When to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is an important decision one that not only affects having a successful hike but your overall experience. To your benefit we have created a list of things you should consider when you have to make the decision on when you should hike Africa’s highest mountain.
Factors you should consider when choosing when to hike Mount Kilimanjaro
Weather is the ultimate factor, the Kilimanjaro being near the equator we face only dry or wet(rainy) seasons, with dry season favored as it makes the hike less challenging therefore having more success chances. Rainy season is less favorable as you will slog through very deep mud in the first days, at higher altitude you fight your way through ice, snow, fog with moisture in your clothes, gear you will not only be facing a challenge to summit but risking your health through the process
Tip: bad weather on the Kilimanjaro will ruin you overall experience, your photos and will make the hike twice as hard
Number of people on the mountain, many hike enthusiasts will be on the mountain at favorable weather so if you prefer a hike with less visitors you should opt for the low season and carefully choose a route
Budget, on the peak season there are many group hikes which will slightly reduce the cost of the trek.
The views, if you prefer to have a certain experience like summiting on a full moon, a snowy summit, stunning sunrise and sunset views dates are to be considered as it will influence these aspects
- Full moon dates, summiting on a full moon is possible within each month, but some months are less cloudy so you get an even better experience, peak dry season (August) is the best time for a clear full moon. we also have estimated full moon dates worth to consider
- A snowy summit, some months the Kilimanjaro can have less snow & the other months it can be very snowy. You can favor a snowy summit (peak wet season) or a summit without snow again this will be down to the dates & your decision on when you should hike Kilimanjaro
- Sunset and sunrise views, during the dry season there it is less cloudy so you have even better view of the sunrise and sunset
Here is a month to month breakdown of the weather and other things you should consider before deciding when you should hike the Kilimanjaro
Late March – mid June
The rainy/wet season is usually from April to May however late march and early June is what we consider as a grey area as it can rainy or dry with weather changes rainy season can start earlier in late march and end in mid-June
Late June – August
It is expected to be past the rainy season, the weather on the Kilimanjaro will be dry and a bit colder, June is quiet but the number of hikers will increase as the year progresses
August – October
August, September are the peak season for hikers on the Kilimanjaro. The weather is good with many clear days and it is a bit colder. This conditions are good and will last to mid-October when the buildup for the short rains begins.
Number of hikers start dropping in late October to November as the weather is more unpredictable as short rains may have started or looming, this short shower rains however will last for short spans in the day as long as you are equipped you will withstand the occasional rain showers which wouldn’t present any major problem
The short rains will last into December, with few situations where they prolonged to early January. The temperatures have dropped and the shower rains will make it challenging. You should be equipped
The four to six weeks around Christmas and New Year are the second peak climbing season on Kilimanjaro. There will be many trekkers despite the high chances of rainfall and thick clouds in the lower regions.
Mid-January to mid-March is a good time to hike the Kilimanjaro. The weather is reasonable, not too cold, not too wet, and there aren't as many climbers. The days are mainly dry, beautifully clear with few clouds and occasional brief showers. This period is the warmest with clear skies from morning to evening.
About the mount kilimanjaro trail Cost of a Kilimanjaro hike
Tips you should consider if your preferred time does not fit your travel period
You may find that you travel period is at a less perfect time to fit your preferred considerations being weather, number of hikers, views, budget while this happens you should not stress out here are tips you should consider
- Consider the Rongai route, this route is on the northern side of the mountain. It is much drier than other Kilimanjaro routes
- If you prefer less crowds you should consider rongai, shira and lemosho routes which are less crowded.