When Is the Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Photo Credit: Tim Sackton

Photo Credit: Tim Sackton

Written by: Kruti Patel

Kilimanjaro is large enough to have it's own weather pattern. Essentially Mount Kilimanjaro boasts a climate zone that ranges from what it feels like when you are at the equator (humid!) to what it feels like when you are in an arctic zone (cold!). Below I’ve broken down what you can expect weather/temperature wise as you cross each climate zone (you’ll cross each of these climate zones independent of the route you take).

My goal here is to break it down for you and give you the information you need to figure out when the best time to climb Kilimanjaro would be for you (after-all you might just love hiking in the rain!)

Kilimanjaro is known as the mountain that boasts five different climate zones, shown below.

  • Farmland: 2600 ft. - 6000 ft. 

  • Rainforest: 6000 ft. - 9,500 ft.
  • Heath & Moorland: 9,500 ft. - 13,200 ft.
  • Alpine Desert : 13,200 ft. - 16,500 ft
  • Arctic: 16,500 ft and higher

Since Kilimanjaro is located so close to the equator, the above zones won't experiences drastic changes in temperature when the season changes. Although the weather stays consistent within each climate zone for most of the year, I do want to point out when the rain is the heaviest (in general rainfall is below 3000m or roughly 10,000ft). 

  • March, April, May: Kilimanjaro is the first main obstacle for the south-east trade winds pushing over from the Indian Ocean. As such, during these months, Kilimanjaro experiences it's heaviest rain fall. 
  • November: During this time the north-east monsoon winds hit Kilimanjaro, however they have lost most of their moisture by they time the arrive. For this reason, during this period, there is more rain, but not nearly as much as what is seen during the months of March, April and May.

Even though there are some months when the rainfall is heavier, it's important to remember that rainfall normally only happens below 3000m (roughly 10,000ft). Also, Kilimanjaro is open year round for trekking so be sure to check out this kilimanjaro weather graphic for a summary on what to expect weather wise throughout the year!