves your chance of summiting, as conditions are less tiring underfoot and hiking boots and other gear are less likely to be soaked.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 1

Moshi, arrival
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 2

Find your feet to Machame Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 3

A nice day to New Shira Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 4

Up to Lava Tower and down to Barranco Camp
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 5

Over the great Barranco wall to Karanga Valley
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 6

To Barafu for a few hours rest
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)


day 8

Celebrations
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)
  • Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

day 9

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Climbing Kilimanjaro in September

Credit: Bookmundi Dry and relatively warm weather can be expected, making September ideal for climbing Kilimanjaro in climatic terms, though extreme cold and possibly high winds are normal in the alpine and arctic zones. September coincides with summer holidays in Europe and North America, so the mountain tends to be very busy. Avoid the Marangu or Machame Routes in preference for the…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in January

Extreme weather conditions are a likelihood at all times of year, especially at higher altitudes, where subzero nocturnal temperatures are often exacerbated by wind. But January is usually a good month to climb Kilimanjaro in climatic terms. It is quite dry and relatively cool, which reduces the impact of humidity on the lower slope and improves the likelihood of extensive snow on the…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in April

April is by far the wettest month on Kilimanjaro and should be avoided at all costs. If that isn’t possible, use the Rongai Route on the dryer northern slopes. Whichever route you use, extreme weather - temperatures way below freezing and high winds - is likely at higher altitudes. ...

Affordable Kilimanjaro climb

The biggest costs associated with a Kilimanjaro climb are the high park fees and support costs. There is no way around these, but it will help keep things affordable to form or join a group of like-minded hikers, rather that travelling solo or as couple, and to stick to the very busy Marangu Route, which is the only one with mountain huts at every overnight stop, and poses fewer…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in May

Credit: Modern Day Marco May is very wet and although rainfall is lower than April, the ground may be waterlogged and forest trails will still be very slippery. Climbing Kilimanjaro is best avoided in May, though it does have the advantage of being very uncrowded. If you do hike at this time of year, best to choose the Rongai Route, which ascends the dryer northern slopes. Even then,…

Climbing Kilimanjaro in November

November is a wet month, even by Kilimanjaro’s soggy standards, so it isn’t an optimum time for climbing. As is the case throughout the year, ground temperatures drop below freezing at night at higher altitudes, but November is colder and windier than average. Avoid if possible. ...

Popular Kilimanjaro National Park Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Landscape | Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

Machame Route Up Kilimanjaro (7 days)

For the average climber, Machame is probably the most reliable route to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and the roof of Africa...

Mountain View | Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro (13 days)

Two Peak Challenge: Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro (13 days)

Summit two of Tanzania's iconic mountain ranges in under two weeks...

Ready to start your adventure?

Your tailor-made African holiday starts here...

How can we get hold of you?

How many people will be travelling?

Details

Please tell us more about your travel plans?


Discover Africa needs the contact information you provide, to us to contact you. You may unsubscribe from these communications at anytime.

Submitting your inquiry

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Reference:


   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    8AM - 5PM GMT+2