When determining the optimal time for your Mount Kilimanjaro ascent, numerous factors merit consideration, with weather standing as the paramount influencer. The mountain’s equatorial location renders it subject to distinct wet and dry seasons, deviating from the typical four-season model.

During the wet seasons in April-May and November, Kilimanjaro experiences increased precipitation. Yet, akin to many tropical regions, pinpointing the precise onset and cessation of rainfall proves challenging. Conversely, the dry season, spanning the remaining months, generally delivers sunnier days. However, even in this period, the guarantee of unobstructed vistas remains uncertain.

Beyond weather considerations, factors like temperature, trekking traffic density, difficulty level, and safety concerns weigh into your decision-making process. Understanding these variables holistically ensures a well-informed choice for an optimal Kilimanjaro climbing experience.


hike kilimanjaro


The optimal climbing seasons for Mount Kilimanjaro typically fall between July-August-September and January-February. During these periods, many travelers coincide their holidays, benefiting from ideal weather conditions for the ascent.

Conversely, the rainy seasons of April, May, and November deter the majority of climbers. The likelihood of trekking amidst drizzle heightens, softening soil and increasing rock slipperiness, thereby elevating the adventure’s risk factor. Despite these challenges, landscape photographers find allure in Tanzania’s rainy season. Increased precipitation blankets the peak with snow, offering opportunities to capture the majestic snow-capped summit of Kilimanjaro. Moreover, this time presents a unique chance to avoid route congestion and revel in the solitude of traversing virgin snow-covered paths. the best time to climb Kilimanjaro?

The best time to climb Kilimanjaro

Each period of the year offers its own unique experience for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro:

April-May: The onset of the “big” rainy season brings colder temperatures and fewer climbers. However, rain showers are common during this period.

June-July: Rainfall diminishes, leading to dry and clear weather on Kilimanjaro, albeit with chilly nights. June is particularly underrated, offering quiet routes and sunny conditions.

August-September: Peak climbing season with optimal weather conditions. Days are clear and warmer, though rain may persist in forested areas. Routes become busier as September approaches.

October: Weather remains favorable until mid-month, with fewer climbers providing a more solitary trekking experience. Occasional rain showers are manageable with proper gear.

November: The “small” rainy season begins, continuing into mid-December. Misty conditions add challenge and excitement, though the chance of rain and clouds increases.

December-January: Despite high traffic due to holiday seasons, rain and thick clouds may dampen lower-altitude portions of the climb.

Mid-January to mid-March: Popular period with balanced weather – not too cold or wet. Days are typically dry, though occasional rain showers are possible. Rain becomes more frequent towards late March as the “big rains” season approaches.


seasons in kilimanjaro




Mount Kilimanjaro’s temperature profile is intricately tied to its four distinct climatic zones, each offering a unique environment and experience:

  1. Rainforest Zone (800m-3,000m): As climbers begin their ascent, they enter the lush rainforest zone characterized by warmth and humidity. Towering trees draped in verdant foliage create a dense canopy, fostering a rich ecosystem. Here, temperatures typically range from 12-15°C, though daytime temperatures can soar to 20-25°C at 2,900m. Climbers may spend the initial one or two days of their journey traversing this vibrant and teeming environment, depending on their chosen route.
  2. Low Alpine Zone (3,000m-4,200m): Progressing upward, climbers transition into the low Alpine zone, marked by semi-arid conditions and sparse vegetation. As altitude increases, the landscape becomes increasingly barren. Temperatures in this zone vary from 5-10°C, with daytime temperatures ranging between 15-20°C at 3,600m. Climbers may spend one or two days here, acclimatizing to the changing environment and adjusting to the cooler temperatures.
  3. High Alpine Zone (4,200m-5,000m): Upon reaching higher elevations, climbers enter the high Alpine zone, characterized by a desert-like landscape. Vegetation is scarce, and the terrain becomes rugged and inhospitable. Days four and five of the climb are typically spent in this zone, as climbers make final preparations for their summit attempt. Despite the barrenness, temperatures remain relatively mild, averaging around freezing at 5,000m. However, during the daytime, when the sun is shining, temperatures can feel surprisingly warm and comfortable.
  4. Glacial Zone (Above 5,000m): The summit of Mount Kilimanjaro lies in the glacial zone, where temperatures plummet and conditions become increasingly harsh. Here, temperatures average around -6°C, with biting winds and freezing temperatures posing significant challenges to climbers. Summit attempts usually begin at midnight to ensure climbers reach Uhuru Peak by dawn. During nighttime treks, temperatures can drop to as low as -20°C, and with harsh gusts of wind, the wind chill factor can make it feel even colder, potentially dipping below -40°C. Despite the frigid conditions, the awe-inspiring spectacle of witnessing the sunrise from the summit makes enduring the cold entirely worthwhile, providing climbers with unforgettable memories and breathtaking vistas.