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They say that variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to temperatures, Mount Kilimanjaro can – and will – offer you everything from extreme cold to very hot. The different and quite distinct climate zones are one reason why climbing Kilimanjaro is so special, so unique. You will encounter them all as you transition from the start of your climb to the snowy summit. There are few places on Earth where, in such a short space of time, you will experience such extremes. In total, there are five zones to consider, and as you climb you will notice the changes in vegetation, the falling temperature and the decrease in precipitation. Of course, the weather changes according to the season, though it is worth noting that temperatures do not vary enormously across the year. Which month you choose for your visit will affect your experience, however, so let us look at these in more detail.
These two months at the start of the calendar year are usually the hottest and fall right in the middle of one of Tanzania’stwo dry seasons. You can expect plenty of sun, but with some cloud in the sky, particularly in the afternoon. Mornings and at night-time, it is clearer. The weather conditions ensure that, underfoot, the trail should be dry.
Would we recommend these months for you to take on your Kilimanjaro challenge? Yes, the general weather conditions and a lack of rain make a January or February climb ideal, though these are popular months and consequently busy.
The dry season sometimes lasts into the first half of March, but this month marks the start of the so-called ‘Long Rains.’ In the second half of the month, you might experience a totally dry day, or a day of endless rain! As rain means clouds, so your Tanzanian sky will not be as clear as it is in the dry-season months. And of course, underfoot trail conditions are likely to be muddy at some altitudes, with more snow and ice at higher levels.
April and May see the continuation of those ‘Long Rains’ – which will normally last through until mid-June. In fact, these are the very wettest of Tanzanian months. Once again, climbers can expect cloudy skies, slightly lower temperatures and muddy conditions on the trail.
In mid-June, the long rains In Tanzania come to an end and we also experience the coolest months of the year. The sky will usually be clear and sunny, the mountain trail will be dry – there is very little rainfall at this time of the year.
Temperatures start to rise slightly in August, September and October, which also represent the three driest months of the year. Climbers in these months will be rewarded with sunny skies and beneath their feet, lovely dry trail conditions.
The ‘Short Rains’ start at the beginning of November and last until the start of December. During this time, you might experience a week of rain or a week without any rain. While the skies are often clear at the beginning and end of the day, it can be cloudy in between. Rain often falls in the afternoons. Naturally, the precipitation causes wet and muddy conditions on the trail.
November is therefore not a month we would recommend for your ascent up Kilimanjaro; the short rains end during December. By mid-month (15th December) the short rains will end and the dry season begins. Many trekkers favour this time and choose to climb over this holiday period..