Best time to Climb Kilimanjaro

When is the best time of year to climb Kilimanjaro

The best recommended time to climb Kilimanjaro are the dry months of December to mid-March and mid-June to the end of October, as these months are when the weather conditions are at their best. Clear skies, great views, little-to-no rain, and the sunshine.

However, there is always the possibility of weather changing dramatically, regardless of the season.

You can climb Kilimanjaro at any time of the year, but certain months are better than others. We recommend best to climb Mount Kilimanjaro during the driest months We avoid April and November as these are the main rainy seasons, making the trails more dangerous.

What is the best month to climb Kilimanjaro?  month by month overview

Unlike the Himalayas, Kilimanjaro is never “closed”. You can trek year-round, but you need to be prepared. We do not normally offer climbs during April/May and November.

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro in January and February to early March

    Ideal trekking conditions with mostly dry, clear days, and good visibility. Occasional showers and a good chance of snow over 14,000ft, making for some epic photo opportunities.

    While this is considered “high season”, it’s often quieter on the slopes than the main climbing season of June to September, making it a good balance of not-too-crowded and decent weather.

    Best for: Hikers who want to minimize crowds, whilst still having dry conditions. Snow on the summit is a bonus.

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro in March, April and May

    Early March can be lovely, but as the month progresses, the rains can start to set in, making for muddy trails, cloudy skies, and poor visibility. In late March and late May, you can get lucky with some dry weather, but it’s a bit hit or miss.

    April to early May are the long rains, and not suitable for climbing.

    If your schedule dictates that you need to go during the shoulder seasons – late March and late May – you need to be prepared for wet weather, and not be disappointed by poor visibility.

    Ideally, you’ll have some trekking experience already and won’t be phased by trickier trail conditions.

    Best for: Experienced trekkers who want to avoid crowds, and who don’t mind unpredictable weather. We recommend the routes on the north side of the mountain.

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro in June/ July/ August and September

    A combination of the best weather and the US and Europe summer vacations means this is the main climbing season and the busiest time on the mountain.July and August are the most popular months, so if you want to try and avoid crowds, opt for June or September, or October if you don’t mind a bit of rain.

    Occasional showers are always possible, particularly in the forest, but it’s a predominantly dry time of year. Routes tend to be busier during this period, especially over the full moon.

    Best for: Climbers wanting the best weather for their trip, who aren’t deterred by crowds, which are mostly on the Marangu and Machame route.

  • Climbing Kilimanjaro in October / November

    Short rains usually come in November and last for 3-4 weeks. Often the rain is less persistent than in April-May (the “long rains”) and mostly come in the late afternoon. The mountain is very quiet during this time.

    We would recommend the Rongai route or Northern circuit route as the northern side of the mountain is more sheltered and has less overall rainfall.

    Best for: Avoiding crowds, experienced trekkers who aren’t put off by wet weather.

When can you climb Kilimanjaro – Important Considerations

Weather Conditions

Kilimanjaro is close to the equator and doesn’t experience the same four seasons as the more temperate parts of the world. Instead, it has rainy seasons and dry seasons, both of which alter the complexion of the mountain.

The best time to climb Kilimanjaro are the months of January through early-March and June through October. The clear skies, great views, and sunshine make for spectacular photo-opportunities and comfortable hiking conditions.

These are also usually the drier months of the year and the busiest. Read more: Guide to Kilimanjaro Weather.

Temperature

Temperatures on the mountain vary with the seasons and also within the different climate zones as you climb higher.

The summit zone is considered “Arctic” and temperatures drop well below freezing at all times of the year.

December to March, and June (just after the rains) are usually the coldest, and there’s a good chance you’ll see snow on the summit. This reduces the number of visitors (as compared to July through August which is the busiest time).

Rain Rainy season

There are two distinct wet seasons in the Kilimanjaro area:

  • Long rains: End of March through May
  • Short rains: November

April and November usually have the highest rainfall, although this can vary.

The rainy season begins around mid-March and typically extends well into May. During this time, conditions can be wet, stormy and muddy on Kilimanjaro, particularly along its southern face.

Even in the dry season, it’s always possible to get some rain. That’s why we always carry good wet-weather gear in our daypacks.

