Weather on Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is not only the highest mountain in Africa but also one of the most sought-after climbing destinations in the world. Scaling this majestic peak is a dream for many adventurers, but before embarking on this challenging journey, it’s crucial to understand the weather conditions you may encounter. In this article, we will delve into the diverse weather patterns on Kilimanjaro and their impact on climbers.

Weather Patterns on Mount Kilimanjaro

Rainy Season

Kilimanjaro experiences two rainy seasons, which influence the mountain’s weather throughout the year. The first rainy season, known as the “long rains,” occurs from March to May, while the second rainy season, the “short rains,” takes place from November to December. During these periods, the mountain receives substantial rainfall, making the trails muddy and slippery. It is advisable to avoid climbing Kilimanjaro during these seasons to ensure a safer and more enjoyable experience.

Dry Season

The dry season on Kilimanjaro is characterized by clear skies, lower precipitation, and more favorable climbing conditions. It typically occurs from June to October and from January to February. During these months, the weather is relatively stable, with less rainfall and reduced cloud cover. The dry season offers better visibility, which enhances the breathtaking views from the mountain and improves the overall climbing experience.

Temperature Variations at Different Altitudes

As you ascend Mount Kilimanjaro, you will encounter significant temperature variations due to the mountain’s varying climatic zones. The average temperatures at the base of the mountain range from 20 to 27 degrees Celsius (68 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). However, as you climb higher, temperatures drop progressively. At the summit, Uhuru Peak, temperatures can plummet to as low as -7 to -29 degrees Celsius (19 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit).

Effects of Weather on Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

The weather conditions on Kilimanjaro can pose challenges to climbers, especially those not adequately prepared. The altitude, combined with unpredictable weather patterns, can contribute to various difficulties.

Altitude Sickness

Ascending too quickly without proper acclimatization can lead to altitude sickness. The rapid changes in altitude can affect the body’s ability to adapt, resulting in symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. It is crucial to choose a climbing route that allows for gradual acclimatization and to listen to your body’s signals to avoid the potentially dangerous consequences of altitude sickness.

Physical Challenges

Harsh weather conditions, such as extreme cold and strong winds, can make the climb physically demanding. Frostbite and hypothermia are genuine risks at higher altitudes, where the body’s ability to regulate temperature becomes more challenging. Climbers must be well-prepared, physically fit, and properly equipped with warm clothing and gear to endure the demanding conditions.

Safety Precautions and Preparation for Climbing

To increase your chances of a successful and safe climb on Mount Kilimanjaro, it is crucial to take specific safety precautions and adequately prepare for the journey ahead.

Proper Clothing and Gear

Investing in suitable clothing and gear designed for cold and variable weather conditions is essential. Layering your clothing allows you to adjust your attire according to the temperature fluctuations. Insulated jackets, thermal base layers, gloves, hats, and sturdy hiking boots are among the items necessary for a comfortable and safe climb.


Acclimatization is a critical aspect of climbing Kilimanjaro. It involves allowing your body to adapt to the increasing altitude slowly. Climbing routes that offer longer durations and additional acclimatization days provide better chances of reaching the summit successfully. Hydration is also crucial during acclimatization, as it helps your body adjust to higher altitudes more efficiently.

Experienced Guides

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is not a feat to be undertaken without the assistance of experienced guides. These knowledgeable professionals understand the mountain’s weather patterns, terrain, and potential hazards. They can provide guidance, support, and ensure your safety throughout the climb. It is highly recommended to engage the services of reputable tour operators who employ experienced guides.

Best Time to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

The best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is during the dry seasons, which are generally regarded as the optimal periods for a successful ascent. The months of January to March and June to October offer better weather conditions and increased chances of reaching the summit. However, it’s important to note that even during the dry seasons, weather conditions can be unpredictable. Therefore, thorough research and consultation with experts are crucial to choosing the most suitable time for your climb.


  1. Is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro dangerous? Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can be challenging and potentially dangerous, particularly due to altitude-related risks. However, with proper preparation, acclimatization, and experienced guides, the risks can be mitigated.
  2. What is the best route to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? There are several routes to climb Kilimanjaro, each offering unique experiences and varying degrees of difficulty. The Machame and Lemosho routes are popular choices due to their scenic beauty and higher success rates.
  3. How long does it take to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? The duration of a Kilimanjaro climb depends on the chosen route and the climber’s fitness level. On average, it takes about 6 to 8 days to reach the summit and descend.
  4. What should I pack for a Kilimanjaro climb? It is essential to pack warm clothing, suitable hiking boots, a sleeping bag, a daypack, headlamp, sunscreen, and other necessary personal items. Consulting with experienced climbers or tour operators can provide a comprehensive packing list.
  5. Can I climb Mount Kilimanjaro without prior climbing experience? While prior climbing experience is not mandatory, it is advisable to have a certain level of fitness and engage in physical training before attempting to climb Kilimanjaro. Proper preparation and a positive mindset are crucial for a successful climb.