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All About Kilimanjaro Weather

The weather you will experience on Mount Kilimanjaro varies tremendously from day-to-day.  It largely depends the on the season (described below) in which you are climbing, but even more so on pure luck.  The weather is so unpredictable that you may have a climb in the rainy season without a single drop of rain OR you may have a climb in the dry season and get drenched every day!  Phil Jackson, legendary NBA coach, nailed it when he said, “It has its way with you, no matter how hard you try to control it. The trick is to experience each moment with a clear mind and open heart. When you do that, the game–and life–will take care of itself.”  Of course, he was referencing basketball, but the same approach should be taken when dealing with the fickle weather on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Climbing Seasons of Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro’s Dry Seasons

The two dry seasons on Kili are very similar, but have slight variances.

January to mid-March

January to mid-March will be slightly colder than the latter and there is a higher chance of encountering snow on your summit bid.  You do still have the chance of light precipitation, but the plus side is that the days are typically much clearer, offering breathtaking views as far as you can see.  We believe it is a fair trade-off.  Traffic is a little lighter in the first Dry Season as many travelers climb during their school breaks between June and October.  

June to October

While the clouds typically linger around the tree-line during this season, once you are above them, the sky is crystal clear with minimal chance of precipitation.  This is the busier dry season, but if you are travelling alone and wish to join others for a Group Climb, this is best time to do so.  If you are looking for isolation on your climb, you can still find it during this season.  While your camp might be busy, Kilimanjaro is so vast that once you are on the trail, others will quickly disappear into the distance.

Kilimanjaro’s Wet Seasons

Mount Kilimanjaro also has two Rainy Seasons, known as long rainy season and short rainy season.  If you are hoping to have a snow-covered peak in your Uhuru pictures, this is your greatest chance.  The other benefit of climbing in the rainy season is the privacy on the mountain.  You will receive a Wet Season discount if you book with Elite Kilimanjaro.  We have received an increasing interest in wet season group climbs.  If this is something you would like, send us a note using the Contact Form.  We love to hear suggestions from Kilimanjaro community!  If there is enough interest, we may add a few groups.

March to May (Long Rainy Season)

This is the main wet season on Mount Kilimanjaro.  During this time the heavier rains are concentrated on the Southern side of the mountain.  The first couple of days will be spent trekking through low lying clouds.  Once above the clouds, all should be clear.  If you choose to climb Kilimanjaro during this season, we will recommend either the Rongai route or Marangu Route.  The Rongai Route offers a trek from the North side which receives much less rain during this season.  The Marangu Route offers sleeping huts which will bring a much welcome break from the rain while at the camps.

November and December (Short Rainy Season)

Most of the rains are below 3000 meters and skies are typically clearer above.  The Northern side of the Mount Kilimanjaro receives most of the rain during this season, although overall precipitation levels are much lower during this wet season.  Again, the benefit of climbing during the Kilimanjaro rainy season is the privacy you will have on all routes.  Don’t forget, you will receive a Wet Season Discount from Elite Kilimanjaro.

 

How Cold is it on Mount Kilimanjaro?

The short answer?  You guessed it…It varies greatly.