Best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro

Best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro: Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is Africa’s tallest mountain, standing at 5,895 meters above sea level (19,340 feet). It is the world’s largest free-standing mountain rise, meaning it is not part of a mountain range. There are numerous reasons why you might be interested in climbing Kilimanjaro, and the more you know about the mountain you are about to tackle (or dream of tackling), the more enjoyable your experience will be.

In 1889, German geographer Hans Meyer and Austrian mountaineer Ludwig Purtscheller became the first people to reach Kilimanjaro’s summit. Kilimanjaro has since become a popular hiking destination for both locals and tourists. Tens of thousands of climbers ascend the mountain each year because mountaineering equipment and experience are not required. The climb is still dangerous due to the risk of altitude sickness, a condition that climbers experience if they ascend too quickly and can be fatal if not treated immediately.

What are the Optimal Months for Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro?

Many trekkers arrive at Mount Kilimanjaro with hopes of embarking on a grand wilderness adventure on the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. At the very least, they expect some peace and quietness to reflect on the most difficult physical challenge they may ever face, yet finding a circus instead of solitude can be a huge let-down. You should look at the calendar month by month to see when the best time is to take your trip. In addition to this, you should also consider what else you want to accomplish on your trip. More so, as a potential climber of Mount Kilimanjaro, yet to decide when you will be able to climb the mountain, these factors will differ from person to person. However, the weather and your ability to withstand the conditions must be carefully considered.

Best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro Month By Month

January to mid-March:

The mountain has average temperatures and low rainfall from January to March. They are some of the hike’s warmest months. Although it is not the driest season, it is dry enough to allow for a safe and enjoyable trek. With its sunny and clear skies, this time of year provides breathtaking views. It may rain throughout the day, but showers are usually brief and warm. If you bring some rain gear with you, these months are some of the best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro.

End of March, April, and May:

From the end of March to May is the long, rainy season, and climbing Kilimanjaro during this time is not recommended unless you are a very experienced hiker. The visibility is low, but you’ll have the mountain almost entirely to yourself due to the few hikers who are willing to embark on this mountain during this time. I’m not sure if that’s such a good deal if you can’t see anything. Furthermore, the trail on the lower altitude zones becomes extremely muddy. During this time, many guides will not even offer to take you on the trek. These months therefore are not the best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro.

June to October:

During this time, both the temperature and rainfall become steady and the trails start to dry out. The cold temperatures begin to occur from mid-June to October, so if you enjoy the crisp air, this may be an ideal time for you. To be specific, the mild weather, in the region’s driest month of September gives you the best month to venture up Kilimanjaro. This time of year is extremely dry, so you won’t have to worry about rain.

BEST TIME TO HIKE MOUNT KILIMANJAROThe middle of June to the end of October is also the busiest season for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, especially on the Marangu and Machame routes, and especially because it is summer vacation in North America and Europe. This gives the trekkers a chance to hike in big groups and get to interact with each other, making the hike a more memorable one. These months offer some of the best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro.

From November to December:

The short rainy season in Tanzania begins in early November and lasts until early December. This makes it a short rainy season on Kilimanjaro, with plenty of short afternoon rains, and it’s not a good time to climb. Though the afternoon rains become common, clear skies can be expected in the mornings and evenings. This is not best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro because conditions can be very wet, muddy, and slippery.

After this short break about the Best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro, we hope you have planned well, packed the right gear and properly mentally prepared to take on the Mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Routes: Best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro

Several different Kilimanjaro routes lead to the summit of Uhuru Point. They eventually converge into a single path to the summit, but each path is very different.

The Machame Path: The Machame Route is popular because, despite being one of the “shorter” routes (seven days), it has an excellent summit success rate of 60% (this means that 60% of climbers will reach the summit, owing to the extra time to adapt). On the other hand, it is a very difficult route.

The Marangu Path: While the Machame Route is known as the “Whiskey Route,” the equally popular Marangu Route is known as the “Coca-Cola Route” due to its ease of access. It is less steep and shorter. However, due to its short length, the success rate is lower. This route also allows you to sleep in huts rather than tents.

