Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcanic mountain found in Tanzania. It has three volcanic cones which are named Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest point in Africa with a maximum altitude of 19,345 feet above sea level. Since the mountain is located along the Equator, it doesn’t experience large changes in seasons. The mountain does have two rainy seasons during the year.
But mostly the weather on Mount Kilimanjaro is heavily influenced by altitude changes. In fact, there are distinct climatic zones on different altitudes with distinct vegetation. Climbers will experience all these zones as the climb up the mountain.
Before deciding on when to climb the mountain, it is important to know how the time of year that you climb is affected by the weather patterns on the mountain.
The prevailing winds on Kilimanjaro come from the west. Therefore, the Rongai route found on the northern eastern side of the mountain is much drier. For you who would consider climbing the mountain during the rainy season, should consider the Rongai Route. During the rainy season, the routes on the southwest side of the mountain, such as the Machame route or Lemosho Route may get muddy, so bringing gaiters is highly recommended.
January to mid-March
This is the warmest season on Kilimanjaro. The days are usually dry, with few clouds. Occasional showers are experienced during this time. But in general, this is one of the best times in terms of weather to climb Kilimanjaro. The long rainy season usually starts around mid March, therefore as it approaches March, more showers get expected.
Mid March to May
This is the main rainy period. It begins around the middle of March to the end of May. Most Kilimanjaro operators will not offer scheduled climbs during this season.
June to October
Beginning in June, the second climbing season on Kilimanjaro begins. June through August is the coldest time on Kilimanjaro as it is winter in the southern hemisphere. However, since Kilimanjaro is so close to the equator, their seasons only fluctuate by a few degrees. The months of September and October are the best times to climb during this season.
With November comes a short rainy season on the mountain. Again, most operators will not schedule times during the month of November.
As the rainy season ends, December begins the first climbing season that lasts until March. The weather is generally good during December and continues to be decent as we come to the new year.