Each year, Kilimanjaro Mountain attracts adventurous travellers who are rewarded with one of the most incredible sites on the planet.
Today, I am giving you a handy guide to the best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. At the end of this post, you will be knowledgeable enough to plan your climb to Kilimanjaro at any time of the year.
Yes, Kilimanjaro might have the best time to climb but the mountain can be accessible all year round. And if you’re pressed with your personal & work schedules that you won’t be available to trek Kilimanjaro in its best time, you don’t have to worry, I will also give you the tips you need to climb Kilimanjaro in offseason.
Ready to dive in? Let’s go!
A Bit about Kilimanjaro Mountain
Mount Kilimanjaro is reputed to be the highest free-standing mountain in the world, and reaching its summit remains the dream of mountaineers across the globe.
It is no wonder, every year more than 30,000 people from all over the world try to climb the top of Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro summit is known to be 5,895 metres, the highest in Africa.
This magnificent mountain is located in Kilimanjaro region just a few miles from Arusha town which is the starting point for most Tanzania safari trips to the famous Northern Circuit.
First Climb to Kilimanjaro
It is unclear if the local people of Kilimanjaro had tried to climb this Mountain but one thing is certain, they understood the challenge and risk climbing Kilimanjaro paused enough to name the mountain Kilemakyaro, meaning an impossible journey. Kilemakyaro is the original name for Kilimanjaro
Nonetheless, the German geology professor Hans Meyer and Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller are known to be the first to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in October 1889.
This successful climb came after Hans Meyer had tried and failed in his two previous attempts to reach the top of Kilimanjaro.
In his first attempt in 1887, Meyer was forced to turn back after lacking the equipment needed to progress across the ice.
Hans Meyer’s second attempt to Climb Kilimanjaro
Determined to reach the roof of Africa, Hans Meyer this time with Oscar Baumann who was an Austrian explorer, cartographer and ethnographer made a second attempt only for the mission to be aborted after Meyer and his colleague were both held hostage following East Africa Arabs revolts against Germany colonialism (Abushiri revolt).
Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro
While Kilimanjaro is accessible almost every year, there are definitely some best months when the climbing is more enjoyable due to absence or low rainfall.
So while the mountain is there year-round, with nice weather the chance of climbing successfully is much high and climbing is less risky than when there is extreme rain, mud, snow, ice and cold.
Having said so, the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is hugely impacted or determined by the weather. Bad weather affects the scenic view, success rate and camping challenges.
The Best Months to Climb Mountain
The best time to climb Kilimanjaro Mountain can be divided into two seasons;
- From early December to the beginning of March
- From late June to the end of October.
In the table below, Ultimate Kilimanjaro put together the full year with expected temperature, precipitation, cloudiness as well as crowds in the Mountain.
During the mentioned months above the precipitation in Kilimanjaro is customarily low to medium. While it is not guaranteed that the weather in Kilimanjaro will usually be nice during the mentioned months above, these months give you the high possibility of having your climb more comfortably;
Planning your trek during the best time to climb Kilimanjaro will;
Boost your success rate
Generally, climbing Kilimanjaro isn’t easier.
To get the better of this unique Mountain which is listed among UNHCR cultural heritage sites you need nice weather, a skilled guide and quality climbing gears.
The old data by Kilimanjaro National Park Authority suggested that the general success rate for all climbers was 45%. While there is no recent data for success rate it is believed the success rate is now anywhere between 50%-60% for all climbers.
With nice weather, the success rate is boosted but bad weather increases the climbing difficulty which in return reduces success rate.
Give you a Stunning Scenic view
With less rainfall and clouds, the scenery around Kilimanjaro is something out of this world, absolutely stunning.
Unfortunately in the wet season when the rains are at their highest peak, the scenery at Kilimanjaro isn’t much great due to the heavy clouds, fog, wind and water.
Ease Camps Setting
There are no hotels in the mountain! Not even lodges for the accommodation. That makes the adventure even more amusing.
Among all 7 established routes for climbing Kilimanjaro, there is only one route with a permanent accommodation huts which is the Marangu route. In the other six routes, bandas/camps are the means of accommodation.
During heavy rains, setting these camps becomes a pain, and as a result, the trekking is made even challenging. This is another reason most companies advise planning your climb during the above mentioned best time to climb Kilimanjaro.
Summit during a Full Moon
If there is a stunning view of the Mountain is the one during a full moon.
And this happens once every month while in some years one month can experience this full moon day twice.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in a full moon day is one of the beautiful moments as the clear sky resulting from a bright moon usually helps the visibility throughout the climb making the process more enjoyable.
That is even crucial during the summit attempt which is customarily done from midnight.
Once again, Ultimate Kilimanjaro folks made a fantastic work preparing a below chart showing full moon dates form the next 4 years.
Climbing Kilimanjaro in offseason
As I have mentioned earlier, the mountain is accessible in each and every month of the year.
Unfortunately, not everyone can plan a Kilimanjaro climb during the two explained best seasons. The reason for climbing Kilimanjaro during the rainy season can be either or a combination of the following;
Not everyone has a free in the months of December, January, February, March, June, July, August, September and October.
Sometimes due to tight work schedules, one may find themselves in need to do spend their holidays in April, May or November.
At least 30,000 trekkers every year try to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Now, what does this tell? Simple, Kilimanjaro gets overcrowded sometimes and not everyone likes this.
Some climbers would prefer a quieter Mountain where they experience the trekking almost at their own. There’s nothing wrong with this, if you’re among them there are two things you may do to achieve this.
- Climbing in offseason
- Using the Northern Circuit Route
However, the Northern Circuit route cannot be for every climber since it requires a minimum of 9 days, hence climbing in the offseason becomes a more feasible option.
Weather is something natural, it may present itself in whatever way it likes and at any time. It isn’t once or twice we have seen a drier Kilimanjaro mountain during the rainy weather months and the vice versa.
As long as the Mountain is there and you’re pressed with time that you won’t be available to do your trek to Kilimanjaro during the best months, you may as well take chances with the weather and end up pulling the rabbit out of the hut.
It is without a doubt that Kilimanjaro is the dream of many Africa safari lovers.
Nothing should stop you from living your Kilimanjaro dream, even when you have a tight work schedule and you won’t be here in the best time to climb Kilimanjaro, there is a way, you can do it in the offseason.
And if you climb Kilimanjaro in the offseason, make sure to follow these tips to climb Kilimanjaro successfully in the rainy season;
- Use Rongai route, it is the driest route on the mountain with moderate precipitation during the heavy rains.
- To avoid camps setting challenges, use the Marangu route as it is the only route with permanent huts for accommodation.
- Make sure you get all required climbing equipment and the gears are in good quality
- Plan your trip with a less demanding schedule, a day extra for any emergency will do.
And the most important tip I have for you is, use an ethical professional operator who is willing to help and advice you everything you need to know about the best time to climb Kilimanjaro as well as climbing Kilimanjaro during the rainy season.
So when are you going to climb Kilimanjaro? Is it during the best time to climb or in the offseason? I would like to hear your reasons from climbing in a rainy season.