Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro

When deciding on the best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, several factors come into play, including temperature, views, trek traffic, difficulty level, and safety. However, the most significant factor influencing these aspects is the weather. Situated in an equatorial climatic zone, Kilimanjaro doesn’t experience the traditional four seasons but rather distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet seasons typically occur in April-May and November, but predicting the exact onset and duration of rainfall can be challenging. Conversely, the dry season, encompassing the remaining months, generally offers sunnier days, though clear skies aren’t guaranteed.

The two primary climbing seasons for Mount Kilimanjaro are July-August-September and January-February, coinciding with many travelers’ summer or Christmas holidays when weather conditions are ideal for climbing. Conversely, rainy seasons in April, May, and November deter most climbers due to the high probability of trekking in drizzle. Rain softens the soil and renders rocks slippery, increasing the challenge and risk of the adventure. Despite this, landscape photographers favor Tanzania’s rainy season for capturing the snow-capped summit of Kilimanjaro, as increased precipitation results in more snow accumulation. Additionally, this time offers the opportunity to avoid crowded routes and revel in the solitude of snow-covered treks.

What is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?


The “big” rainy season starts at the end of March and continues until the middle of May. April marks the beginning of the coldest time of the year in Tanzania. These months have significantly less climbers than the rest of the year, but there is a high chance of hiking in the rain at this time of the year.


The frequency of rain gradually decreases. The weather on Kilimanjaro is fairly dry and clear in these months, but nights are still cold. June is usually quiet, sunny, and, in our opinion, much underrated in terms of climbing. It is an excellent idea to choose June for your adventure because of great weather and routes that are almost private to your climbing party. The number of climbers increases as the year progresses. Starting from July the majority of the routes will be quite busy.

The peak climbing season on Kilimanjaro is from August to September. The weather is particularly good for climbing: the days are clear and somewhat warmer than in June/July. At the same time, it may be cloudy in the forest/moorland zone, as well as it may be rainy on the southern routes (Machame and Umbwe). However, once you leave the rainforest behind, it will be sunny.

October is another unfairly ignored season: nice weather conditions last into mid-October and the number of climbers drops dramatically, giving you a good chance to enjoy Kilimanjaro treks almost alone. At the end of October, the weather becomes more changeable. As long as you are equipped to withstand the occasional rain shower, this should not present any major challenges.

November is the “small” rainy season. The rainy weather may last into mid-December. The temperatures will have dropped and mist will cover the Mountain, making your climb slightly tricky and risky, yet more challenging and exciting. November might not be the best pick in terms of weather, but gives a great opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking views of misty-covered Mount Kilimanjaro with its snow-capped peak and to take some terrific pictures.

December – January – Christmas and New Year are the second busiest climbing season on Kilimanjaro. The traffic is extremely high, although there is a good chance of rain and thick clouds at the lower altitudes of Kilimanjaro.

Mid-January to mid-March are very popular among climbers. The weather is perfectly balanced: it is neither too cold, nor too wet. The days are generally dry, though occasional rains may happen. The possibility of rain increases in the second half of March because the season of the “big rains” is approaching.

Useful Information

There are additional considerations regarding the weather on Kilimanjaro worth noting.

Should you opt to climb during a less-than-ideal time, whether to avoid peak periods or due to holiday constraints, routes like the Northern Circuit or Rongai Route offer advantages? The northern side of the mountain tends to be drier compared to other routes, making it a favorable choice for those seeking better weather conditions with fewer crowds. Routes such as Rongai, Lemosho, and the Northern Traverse typically see less traffic compared to the busier Machame and Marangu routes.

At Safari with a Heart, we believe that Mount Kilimanjaro offers an enjoyable experience year-round. The key lies in preparation: while September may require only one set of thermal underwear and Gore-Tex membrane gear, November may demand three sets to ensure comfort during the climb, especially if encountering heavy rainfall. Regardless of the route or season you select, Safari with a Heart is committed to making your Kilimanjaro ascent an unforgettable journey!

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