Mount Kilimanjaro Weather : Given its size and geographic location, Mount Kilimanjaro virtually produces its own weather. Kilimanjaro’s tropical location means that there are few distinct seasons.
However, Kilimanjaro weather and temperatures vary greatly according to the time of day, and the altitude. As they climb in elevation, hikers must be prepared for significant fluctuations in temperature during the day and this justifies why layering is so crucial. In addition to outlining historical weather trends for each of Kilimanjaro’s climatic zones, we have given an overview of the types of weather you can expect on the mountain on this page.
Weather on Mount Kilimanjaro, The best way to comprehend the weather on Kilimanjaro is to research the predominant trade and anti-trade winds that blow across the area. Why? Because the ocean’s moisture is carried by the winds, they rise, cool, and condense when they collide with massive things like mountains, creating clouds and precipitation (i.e. rain and snow). The South-east trade winds and the North-east anti-trade winds are the two principal winds that govern the weather on Mount Kilimanjaro. Below, we describe each wind’s impact.
TRADE AND ANTI-TRADE WINDS ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO
Trade Winds from the South-East: Around mid-March, the South-East trade winds from the Indian Ocean arrive and continue well into May (before being interrupted by the North-East anti-trade winds). Since these winds are heavily laden with moisture from the Indian Ocean, when they finally collide with Mount Kilimanjaro and are propelled upward, they produce large rain clouds, which cause the “heavens to open.”
Therefore, the wet season on Mount Kilimanjaro, which lasts from the middle of March to the end of May, is not the best for trekking. Due to the fact that these winds are blowing from the south, the southern side of Kilimanjaro receives the most of the rain. During this time of the year, the northern slopes have far less rain since they are frequently buffeted by the winds. If one wants to hike the mountain between March and May, it is preferable to think about the Rongai Route, which follows a trail from the North.
North-East Anti-Trade Winds: The North-East anti-trade winds come in late May and continue until early November, but they don’t bring rain because they dry out well before reaching Kilimanjaro. The valley between Kibo and Mawenzi, the two peaks of Kilimanjaro, is known as the Saddle. Typically, they blow rather hard, forcing their way through it.
The South-east winds are forced to the ground below them when the powerful anti-trade winds blow through the saddle. Because of this, cloud cover and light rain are frequent on the southern slopes throughout the dry season (June through October), but they swiftly depart above this elevation.
It’s a terrific season to go hiking from late May to the end of October because rain is infrequent and typically limited to the lower southern slopes because of the interaction of the strong, dry North-east trade winds and the weaker South-east winds. The Northern Hemisphere’s summer vacation seasons run from May through October, so Kilimanjaro’s slopes can be quite busy during this time of year.
North-East Monsoon: Around mid-November, the North-East Monsoon begins and lasts until February. The season is typically quite dry because these winds have little moisture in them because of how far they have traveled across the continent. In comparison to the main wet season, which lasts from March to May and is brought on by the south-east winds, the majority of this rain falls on Mount Kilimanjaro’s lower northern slopes. Because of how these winds interact with Mount Kilimanjaro, there are two main hiking seasons: January through March and June through October.
WEATHER ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO MONTH BY MONTH
What is the weather like on Kilimanjaro in January and February? It’s a terrific time to hike the mountain because January and February are the first “short dry season”. You have a larger possibility of seeing snow on Mount Kilimanjaro’s top slopes during this time of year than during the lengthier dry season of June to September.
How does the climate look like on Mount Kilimanjaro in March? On Mount Kilimanjaro, March is a shoulder month for trekking. The weather becomes more humid and rain is more likely to fall toward the end of March. However, early March is a great time to hike Kilimanjaro because the slopes are typically very peaceful.
What kind of climate might one expect on Kilimanjaro in April and May? On Kilimanjaro, April and May are typically the wettest months, making them unsuitable for trekking. On Kilimanjaro, we advise staying away from the wetter months of April and May.