Visibility: clouds, mist, and fog

You didn’t come all this way to trek through cloudy skies and fog. During late March to the end of May, and all of November, the visibility can be poor due to cloud cover. You won’t be seeing the panoramic vistas, and you won’t be getting great photos.

Crowds: Number of climbers on Kilimanjaro

As climbing Kilimanjaro becomes more popular, the favorable weather in January through early March, and June through October makes the mountain busier.

It’s usually the Marangu and Machame routes that suffer from some overcrowding. If you opt for one of the less busy routes, such as the Northern Circuits, Rongai or Lemosho, you’ll still get to enjoy the vistas without too many people.

One of the main downsides that climbers try to avoid when trekking during busy times is the overcrowding of the toilet facilities at campsites. We take care of our climbers by providing you with private toilet tents, used only by our group.

The sense of camaraderie and friendships forged by meeting other climbers more than makes up for it being a bit “busy”. Many of our clients have made lifelong friendships with people they’ve met on the mountain.

What’s the best time to climb Kilimanjaro without the crowds?

If you don’t mind the possibility of getting rained on and are well prepared, the shoulder-seasons just before and after the rains are the quietest time of year.

If you’re looking for solitude, it can be a worthwhile trade-off to risk a bit of wet weather to have the mountain to yourself.

We avoid climbing in the height of the rainy season (April/May and November).

Alternatively, choose one of the routes that has less foot traffic. In the wetter months, we recommend the routes on the northern side of the mountain, which tend to experience less rainfall, and are more sheltered.

Kilimanjaro Safety & Trail Conditions

If you’re an experienced hiker, you might not be concerned with slippery trails and a bit of mud.

For inexperienced hikers, we recommend climbing during the drier months. Less chance of rain means less stress and discomfort, giving you more time to enjoy your surroundings.

On the lower slopes, through the forest, the trail can become quite muddy, and higher up slippery, rocky trails can be a challenge.

We take your safety very seriously. Climbing Kilimanjaro guides are highly experienced and have hiked Kilimanjaro in all weathers. We monitor the weather and are flexible enough to be able to alter the daily itinerary during inclement conditions.

Getting wet increases your chance of getting extremely cold. As you ascend, your body is already having to deal with the effects of altitude, and wet clothes can be the difference between a slight chill and hypothermia.

It’s extremely important for your safety and comfort to keep your gear dry, avoid getting soaking wet, and never stay in wet clothes!

You’ll need some very robust wet-weather gear (which we recommend at all times of the year), choose one of the less challenging itineraries, and make sure your gear, both in your daypack and duffel bag, are in waterproof bags.

Note: the Tanzanian government has banned the use of all plastic bags, so please don’t use garbage bags or ziploc bags to store any of your gear. We recommend waterproof stuff sacks, such as these.

Your Schedule

Depending on what you want to do before and after your climb – a Tanzanian safari or a Zanzibar holiday perhaps – or simply when you can get time off work to travel, can inform your decision about when to climb.

Ultimately, apart from the really wet months, (April and November) there’s no “bad” time to climb Kili. Nor is there a “perfect” time to climb. Weather conditions on any mountain can be unpredictable – that’s all part of the adventure.

Full Moon (& New Moon) Climbs

Picture this: a cloudless midnight sky, illuminated by a full moon. You dress in your summit gear, come out of your tent and see the majesty of the mountain you are about to climb, lit by the moon. You hardly need your head torch as you ascend.

There’s something magical about climbing Kilimanjaro in the light of a full moon. Treks around the full moon can get quite busy, so bear this in mind if crowds are a problem for you.

You’ll need to start your trek ahead of the full moon date: for a 7-day trek, your start date would be five days before the date of the full moon. But bear in mind that the night before and after the actual full moon will be just as spectacular (and possibly quieter). Kilimanjaro full moon dates

If you find the full moon makes you feel like a wolf and start howling or find it difficult to sleep with the light, schedule your dates around the New Moon. With less light, you get fantastic star-gazing, with the constellations clearly visible.

A Note on the Kilimanjaro Climate Zones

You’ll be trekking through five main Kilimanjaro climate zones, each with unique weather patterns. Some have compared it to walking from the Equator to the North Pole.

