The best time to climb Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro’s trekking seasons

The mountain can be climbed all year round, There are, however, a couple of rainy seasons – April-May and November-mid-December – that are best avoided. We think January-March and October are the best months as the skies tend to be clear and the mountain quieter.

The following graphs give you an idea of the temperature and precipitation on Kilimanjaro at various times of year.

Average Temperature chart

Snowfall chart

Our favourite time to climb Kilimanjaro

Frosty morning

A frosty morning in January at Barafu Camp

Personally, we like to trek in March and October. These are our favourite months. There are two main reasons for this:

1) The weather is usually good and the skies are often clear during these months.

2) Because they both fall just before the rainy seasons, they tend to be quieter than other months. People are probably afraid that the rains will come early, so opt to avoid these months. But in our experience, the rains are more likely to fail than arrive early. Thus the mountain is usually emptier, and quieter. And yet the weather is still lovely.

Note that June and late December, though they also fall outside of the rainy seasons, but only just, are not such good times to be on Kilimanjaro in my experience. The clouds tend to linger after the rainy season, even if the rains have largely finished, so views are restricted.

Full Moon and New Moon treks

We used to offer Full Moon Kilimanjaro treks – which many companies subsequently copied. We did it because we realised that the final push up the slopes of Kibo to the summit -a walk that is traditionally done at night – is best done under the light of a full moon.  Visibility is that much greater, of course, due to the brightness of the light reflected by the full moon. There is also those who say that the weather during the full moon period is more settled and calm.

Walking on the summit at dawn

Walking on some late-lying snow in June on the summit of Kilimanjaro at dawn.

These full moon treks proved very popular – to the point where our detractors/competitors started to say that they were too popular. They argued that the mountain became too crowded at this time. We disagreed then, and we still do. But if you want to enjoy the advantages provided by the full moon, but want to avoid the (imaginary) crowds, then you can always choose to climb a day or two later or earlier.

If the Full Moon doesn’t appeal, then how about a New Moon Kilimanjaro climb? After all, one of the chief pleasures of a Kilimanjaro climb is to gaze up at the stars. The lack of light pollution and the height that you are sleeping at means the Heavens are just spectacular. By choosing to climb over a New Moon, the light reflected from the Moon to the Earth is at its lowest, allowing you to see the stars at their brilliant best!

 

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