When Is The Best Time To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most iconic peaks, standing tall in Tanzania and visible for hundreds of kilometres. For avid climbers, conquering its 5,895 meters is a dream come true. Yet even if summiting Kilimanjaro is not on your bucket list, many opt to make the trek up to Uhuru point. It can be a challenging journey but one that can be done if physically and mentally prepared. Knowing when to make the climb to reach its summit is a critical factor in the success of any Kilimanjaro expedition.
The experts agree that the best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is during the two dry seasons of the year – December, January and February, and June, July and August. During these times the weather is more predictable and significantly less rainy, reducing the chance of experiencing inclement weather during the ascent to the peak. Not to mention that the dry season produces clearer skies, making for an incredible summit experience.
But it’s not just the weather that you need to consider when planning the Kilimanjaro trek. With multiple routes to choose from, it’s important to pick the one that is right for you. While the Marangu route is the most traveled, due to its shorter timeline, experts agree that the Machame, Lemosho and Rongai routes are more scenic options with a greater chance of reaching the top. Each route has slightly different advantages and disadvantages depending on the season.
When considering the two dry seasons, the popular Marangu route is a good option during the short rainy season of March and April, as it is lower in elevation and is also the only route with overnight accommodation in designated mountain huts. During the long dry season, the Lemosho, Rongai and Machame routes can be added to the Marangu route for a more varied experience.
The extra time and effort taken to complete these routes can be a great investment, as higher elevations offer the best chance of a successful summit. Expert advice is to start planning at least 6 months in advance, as demand for porters, guides and other necessities such as permits and equipment can make the case for starting your Kilimanjaro climb as early as possible.
The best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro might also depend on your budget. Most climbers attempt the summit in either December or January – peak of the tourist season in Tanzania. Climbing in the dry season can sometimes make you pay higher prices during peak season. Try to allocate sufficient resources in order to travel and climb during the peak season with the most experienced guides.

Pre-Climb Training

Before planning a Mount Kilimanjaro climb, make sure you’re mentally and physically prepared. Preparing yourself with training such as long hikes and endurance sports can be a great way to help you reach the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. Soft-skill training activities such as practicing goal setting and visualization have proven to be efficient methods of increasing the chances of success. Building your trekking and mountain-specific skillset is also essential for a safe and enjoyable climb, especially when it comes to prevention of mountain sickness.
One must remember that climbing Kilimanjaro is a strenuous activity and many new climbers are not yet aware of the exertion it requires. Therefore maximal training is essential for all, from beginner to experienced trekker. Hiring a qualified and certified guide from the Kilimanjaro National park is always highly recommended before approaching the Kilimanjaro summit.
The forest zone at the lower elevations can be warm and humid, so layers are key. Make sure to pack waterproof and warm clothing, especially a heavy-duty jacket, a warm hat and gloves, trekking boots, and a lightweight medical kit for emergencies. Warmth and ample hydration are essential for the summit bid, so be sure to include extra items such as a hot water bottle, thermal bottles and a hydration system in your backpack.

When to Avoid

As with any outdoor travel, weather patterns can be unpredictable and it’s best to avoid the mountain during its long rainy season, which lasts from late October to late May. June, July and August can be wonderful months, but higher elevations – especially above 4500m – can be too snowy and wet to attempt.
Lastly, the experts recommend avoiding any major routes or peaks during the summer months of December, January and February as they are the busiest times of the year. Climb in smaller groups and as far away from the crowds as possible in order to have the best, and most scenic, experience.

The Local Fauna

It’s not all about the mountain. During your climb, you may even spot some local wildlife! If you’re lucky, you may encounter some of the Kilimanjaro’s most interesting animals including buffalo, elephant, zebra, impala, baboon, and small antelopes such as klipspringer and dikdik.
Be sure to keep a respectful distance, as wildlife on Kilimanjaro can become aggressive if provoked. Be aware that some wildlife may not be visible during the dry seasons, or may be hiding in the thick jungle forests. The natural forests at lower elevation provide plenty of birdlife and primates such as Colobus monkeys or Sykes monkeys, warthogs, leopard, and hyena. But regardless of animal sightings, you’ll still experience the beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro itself!

Safety Measure

Climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro without proper precautions can be a dangerous and life threatening climb. Obviously, the first step is to make sure you have the necessary supplies and training to complete the journey. But it’s also essential to understand the local weather conditions, know how to treat common symptoms of altitude sickness, and pick the right camp sites and routes along the way.
It is always important to make sure your safety is a priority, no matter what time of year it is. Learn about potential risks, such as becoming stranded in an emergency or sudden extreme weather conditions. And make sure to check with the local park authorities and tourist offices for any safety warnings before heading out.
Be prepared in case of emergencies, bringing along emergency contact details and a satellite phone, first aid kit, and emergency shelter. Be sure to notify your intended route and departure times to your home country or travel partner and make sure they are experienced with similar conditions and terrain.

What to Expect

The trails of Mount Kilimanjaro can range from a light stroll to extreme walks, depending on the route you take. Experienced trekkers will tell you that the hardships and rewards of this epic journey are incomparable. Reaching the summit can be an emotional and life-changing event, as you appreciate nature in its full glory from the peak of this majestic mountain.
Once you have chosen the route and time for your climb, it is important to remember that this is a journey, and it can be a long and tiring one. Pace yourself, stay hydrated, and be sure to enjoy the landscapes and experiences during this once in a lifetime adventure.
On average, a successful Kilimanjaro trip of 5 to 8 days will require between 7 and 10 hours of trekking each day. While it’s advisable to attempt the summit during one of the dry seasons, remember to always respect the mountain and take the necessary safety measures whatever the time of year. With a bit of preparation and research, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an achievable goal – and it can even be done within the two dry seasons.

Herman Shaw is a passionate traveler and avid photographer who has seen many of the world's most awe-inspiring monuments. He has developed expertise in various aspects of world architecture and culture which he enjoys sharing with his readers. With deep historical knowledge and insight, Herman's writing brings life to these remarkable artifacts and highlights their importance in the grand scheme of human history.

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