  • The lower slopes: cultivated/savanna zone and rain forest will normally be hot and humid and experience the most rainfall.
  • The heath and moorland/low alpine zone is cooler, with less rainfall – precipitation is mostly fog and mist – and temperatures can drop dramatically at night.
  • The alpine desert zone has very little rainfall, with scorching sun during the day, and freezing temperatures at night.
  • Arctic Zone – this is the mountain at it’s most inhospitable. Bitterly cold, barely any rainfall – only snow – very little surface water and no protection from the sun.

Summing Up The best time to Climb Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro can be climbed year-round, but for your safety and comfort, Climbing Kilimanjaro avoids the long and short rains (April-May and November) and recommend the drier months. We can accommodate you if your schedule only allows you to trek in the shoulder-seasons.

Check out Climbing Kilimanjaro gear recommendation gear you need to climb Kilimanjaro.

Read our in-depth guide to Kilimanjaro weather or follow the Kilimanjaro Weather Forecast.

Got questions? We’re here to help! Leave us a comment, send us an email info(at)climbing-Kilimanjaro.com or hit the live chat button.

Ready to book? Contact Climbing Kilimanjaro or have a look at our Kilimanjaro routes and pricing.

Paragliding on Kilimanjaro

We will talk about what is paragliding, how a paraglider works, and where paraglider pilots fly. We will also look at the most remarkable flights in the history of Kilimanjaro – in the early times when it was illegal, and more recently when paragliding flights were authorized by the national park. How to fly on a paraglider today, how much it costs, how paragliding is organized on Kilimanjaro – you will find all the information here from a top-ranked Tanzanian operator Let’s view Tanzania.

If you already have paragliding experience and are interested in practical questions such as how to fly on Kilimanjaro, what are the costs, and other logistics.

 

A paraglider pilot in the sky

A paraglider pilot in the sky

What is paragliding?

Paragliding is a spectacular extreme sport in which pilots soar through the air on paragliders. A paraglider is a soft banana-shaped wing that is controlled by a system of slings. The pilot sits in a harness or reclines in a seat underneath the wing, with a reserve parachute behind his back. There are no motors and rigid elements in this construction – the flight is performed by gliding in the air. It is similar to how many many birds and even some insects fly.

Typically, a flight lasts 1-2 hours and covers several tens of kilometers. However, longer flights are also possible. Outstanding pilots who mastered the skills of orientation in the air streams and can fully exploit the lift are able to fly over hundreds of kilometers. The record is considered to be the distance of 609.9 km (378.9 mi), while the longest flight in terms of time exceeded 30 hours!

How do paragliders fly?

Paraglider pilots need ascending air currents in order to fly. Otherwise, they would be falling down under the pressure of their own weight. There are two types of such air currents (also called lift): dynamic and thermal. Horizontal currents create what is called dynamic lift. Such currents are formed after the wind hits an obstacle like a hill or a mountain and is forced up to overcome the obstacle. With dynamic lift, you can start the flight but it’s difficult to fly very far only relying on this type of air current because it can’t keep the paraglider and the pilot consistently aloft.

 Paraglider wing

Paraglider wing

Much more interesting are the vertical streams of air that move upwards from the surface of the earth. Such air currents produce thermal lift. It was after these currents were mastered that a real paragliding boom began in the world, marked by a mass interest in aerial planning and a continuous improvement of paraglider design.

When the sun warms the earth, so-called thermic air currents rise from it and produce thermal lift. These currents are large rings of air, similar to the rings of smoke that can be made when smoking. Such a ring is in motion and constantly curls upward through its own center as if turning inside out. These rings, ascending one after another, create rising poles that are used by large birds who are not able to fly just by constantly flapping their wings. Paraglider pilots employ these poles or thermal lift since they, unlike motor-glider pilots, do not have any propulsion systems.

The task of a paraglider pilot is to catch rising air currents and climb them to a higher altitude. And then, slowly descending, look for the next “air column”. It’s possible to start directly from the ground or from the water using a car or a boat respectively. But in order to avoid using any vehicles, and start directly from their feet, pilots often climb to high objects and launch the glider from that height, gradually descending until landing in a flat open space.

Where can you fly on a paraglider?

