Kilimanjaro National Park is open 365 days per year, and so it is possible climb Africa’s highest mountain on any day you choose, especially if you book a private tour, but some months are considered better than others, and if you want to avoid the rains, the clouds and the crowds, it is worth doing some research before you book your trip.
Like most countries close to the equator, Tanzania does not have a summer and winter like we do in the Northern Hemisphere, but rather wet and dry seasons. Climbing Kilimanjaro in the wet season has its advantages: there is less traffic on the mountain, some tour operator’s offer discounted prices, and without the crowds, you get to witness the true beauty of this impressive mountain. But hiking 6 – 7 hours a day in the rain is not fun, and studies show that we are more likely to give up when the weather is wet and cold – so is it really worth it?
As you would expect, most people book their Kilimanjaro climb to coincide with the dry season, and by summiting during the warmer, drier months, your chances of reaching Uhuru Peak are much higher – but you should be prepared to share the mountain with several thousand other climbers.
If you are planning a Kilimanjaro Expedition, here is a rough guide of what you can expect each month of the year:
January: One of the most popular months of the year to climb Kilimanjaro, you can expect warm temperatures, low to medium rain fall, clear skies, and crowds of people! It’s busy!
February: Another great month, the weather in February on Kilimanjaro is much the same as January, although it starts to cool slightly during the end of the month. Again, crowds are high during this period.
March: If you are looking for good weather and less crowds, March is a good option. It can start to get a bit cloudy during the end of the month, so try to go within the first 2 weeks.
April: The start of the rainy season, April can be very wet and very cloudy. There are not many climbers on the mountain at this time of the year.
May: Another wet month, May see’s lots of rain and visibility is reduced due to the sheer volume of cloud cover. While it’s still possible to climb Kilimanjaro now, we wouldn’t really recommend it unless you are a hardcore mountaineer!
June: By now, things are starting to look up, and although it is very cold, June is considered a good month to climb Kilimanjaro. You should expect medium rainfall and some cloudy days, but there isn’t much traffic around.
July: It is still very cold in July, but there are plenty of blue skies around, and it can be a great time of the year to summit.
August: The start of the Kilimanjaro Climbing Season, August is a great month with low rainfall, clear skies, and slightly warmer temperatures.
September: My favourite time of the year to climb Kili, September brings warm sunny days, bright blue skies and frosty cold nights. It’s quite a busy month, so avoid the Marangu (Coca Cola) route and opt for the Rongai or Lemosho instead. In September this year you can climb Kilimanjaro during the Total Lunar Eclipse!
October: Another good month, October is slightly warmer than September, and you can expect little or no rain.
November: An ‘in between’ month, November is one of the quietest times of year on Kilimanjaro. It can be quite wet and cloudy, although not as cold as June and July.
December: Many people climb Kilimanjaro over Christmas and New Year, and so December see’s good levels of traffic. Weather-wise, it’s so-so, you will probably get a mix of sunshine and showers throughout your expedition.