Ways to Avoid the Crowds While Climbing Kilimanjaro
Although many people are intimidated to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, the mountain still gets very crowded during certain times of the year as people vow to cross the climb off their bucket list.
Is Kilimanjaro overcrowded? Since the mountain sees more than 30,000 climbers a year, you might be worried about fighting the crowds as you hike or being in overcrowded overnight camps.
Although the mountain rarely gets too crowded for comfort, you might want a quieter environment. Make sure to follow these tips from Climbing Kilimanjaro to help you avoid the crowds while climbing.
1. Consider a Private Climb
Each of our group climbs has a maximum of 10-15 climbers so we keep our groups pretty small. If you really want to ensure you have a small group though, you can book a private climb with us.
Private climbs are a great way to experience the mountain as a solo adventure with just you, your guide, and your porters.
You also have the chance to climb at your own speed which means you can get ahead of the crowds.
When you book a private climb, you can make your own schedule so you can wake up before the group climbs and set out early.
You can also begin your climb during the weekdays rather than opting to begin on the weekend when many group climbs start.
2. Don’t Climb During Peak Seasons
The main dry season on Kilimanjaro is from mid-June to the end of October. This is when most climbers come because it’s the easiest time for them to get vacation time off work or school.
So the mountain sees the most crowds during these months. If you’re willing to come during the off-season, you will experience fewer crowds.
We don’t allow people to climb during November, April, and May because the weather is too rainy and the chances of summiting are much lower. We want all our climbers to succeed so we don’t plan group or private climbs during these months.
December through March see some rain, but it doesn’t rain all day or heavily. If you climb during these months, you can still have great weather and avoid the crowds at the same time.
3. Skip the Full Moon Climbs
Kilimanjaro Full moon climbs are very popular because it makes the summit night extra special. Many people like to climb during the full moon because it makes the path well-lit and also gives you an amazing view of the moon.
Our full moon climbs tend to be completely full. Other companies also get fully booked full moon climbs which means the mountain gets extra crowded during this time.
If you’re willing, consider skipping a full moon summit for a quieter time on the mountain.
4. Choose the Kilimanjaro Routes Less Traveled
The most popular routes where we have the most climbers are the Climbing Kilimanjaro Lemosho route and the Climbing Kilimanjaro Machame route. They are well-established routes on the mountain that see the most traffic.
Since these Kilimanjaro routes are longer, they allow for better acclimatization which is one of the reasons they are so popular.
Some of the lesser traveled routes are a little harder, but they allow you to climb with fewer crowds. With the proper training and preparation, you can also have a successful summit on these routes even though many climbers find them more challenging.
Many people prefer the Marangu route since you get to sleep in dormitory huts compared to sleeping in tents.
The Northern Circuit route is also much less crowded and offers some of the best scenery and landscapes on the mountain.
5. Consider a Longer Itinerary
We understand many climbers have a short timeframe off of work so choosing a longer itinerary is not always possible.
However, choosing an option like the Climbing Kilimanjaro 9-day Northern Circuit route means you’ll experience fewer crowds because it approaches the peak from an alternative path.
Longer routes are also better for many climbers because they allow you to adjust to the altitude which means you have a much higher chance of summiting.
As one of the top tourist destinations in the world, Kilimanjaro can get very crowded, especially during the peak seasons. Don’t let this deter you from climbing though!
There are many ways to avoid the crowds on Kilimanjaro and have a quieter atmosphere.
If you’re concerned about the crowds, the best things to do are opt for a private climb, choose a less traveled route, or come during the off-season.