Interestingly, in urbanized areas ascending streams form above power plants, factory pipes, and gas pipeline stations. In order to take advantage of them, birds can even change their usual routes, laying new ones from one compressor station to another.

In the natural environment, the strongest thermal streams form where the ground surface is warmest: on hillsides, rock surfaces, rock placers, on the sand, and on other dry open surfaces. Hills and mountains are convenient starting points for a paragliding flight. In Africa, the continent’s main mountain peak – the beautiful Kilimanjaro with its snowy cap, is a great place for paragliding.

Kilimanjaro above the clouds

Kilimanjaro above the clouds

Paraglider pilots depend entirely on weather conditions: wind strength and direction, humidity and precipitation, visibility, and other meteorological factors. Flights take place in the dry season with its calm weather, over open and well-warmed surfaces, often in the morning or evening hours, when the wind is not strong and the sun’s heat is enough to create upward currents in the atmosphere.

Kilimanjaro wins over many other paragliding sites in the world. The unique mountain stands near the equator, which means that the weather conditions here are stable throughout the year. In addition, Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing peak on the planet. So after the pilot takes off from here, there are no obstacles on the path. The altitude of the best Kilimanjaro launch site, Stella Point, is 5756 meters (18,885 feet). This allows the pilot to catch a good dynamic lift and glide all the way to the landing site. It takes about an hour and a half.

The history of paragliding on Kilimanjaro

The entire history of flying on the paraglider wing from Kilimanjaro can be divided into two parts: before it was officially allowed by the authorities of the National Park where the “roof of Africa” is located and after the beginning of cooperation with the authorities. The threshold is September 2011, when the first officially approved flight took place. Before 2011 there were a few isolated cases of paraglider pilots daring to fly from Kilimanjaro, and not all of them are known. However, after 2011 the flights became much more frequent and there were even large groups flying together.

Who were the pioneers?

The first pilot who descended from Kilimanjaro on a glider was Rudi Kischasi. He flew down the mountain in the 1970s  Little is known about that flight, except that it was successful. But some time later, an attempt to repeat the success of the pioneer ended in a tragedy. Several months after the attempted flight of another German pilot whose name remains unknown, his body was found on a tree. It was still in the “wild 1970s” when Kilimanjaro as a national park was just being established.

A hang glider pilot in the sky

A hang glider pilot in the sky

If you flip through an old British magazine “Wings!” published by the British Hang Gliding Association (the word “paragliding” did not exist then), you will find other mentions of flying from Kilimanjaro. For example, in the April and May issues of 1979, there is a fascinating report by Ashley Doubtfire about how he and two other pilots made a successful flight from the top of Kilimanjaro in January ’79.

Ashley Doubtfire team’s hang glider flight plan, published in the 3 (51) issue of the

Ashley Doubtfire team’s hang glider flight plan, published in the 3 (51) issue of the “Wings!” magazine, 1979

Judging from the expedition plan, the pilots stayed at one of Kilimanjaro’s oldest hotels, the Kibo Hotel near Moshi. From there they hiked to the volcano along the Marangu route, ascended the second peak, Mawenzi, and then went to the main summit, Kibo.

There were seven pilots in the team, but only three managed to take off successfully and land at the foot of the mountain. Simon Keeling landed somewhere northwest of Moshi town, Dave Kirke managed to land in the middle of a coffee plantation, and Ashley Doubtfire himself finished in Moshi, where he was immediately surrounded by a crowd of surprised locals. When asked by the approached policeman, “Where are you from?” Ashley replied, “From the top of Kilimanjaro.” This was enough to stop the policeman from asking for the pilot’s documents. By the way, the hang glider pilots got to Tanzania through the border with Kenya, knowing full well that hang gliding on Kilimanjaro was forbidden, which meant that if they flew into the country directly, they could end up in trouble.

Requirements for pilots on Kilimanjaro

The Tanzanian National Park Authority has developed a manual for paraglider pilots, which  contains a strict list of requirements and rules. The first important rule is that the flights are limited to certain sites with suitable conditions for take off and landing. Here we have to remember that a considerable part of the flight takes place above a dense tropical forest. The flight altitude is limited to 6,000 meters above the ground.