The Lemosho Trail: The Lemosho Route is longer (up to 10 days) but easier for those with less trekking experience, and the scenery is just as stunning as the Machame Route. It’s a quieter trek because it’s less popular. However, if you are short on time, the Lemosho Route is not the best option.

The Rongai Path: This is the only approach route from Kenya’s side. Rongai offers options for faster (or slower) ascents, as well as the chance to see wildlife such as elephants and buffalo. This hike can be completed in 6-8 days.

Weather and Climatic Zones on Mount Kilimanjaro

What are the Optimal Months for Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro?

Because the range is so broad, Kilimanjaro’s temperatures will range from hot to bitterly cold. Depending on your route, and sometimes due to drastic climatic changes on the mountain, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled from the equator to Antarctica in no time! This is due to the various ecological zones you pass through on your way to the summit. Kilimanjaro is divided into five major ecological zones, each about 1000 meters apart. As altitude increases, so do rainfall and temperature.

The lower slopes, for example, are known as the Cultivation Zone because they are used for farmland including coffee and banana crops, and during the rainy season, rivers may form from rainfall run-off in this zone.

As you climb, you’ll find yourself in the lowland Rainforest Zone (1,800m – 2,800m), which is dense and full of wildlife such as monkeys and antelopes. When temperatures are high, this zone provides good shade from the glaring sun.

As you leave the rainforest zone, the vegetation begins to thin out in the Heath zone (2,800m – 3,400m) and Moorland Zone (3,400m – 4,000m), and temperatures begin to fall. The Alpine Desert Zone (4,000m – 5,000m) which comes next is dry and cold, and the Arctic Summit Zone (5,000m+) is the final zone. The top is more barren and rocky, but the views are unobstructed, especially with clear skies.

Extreme and colder weather is more common in the Arctic Summit zone where temperatures frequently drop below freezing (as low as -20 degrees Celsius) year-round and bad weather is more common. Knowing what to expect in each of these climate zones will help you prepare for a comfortable hike.

Safety and Precaution While Planning a Hike to Mount Kilimanjaro

It would be thoughtless to discuss climbing Kilimanjaro without mentioning safety and trail conditions along the way, especially given that this is Africa’s tallest mountain.

  • If you are inexperienced, stick to climbing Kilimanjaro during the dry season. Slippery trails and mud will be difficult to navigate if you’ve never been in this type of terrain before. You’ll be less stressed and much more comfortable during the final ascent.
  • Use a reputable tour guide. Kilimanjaro guides take your safety very seriously and will not put you in danger. Remember that the most knowledgeable guides have done this a hundred times! Your guides will keep a close eye on the weather forecast and any other potentially hazardous conditions. Prepare by conducting preliminary research.
  • Go for the summit at night. Most guides recommend attempting the seven-hour summit shortly after midnight so that you are there when the sun rises. It’s also easier to climb the mountain while the rocky path is still frozen, and you’ll have a full day to descend to lower elevations. Yes, it’s difficult to imagine climbing after midnight, but it’s the best way to do it! The night is the Best Time To Hike Mount Kilimanjaro.

What to pack for a hike to Mount Kilimanjaro

Since the mountain offers different climatic zones with different conditions, you can’t just pack for one Kilimanjaro climate zone. You need to be prepared for all weather conditions and scenarios, whether it’s the wet season or just colder than usual. It is critical to pack the proper equipment for a Kilimanjaro trek.

You should bring waterproof clothing and rain gear no matter what time of year it is. You’ll get cold if you get wet. Suddenly, the threat of hypothermia becomes very real and dangerous. This is affected by altitude as well: the higher you go, the colder it becomes. Make sure your belongings are wrapped in waterproof bags inside your backpack, in addition to your clothing (but not plastic bags, as those are banned in Tanzania). A head torch is also a good idea!

In a nutshell, before you trek Kilimanjaro, make sure you get a packing list from your guide or expedition leader and stick to it. If something is included on the list, chances are you’ll need it!

Wear sunglasses and sunscreen. Lower altitudes will require sunscreen, but higher altitudes will require full protection! Sunglasses are also essential for summiting because the sun’s glare on the snow can cause snow blindness.

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John Doe

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