You want to climb Kilimanjaro and you are wondering when would be the best time to do so. Let’s start with the good news: You can basically climb Kilimanjaro all year round. And the other news? It’s hard to read the weather on the mountain and to come up with one defining answer. After all, if you are trekking on Kili, you are covering five climate zones, each about 1000 meter in altitude. Every zone comes with its own little climate. It may sound like a cliché, but the mountain indeed does create its own weather.
Before we give you our opinion on what the best season for climbing Kilimanjaro is, we also want you to have a look at the five climate zones we talked about in our introduction. It is important to be aware of these climate zones as they have a big impact on the weather on the mountain. It is because of altitude that you can not give a one-dimensional answer to questions about temperatures and rainfall.
Kilimanjaro and Trade Winds
The weather on Kilimanjaro is not only controlled by climate zones but also by trade winds. Because of that same altitude, those trade winds have a massive impact on the climate on and around the mountain. The arrows in brown in the images below are representing the Southeastern trade winds. These build up in the Indian ocean and bring a lot of moisture to the African continent. As these winds hit Mount Kilimanjaro, it starts to rain. This is great for the farmers on the lower slopes of mountain, but not so great for trekkers who choose any route other than the Rongai route, which summits Kilimanjaro from the North. This the best route when choosing to trek to Uhuru Peak during the rainy season. The rainy season lasts from mid-March to the end of May.
[caption id="attachment_3087" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Wikimedia Commons[/caption]
The yellow Northeastern trade winds are, from a trekker’s point of view, not so dramatic as their Southeastern brothers. As they lose most of their wetness way before hitting the roof of Africa between June and September, they are the winds climbers of Mount Kilimanjaro want to have. Rain can still occur in the cultivated zone and the rainforests, but further up adventurers can expect the African sun to live up to her potential. Think cool nights and warm days. As the entire mountain will be good for trekking in these months and the Northern Hemisphere is on holidays, you can expect high numbers of trekkers on the most popular routes like the Machame, Lemosho and the Marangu Route.
Trekking All Year Round
Because Mount Kilimanjaro doesn’t have any seasonal opening and closing times, trekking is possible all year round. The dry season being rather busy, trekkers actually consciously choose the wetter months to come to Tanzania. As long as you have some serious waterproof gear on your packing list and you are confident of your trekking skills, this will also not be a problem.
The temperatures in the months of October, November, and December are moderate and you can expect fewer crowds. If you have the luxury of choosing any other months than the usual school holidays, then we can recommend you to go trekking on Kili in these months. January and February, when the temperatures are high, you can expect a lot of climbers on the mountain. It is then when the Southern Hemisphere is off from school and work.
So when should you climb Kilimanjaro? If you have to choose between a few months, choose the most convenient one. Weather does not necessarily have to be a deciding factor if you prepare yourself well. Be aware of the weather predictions and take last-minute precautions if the forecast asks for it. The best season for climbing Kilimanjaro? If you ask us, any season is the best season. Let’s go!
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