A paraglider pilot soars over the clouds

A paraglider pilot soars over the clouds

The entire flight, from launch to landing, must follow the flight plan. Improvisation is not just considered dangerous and irresponsible behavior that can lead to trouble – it is forbidden. Acrobatic maneuvers are prohibited here by the national park regulations. We don’t think anyone would want to risk doing somersaults in the air while soaring over the remote high-altitude wilderness.

Pilots must of course have a valid license for paragliding, proven experience, and good knowledge of paragliding at high altitudes – the launch site is at 5756 meters. Moreover, you must have at least five years of flying experience. Kilimanjaro National Park guidelines recommend a minimum of 200 registered flights and cross-country paragliding experience. For everyone else who wants to fly Kilimanjaro, but does not yet meet these requirements, we recommend being patient and continuing to gain experience in flying a paraglider.

Mistakes should never be made. In 2019 there was an accident on Kilimanjaro – an experienced pilot-instructor from Canada made a technical mistake and crashed. As he took off, he made incorrect and dangerous movements, which led to a total loss of control of the paraglider and, eventually, to his death. The altitude does not forgive such rough mistakes.

In order to fly on Kilimanjaro, it’s necessary to be able to interpret reports of meteorological services and weather forecasts because the weather is a key factor for any safe paragliding flight. Of course, in unsafe weather conditions, flying is prohibited. These include high winds, dense cloud cover, rain, and other such factors that do not conform to Visual Flight Rules.

Paragliding in clear weather

Paragliding in clear weather

Paragliding in clear weather

It is obligatory to have all necessary safety equipment for paragliding: a GPS tracker, reliable gadgets for communication, a helmet, a reserve parachute, and a first aid kit. Each pilot must have medical insurance.

As far as basic equipment is concerned, for flights on Kilimanjaro we recommend paragliders of the class B (performance). Class C (competition) wings are not recommended here, because it is dangerous to use them in this area. Conservative gliders of the class A (standard) are also not quite suitable in Kilimanjaro National Park due to their limited maneuverability.

An important condition for a successful flight is that the pilot must be familiar not only with the launch site but also with the landing place. When you know what awaits you on the final stretch, how it looks, and where it is, you would feel much more relaxed.

Of course, there are also special rules that apply to everyone who visits the National Park. The rules are related to behavior in the protected natural areas, possible interaction with animals, and things like that. All the rules of the national park are usually explained at the pre-flight briefing.

Kilimanjaro in the Clouds

Kilimanjaro in the Clouds

How much does paragliding on Kilimanjaro cost?

The cost of organizing a paragliding flight expedition on Kilimanjaro is calculated by summing the different areas of expenses that go into it. Most of the expenses go to the organization of the ascent itself. The other part is payment for the permits and logistical costs of obtaining them since the issuing organizations are located in different cities: Moshi, Arusha, and Dar es Salaam.

Let’s see what the cost of a flight expedition is made up of in more detail. The cost of the expedition on the Lemosho route is the main item of expenditure. You can influence it by changing conditions and preferences: for example, a premium expedition will cost more than a classic one, and an expedition for two or more pilots will be less expensive per person.

Then, a permit for paragliding from the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority, KINAPA, costs $500.

All Inclusive Kilimanjaro climb and Tour Packages

In our all inclusive Kilimanjaro climb packages, we aim to offer the best combination of low prices and great quality for you to climb Kilimanjaro. We certainly do not offer the cheapest prices for a Kilimanjaro climb but we do believe we offer the best prices.

And if you compare what we include with the cheapest operator companies you will nearly always find the cheaply priced Kilimanjaro climbs turn out to be more expensive than you think.

All inclusive Open group prices to climb Kilimanjaro

Our prices for open group Kilimanjaro climbs in 2021 and 2022 are set out below. For prices for private and tailor-made climbs please contact us directly with your specific requirements.

We are also happy to accept payments in Tanzania Shillings ,Euros and US Dollars and can accept payment by credit card or bank transfer.

What is included in our prices to climb Kilimanjaro?

We are 100% straightforward in explaining our costs for a Kilimanjaro climb and include in your price pretty much everything except items of a personal nature. The only extras you have to pay are the evening meal at the hotel before and after the climb and tips for your crew.