What kind of weather might one expect on Kilimanjaro in the months of June, July, August, and September? The busiest months on Mount Kilimanjaro are June, July, August, and September since they fall during the summer vacation season in Europe and North America. It’s unusual to get rain or snow on Kilimanjaro in the months of June, July, August, and September. It is easy to find tour firms that provide open groups that you may join to help save money at this time of year because the slopes are busier.
How is the weather on Kilimanjaro in October, November, and December? On Kilimanjaro, October is a fantastic shoulder month for trekking. The weather is good, and there are fewer people on the slopes. On Kilimanjaro, November is a brief, wet month. We advise using the normally dry northern approach to the Rongai if you intend to hike this month. It normally snows a lot in December, which is a frigid month. If you don’t mind the cold, trekking is good. A Christmas or New Year summit on Kilimanjaro is possible in December, and it has grown in popularity.
TEMPERATURE ON MOUNT KILIMANJARO
Variations in altitude have a significant impact on Kilimanjaro’s temperature. So much so that the mountain actually has different climatic zones, each with a unique flora and fauna. Each is briefly discussed below.
Rain forest zone (800-3,000 meters)
The tropical rain forest will be a challenge for you from the beginning of your expedition. There is a lot of humidity, and it frequently mists or drizzles lightly. This region of Kilimanjaro is covered in a variety of flora, including fig and olive trees, ferns, and orchids. Elephant, buffalo, and massive antelope may be seen if you trek from the North-East Rongai route, Western Lemosho, Shira, or Northern Circuit. Blue and Colobus monkeys are likely to be seen also.
Low alphine zone (3,000–4,200 meters)
The low alpine zone is the region below 3,000 meters when semi-arid grasslands and moorlands quickly replace the rainforest. The landscape is covered with tiny shrubs and huckleberries; the air is substantially less humid; and nighttime lows can reach 0 degrees. Senecios and Giant Lobelias, which resemble malformed palm trees, are the two most noticeable plant species in this area. Although there is little wildlife, you may spot crows scavenging for food in the sky.
High-altitude zone (4,200-5,000 meters)
This region is distinguished by an extremely hostile arid desert climate. Daytime temperatures are warm and there is a lot of solar radiation (make sure to apply lots of sun-cream). Low temperatures are experienced at night. The summit of Kilimanjaro and the slopes of Kibo are clearly seen from this area.
Glacial zone (5,000 and 5,895 meters)
The higher sections of Kibo and Mawenzi are located in the last zone, which is characterized by arctic weather at high altitudes. As oxygen levels are almost half as high as they were in the mountain’s lower reaches, life is extremely rare in this area. The slopes that lead up to Kilimanjaro’s peak are covered in fine glacial silt, and huge glaciers can be seen from the crater rim. This area is not one where you want to stay for an extended period of time because of the strong solar radiation during the day, the freezing temperatures at night, the gale-force winds, and the low oxygen levels.
Snow at the Mount Kilimanjaro: Although snow can fall on Kilimanjaro year-round, the months of November through March see the most of it.
MOUNT KILIMANJARO WEATHER FAQ:
What is the temperature at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro? Mount Kilimanjaro’s peak temperature can range from 0 to -20 degrees Celsius (32 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit). The wind has a significant role in regulating the temperature at Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit. A somewhat cold night, such as one with a wind chill of -2 degrees Celsius (28 degrees Fahrenheit), may feel like -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s important to keep in mind that the summit’s temperatures are cooler at night, when most hikers attempt to reach the top. On a windless, clear day, the summit can actually feel very warm by late morning.
Which months on Kilimanjaro experience the most rain? April and May are the wettest month on Mount Kilimanjaro. The worst months to climb the mountain are at these months. It can rain quite a bit in the latter part of March. Additionally, there is a brief rainy season in November. If you are only able to climb during these months, try the Rongai route because the northern half of Kilimanjaro is in a rain shadow.