Best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

You can climb Kilimanjaro any month of the year, however, you should consider three main factors in choosing your climb date. First is the weather, second is how busy the trek will be and third, is the timing of the full moon.

The weather on any high altitude mountain can be changeable and unpredictable and Kilimanjaro is no different. Just because it is the dry season is no guarantee that you will not see rain!!

Generally, though this is a good rule:

Best month to climb Kilimanjaro

January to March

January to March is warmer with only the occasional brief shower. It is often quieter than the other peak season of June to October, which coincides with the main school holidays in Europe.

April and May

April and May are the rainy months and generally, to be avoided if possible- of course, everyone thinks that so it is quiet. During these months, the trails are muddy and slippery especially in the rainforest zone.

June to October

June to October are also good months to climb but can be a little colder than January to March. This is the main high season and therefore busier than at other times. Generally these months are good for climbing as the trails are dry and favourable timing for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

November & December

November is the time of the short rains and again is generally avoided as it is also starting to get cold

December – the short November rains have subsided and it is now getting clearer and warmer. It is more likely that you will experience snow at this time of year.

Best Route on Mount Milimanjaro

Lemosho Route

Approaching from the west, the Lemosho route is a relatively new route and is one of the best for scenery. It is one of our highly recommended routes, not only for its stunning scenery, but also due to its steady incline and better acclimatisation. The first two days of the climb are quiet and have relatively low traffic, before joining the more popular Machame route.

Distance: 45 kilometres
Success Rate:  Lemosho route has one of the highest success rates due to better acclimatisation, especially if you do 8 days or more.

Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Season

Best Season to Climb Kilimanjaro?

The first step in planning your Kilimanjaro climb is choosing when to go.  The biggest factor in determining when to make your climb is the obvious climate.  While you can certainly climb Kilimanjaro all year round, there are certain times of the year that lend themselves to increase your comfort, summit success, and ultimately, your overall experience on the mountain.

The two main trekking seasons naturally revolve around the two dry seasons of Mount Kilimanjaro.  However, Kili is so vast that it creates its own weather.  This makes it next to impossible to predict the weather day-to-day or even hour-to-hour!  Here we lay out the details of each Kilimanjaro season.  It is important to remember that these are characteristics of each season and not guaranteed.  You may get rained on multiple days during the dry season and on the other end of the spectrum, you may not get a single drop of rain during a wet season climb.

The four Kili seasons are detailed below.  We have listed them in order of our recommended seasons to climb.

Kilimanjaro’s Dry Seasons (Best Time)

Mount Kilimanjaro Routes’s Group Climb schedule revolves around the dry seasons on Kili.  This is because there is a natural demand to climb when it is most comfortable, safe, and enjoyable.  The two dry seasons on Kili are very similar but have slight variances.

January to mid-March

January to mid-March will be slightly colder than the latter and there is a higher chance of encountering snow on your summit bid.  You do still have the chance of light precipitation, but the plus side is that the days are typically much clearer, offering breathtaking views as far as you can see.  We believe it is a fair trade-off.  Traffic is a little lighter in the first Dry Season as many travellers climb during their school breaks between June and October.  

June to October

While the clouds typically linger around the tree-line during this season, once you are above them, the sky is crystal clear with minimal chance of precipitation.  This is the busier dry season, but if you are travelling alone and wish to join others for a Group Climb, this is the best time to do so.  If you are looking for isolation on your climb, you can still find it during this season.  While your camp might be busy, Kilimanjaro is so vast that once you are on the trail, others will quickly disappear into the distance.

Kilimanjaro’s Wet Seasons (Worst Time)

Mount Kilimanjaro also has two Rainy Seasons, known as the long rainy season and short rainy season.  If you are hoping to have a snow-covered peak in your Uhuru pictures, this is your greatest chance.  The other benefit of climbing in the rainy season is the privacy on the mountain.  You will receive a Wet Season discount if you book with Mount Kilimanjaro Routes.  We have received increasing interest in wet season group climbs.  If this is something you would like, send us a note using the Contact Form.  We love to hear suggestions from Kilimanjaro community!  If there is enough interest, we may add a few groups.