This is what we include in our best prices to climb Kilimanjaro

For your safety as you climb Kilimanjaro

  • Qualified guides that have been carefully selected and trained by us
  • Minimum of 1 guide for every 2 clients
  • National Park Fees and Rescue Service Prepaid
  • Chief guide carries a Pulse Oximeter, used to take blood-oxygen level readings of clients twice a day
  • Emergency oxygen provided on every climb (for use in emergencies only – not as summiting aid)
  • Complete First Aid kit (for use in emergencies only)

For your health as you climb Kilimanjaro

  • Complimentary 3 liters of mineral water (per hiker) for the first day on your climb and 3 liters of purified water per person per day from night 1 on wards
  • Lashings of healthy tasty food
  • Twice daily health checks by guides
  • High summit success rates and client satisfaction

For your comfort as you climb Kilimanjaro

  • Complimentary meet and greet on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport
  • One arrival & one departure private Airport transfer per group between Kilimanjaro Airport and your hotel in a private vehicle with driver
  • Return transfers between the hotel to the start / finish point of a climb
  • Best premium hotel included as a standard option
  • Hotel accommodation includes storage facilities for excess luggage during hikes
  • Superior quality camping equipment (tents, sleeping mats, – not applicable on the Marangu route as all meals are served at the camps in designated dining halls
  • Table and chairs provided on all climbs
  • Mess tent on all climbs
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as hot drinks on the mountain
  • Food of premium quality and of a bigger variety on the mountain
  • Hot lunch is prepared at the lunch stop and served with table, chairs (and inside mess tent in case of bad weather), except on day 1 of the hike where climbers are provided with a packed lunch. (Not applicable on the Marangu route as all meals is served at the camps in designated mess halls)
  • Sleeping mattress (not applicable on the Marangu route)
  • Water for washing up daily
  • Porter to carry your duffel bag, with maximum weight of 15kg / 32 lbs, from one camp to the next camp
  • Kilimanjaro National Park certificate for your successful summit attempt

And for being responsible about your Kilimanjaro climb

  • We are a member of  Leave no trace
  • Fair and ethical treatment of porters
  • Complimentary Flying doctors membership (Emergency Helicopter evacuation in case of emergency – T & C’s apply)
  • We support the local schools, orphanages, Support local entrepreneurs etc
  • Salaries paid to the mountain support crew as per KINAPA (Kilimanjaro National Park Authority) guidelines.
  • Members of Kilimanjaro Guides Association (KGA) and Tanzania Porters organization (TPO)

And to be straight-forward, the only things we don’t include in our prices to climb Kilimanjaro are:

So for the best prices to climb Kilimanjaro please do enquire now

MORE REASONS TO BOOK YOUR CLIMB WITH CLIMBING KILIMANJARO
Great Value

Quality services at the best prices make our adventures great value for money. Having essential items like Accommodations, experienced guides, National Park fees, meals, all ground transportation, sightseeing and entry fees included in the trip cost allows you to better budget for your big adventure.

Our excellent safety record, outstanding service, and commitment to responsible and sustainable travel practices guarantee you unsurpassed value for money.

  • Your tent is set up with you personal pack inside
  • Your dining tent is set up and ready for meals when you are.
  • Your continual health monitoring
  • 24×7 Support, On and Off the mountain.
  • We build more acclimatization time into all our treks. It’s the single biggest factor in summit success
  • You may want to bring some older items of warm clothing as gifts for your guides and porters.
We Create Excellent Adventures!

Mount Kilimanjaro trips have been featured in the world’s most prestigious travel guides, blogs, and newspapers including: Today, Explore Magazine, Outpost Magazine, Tripadvisor, Fodor, Lonely Planet and more.

International  Flavour

Our travellers come from all over the globe. When you join one of Great Kilimanjaro Trek’s small group adventures, you can expect a fun mix of nationalities to share the trails with – Typically leading to plenty of interesting conversation and lots of laughs!

Contact Climbing Kilimanjaro and start planning your adventure now.

What Clients Say

“Everything on our climb was great! The guides were absolutely wonderful – professional, knowledgeable and fun.”

Megan, USA

“The guide and staff were amazing! I definitely would not have succeeded without them!”

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