Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro?

The first step in planning your Kilimanjaro climb is choosing when to go.  The biggest factor in determining when to make your climb is the obviously climate.  While you can certainly climb Kilimanjaro all year round, there are certain times of the year that lend themselves to increase your comfort, summit success, and ultimately, your overall experience on the mountain.

The two main trekking seasons naturally revolve around the two dry seasons of Mount Kilimanjaro.  However, Kili is so vast that it creates its own weather.  This makes it next to impossible to predict the weather day-to-day or even hour-to-hour!  Here we lay out the details of each Kilimanjaro season.  It is important to remember that these are characteristics of each season and not guaranteed.  You may get rained on multiple days during the dry season and on the other end of the spectrum, you may not get a single drop of rain during a wet season climb.

The four Kili seasons are detailed below.  We have listed them in order of our recommended seasons to climb.

Kilimanjaro’s Dry Seasons

Elite Kilimanjaro’s Group Climb schedule revolves around the dry seasons on Kili.  This is because there is a natural demand to climb when it is most comfortable, safe, and enjoyable.  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.