When is the best time to climb mount Kilimanjaro?
One of the questions we’re probably asked most often is “when is the best time to climb mount Kilimanjaro?”
It’s an excellent question! Read on to find out more about what you can expect from the weather when you’re climbing mount Kilimanjaro at different times of year.
What’s the weather like up there?
As with many massive mountains, the weather on Kili depends on what the wind is doing at any given time. Luckily – the wind follows some predictable patterns in this area of Tanzania depending on the time of year.
Mid March to end of May
This period will usually be dominated by South-Easterly trade winds. Despite being classed as “The wet season”, climbing during this time is fine and – due to the height of the mountain, much of any rain brought by the wind will focus on the lower South faces. Both of our main routes focus on the North side of the mountain, until you attain the higher reaches – by which time you’re often above the clouds anyway. Consequently, this is as good a time as any to take on Kilimanjaro.
Late May to Early November
This period will be characterised by “Anti-Trade” winds from the North East. They can blow strongly forcing their way through “the Saddle” (a valley between Kili’s two peaks, Kibo and Mawenzi). These stronger Anti-Trades push down the South East winds, generally keeping the rain even lower on the South faces of Kilimanjaro. Consequently – although it can often be rather windy during the latter parts of your ascent, climb success rates in this period are still good. We generally advise against planning your climb in the main body of November when the winds are at their peak as a safety precaution.
December to February
The third of Kilimanjaro’s meteorological phases is driven by the North East monsoon. Although a monsoon might sound very wet, by the time these winds have reached Tanzania, the vast majority of their moisture has already been jettisoned. A small amount of rain will fall, predominantly on the Northern slopes of the mountain, but not enough to deter anyone with half decent gear and a good team behind them.
Although some operators will tell you that trekking season on Kilimanjaro is limited to January through to March and then June to October, we have many years experience working on this beautiful mountain and we’re confident we can give you an excellent chance of summiting pretty much year round.
Ready to find out more? Why not get in touch.
This post is listed in Training & Preparation