Whilst it is possible to trek Kilimanjaro year round, there are certain months are which are characterised by colder weather, more rain and potentially lots of snow on the summit.
We generally advise that the best time to climb Kilimanjaro is during the warmest and driest times of year – from December to mid-March and mid-June to end of October.
However, although these are considered to be the best times to climb the mountain in terms of weather, they are also the busiest months.
January & February
January and February are popular months to trek Mt Kilimanjaro. They are the warmest months and you can expect clear, sunny skies in the mornings and evenings, however clouds may appear in the afternoons and you may experience some rain.
March, April & May
The long rainy season starts at the end of March and continues through to early June. We do not recommend climbing Mt Kilimanjaro during this time as the trails can be very wet, muddy and snowy. Climbing in the rain is likely to be less enjoyable and it means that you’ll miss out on the spectacular views and photo opportunities, however if you do choose to trek at this time of year you’ll avoid the crowds on the trails (even the most popular routes can offer solitude, peace and tranquillity) and at the campsites.
Some people relish the idea of climbing Kilimanjaro when the summit is likely to be snow-capped as this can add an additional element of challenge to your trekking adventure.
June sees the transition from the rainy season to the dry season. It tends to be much drier than March, April and May, however you should be prepared for cold temperatures and the skies are typically still cloudy which means that you won’t necessarily have such impressive views.
July, August, September, October
From July until the end of October the mountain is generally colder, but it is much drier than the previous months. Whilst there is a chance of getting rained on throughout the year, particularly as you trek through the rainforest and moorlands, typically the precipitation is low and infrequent. If you remain dry you’ll be more comfortable and the trek will be a more enjoyable experience overall. Another advantage of climbing during these months is that you’ll have clear and sunny skies and spectacular views.
The disadvantage of trekking during these months is that the trails can be quite busy, however some people welcome the opportunity to chat with other groups whilst at the campsites.
Wayfairer Top Tip: If you’re keen to avoid the crowds as much as possible we suggest the Lemosho Route which is considered to be the best and most beautiful route on Mt Kilimanjaro. The trek begins on the lower slopes of the mountain and follows a wilderness trail passing through pristine and remote rainforest up to the Shira Plateau. This trail is less crowded than the other, busier routes and during the first few days of your trek you’re away from large crowds.
The short rainy season starts at the beginning of November and continues until the beginning of December. Afternoon rains are common, but you can expect clear skies in the mornings and evenings. This is not considered an ideal to trek Mt Kilimanjaro as the conditions can be very wet, muddy and slippery.
The short rainy season often runs into December, however it is still a popular time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Mt Kilimanjaro during Full Moon
During a full moon, the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro is particularly. The glaciers are lit up by the bright moon and the views are absolutely stunning. Another advantage of trekking at this time is that the moonlight will improve your visibility throughout your trek, most importantly during your final ascent to Uhuru Peak.
Whilst it is not necessary to summit on the exact full moon date to take advantage of the moonlight, many people wish to reach Uhuru Peak when the moon is at its fullest. If you do wish to summit on a full moon a 7-day climb should start 5 days before the full moon date and an 8-day climb should start 6 days prior to the full moon date. If you’re interested in summiting Mt Kilimanjaro on a full moon please ensure that you book well in advance as only a limited number of people are allowed on the mountain at any time and these dates are very popular. Wayfairer Top Tip: If you’re looking for a quieter trek – and a sky full of bright stars – we recommend that you avoid the full moon period altogether.
Click here to read our guide to Mt Kilimanjaro, the Lemosho route.