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Timing Matters: When to climb Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, is a popular destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike. And no wonder! It is one of the infamous seven summits and offers some of the most majestic views Africa has to offer. Plus, it’s actually a volcano — mind-blowing!

A hiker above the clouds on the route to the summit of Kilimanjaro
A happy trekker above the clouds on the route to the summit of Kilimanjaro

Timing your trip

Before planning your trip to climb Kilimanjaro, it is important to choose the right time of year to ensure the best experience, which will depend on exactly what you are hoping for. Factors such as weather, moon phases and crowd levels can all play a role in deciding when to climb. If you plan to combine your Kilimanjaro climb with a safari, it is also essential to consider the wildlife conditions before or after the trek.

Night scene of yellow tents in the Kilimanjaro National Park under stars
A beautiful scenery of yellow tents in the Kilimanjaro National Park

Weather & Crowd Levels

The weather on Mount Kilimanjaro is unpredictable and can change at the drop of a hat, particularly during the rainy season. July to September are some of the driest months, providing some of the most stable weather conditions for climbing, and so offer the best chance to reach the summit. 

While climbing is still feasible during the rainy season thanks to top-notch climbing equipment, trails can be very wet, muddy and snowy. Choosing to climb during the off-season can offer the advantage of lower prices (in certain months) and a less crowded experience, but typically requires a more confident climber who can roll with its punches.

Full moon lighting up the sky over Kilimanjaro peak's signage
Full moon lighting up the sky over Kilimanjaro

Moon Phases

If you’re hoping to summit Kilimanjaro during a full moon, it’s best to plan your ascent around the lunar phase. The full moon provides ample visibility throughout the climb, particularly during the approximately 6-hour night hike from the base camp to the summit, known as Uhuru Peak. 

Summiting on the exact date of the full moon is exceptionally popular, and many group tours are planned around this time, so an insider tip is to summit a day or two before or after the exact full moon date. This would allow you to still enjoy the bright moonlight, without as much of the distraction from other tourists and guides. 

On the other hand, if starry skies are what you are after, it is best to plan your trek during a new moon. Due to the limited light pollution in the areas surrounding Kilimanjaro, the views of the stars and night sky are absolutely breathtaking. In fact, the same can be said for Tanzania as a whole! Here, you can truly appreciate the big, broad African sky. 

Hikers waling up Kilimanjaro in the snow
Hikers taking on the mighty Kilimanjaro


The pricing for climbing Kilimanjaro varies depending on the season, whether you have a private climb or join a group, and which route you select. As you might expect, peak season is the most expensive, with prices for permits and tours being higher. The low seasons have lower prices, due to the challenging weather conditions. We are happy to discuss the various pros and cons of each pricing consideration and work out what option makes the most sense. 

Regardless of when you choose to travel,  make sure to prepare properly — mentally and physically! Our trusted team can share much more insight in terms of how to take this from wish list to reality, and all the things to be aware of to get the most enjoyment from this worthwhile journey. 

Want to find out more? Read our sample itinerary for 13 days in Tanzania including a Mt Kilimanjaro hike and a wildlife-filled safari in the Serengeti.

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