March to May (Long Rainy Season)

This is the main wet season on Mount Kilimanjaro.  During this time the heavier rains are concentrated on the Southern side of the mountain.  The first couple of days will be spent trekking through low lying clouds.  Once above the clouds, all should be clear.  If you choose to climb Kilimanjaro during this season, we will recommend either the Rongai route or Marangu Route.  The Rongai Route offers a trek from the Northside which receives much less rain during this season.  The Marangu Route offers sleeping huts which will bring a much welcome break from the rain while at the camps.

November and December (Short Rainy Season)

Most of the rains are below 3000 meters and skies are typically clearer above.  The Northern side of the Mount Kilimanjaro receives most of the rain during this season, although overall precipitation levels are much lower during this wet season.  Again, the benefit of climbing during the Kilimanjaro rainy season is the privacy you will have on all routes.  Don’t forget, you will receive a Wet Season Discount from Mount Kilimanjaro Routes.

One of the key planning decisions you will need to make is when to climb Kilimanjaro. There are three main things to consider when deciding when is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. The weather, of course, is always the most important consideration. Being near the equator, Kilimanjaro has no hot and cold season but it does have two rainy seasons: the long rainy season in April and May and the short rainy season in November to mid-December. You can still climb in the rainy season but there is likely to be some rain every day, often in short sharp downpours. The period with the greatest weather stability when it is mostly warm clear weather is June to October.

Kilimanjaro is a very popular destination and the mountain can tend to be rather crowded, particularly at certain times of the year. The second consideration then is how busy the mountain will be. Inevitably June to October is busier than at other times in the year. To minimise this problem during these months we generally start our treks away from the weekend and ensure that we get started early every day to get ahead of the crowds.

Finally, you should look at the cost of your flights. Flight prices can tend to vary quite a lot, both at different times of the year but also depending on the day of the week. The main summer holiday period in Europe always tends to be particularly expensive.

And of course, climbing Kilimanjaro in the full moon is magical any time of year so check out the dates with us.

Month by Month Guide of climbing Kilimanjaro

An important issue often overlooked when planning a climb up Kilimanjaro is the full moon dates. The summit ascent is nearly always done overnight and the benefit of a full moon is huge for fantastic night sky views.

We recommend climbing Kilimanjaro during this time

If you are planning to climb Kilimanjaro one of the key decisions you will need to make is when to go “Deciding the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro” comes down to looking at three things.

Of course, the weather is the most important consideration. Kilimanjaro is located near the Equator and has no hot and cold season but it does have two rainy seasons: the long rainy season in April and May and the short rainy season in mid-November to December. If you climb in these months there is likely to be some rain every day but often in short sharp downpours. The driest period is June to October when there is almost invariably warm clear weather.

The second factor to take into account is how busy the mountain will be. Inevitably more want to climb in June to October and as a result, you can find that the routes are busy. To minimise this problem during these months we generally start our treks away from Saturday or Sunday and make sure we get started early every day to get ahead of most people.

Finally, you should look at the cost of your flights. These vary quite a bit, both during the year and depending on the day of the week. The main summer vacation period in Europe always though tends to be particularly expensive.

And of course, climbing Kilimanjaro in the full moon is magical any time of year.

Choosing the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro?

If you’ve decided you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but haven’t worked out when you want to go, why not talk to one of our advisers who can help you decide. Weather conditions, flight costs and mountain-traffic should all be considered to ensure you have maximum enjoyment and value for money.

Basically though because Kilimanjaro sits so close to the equator it does not have seasons as we have in either the Northern or Southern Hemispheres- the only real difference in the weather is the timing and extent of the rainy season. You can see from the charts above just how much rain they get in the rainy season and this can make your attempt to climb Kilimanjaro tougher.

Deciding when the time to climb Kilimanjaro is ultimately up to you but whenever you choose our team will work had to make sure you have a life-changing experience. So climb Kilimanjaro with Mount Kilimanjaro Routes, the high altitude trekking specialists, for the ultimate trekking adventure any time of year.

Kilimanjaro Weather Forecast

Need Help? Chat with us
Mount Kilimanjaro Routes
Compare items
  • Total (0)