One of the most common questions that travelers have before booking their Mount Kilimanjaro trek is when is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro? Fortunately, you can climb Kilimanjaro anytime of the year, although there are certain months that are definitely better than others.
Because Kilimanjaro is located close to the equator, it doesn’t experience the same four seasons that are found in more temperate parts of the world. Instead, it has rainy and dry seasons, both of which alter the complexion of the mountain significantly.
The absolute best times to climb Kilimanjaro are without a doubt January through early-March and again from June through October. Those months feature the least amount of precipitation, making the trek to the summit less prone to storms. Conditions tend to be much drier during those months, making the hiking easier and less taxing too.
Of course, because those are usually the drier months of the year on Mount Kilimanjaro, they are also the busiest as well. During the June through October timeframe some of the routes up the mountain can get quite crowded with trekkers who are looking to take advantage of the improved weather. While January, February, and March are typically drier months as well, temperatures can be quite cold at times. This often reduces the number of visitors to Kilimanjaro, but also increases the possibility of finding snow on the summit.
We do not consider rainy season the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. The rainy season begins around mid-March and typically extends well into May. During that time of year conditions can be quite wet and stormy on Kilimanjaro, particularly along its southern face. Most climbers avoid this time of year, which makes it a very quiet time on the mountain. Adventurous trekkers who don’t mind the possibility of rain will find lots of solitude on the trail. Alternatively, this is also a good time to trek the Rongai route or Northern Circuit Routes, both of which traverse the drier, more sheltered side of the mountain.
November also brings a short rainy season that lasts into early December. Mornings and nights tend to be dry, but afternoon rain showers are quite common. As a result, this also tends to be a fairly quiet period on Kilimanjaro with few trekkers on the trail.
Ultimately, there are no bad times to climb Kilimanjaro provided you are prepared for the weather and have the proper gear. A rain jacket and pants are necessary no matter what month you decide to trek and can ensure you stay comfortable even when conditions take a turn for the worse. For most travelers it simply comes down to how many other hikers they want to encounter along the way and whether or not the possibility of rain impacts the enjoyment of their adventure. ( See also Kilimanjaro Weather )