Climbing Information

Summit Mount Kilimanjaro During Full Moon

When the peak of Kilimanjaro and magnificent glaciers are lit up by the full moon, the view is absolutely stunning. For this reason alone, some climbers schedule their trek to coincide with this celestial event, occuring once a month. However, a practical reason for climbing at these times is that a bright moon along with a clear sky will improve your visibility throughout your climb, and most importantly, during the summit attempt.

Below are full moon dates:

Month
2018
2019
January 2, 31 21
February 19
March 2, 31 21
April 30 19
May 29 19
June 28 17
July 27 17
August 26 15
September 25 14
October 24 14
November 23 12
December 22 12

 

To summit during a full moon, a 7 day climb should start 5 days prior to the full moon date. It is not necessary to summit on the exact full moon date to take advantage of moonlight. A summit on the day before or day after is also beneficial. We offer several group climbs with full moon summits every month during the dry season. These dates tend to be the first to book completely full well in advance.

For those who favor a less crowded climb, avoid the full moon completely as these dates attract many climbers. Another method of dodging crowds is to choose an “off” day of departure. Most climbers will begin their climbs on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, with routes lasting 6 to 7 days.

When is the Best Time to Climb Kilimanjaro?

Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s proximity to the equator, this region does not experience the extremes of winter and summer weather, but rather dry and wet seasons. Therefore, the best time to climb Kilimanjaro tends to be the warmest and driest months . The primary issue is safety, as the risks associated with climbing increase significantly when the weather is foul. The effects of rain, mud, snow, ice and cold can be very strenuous on the body. Correspondingly, your chances of a successful summit also increases significantly with nice weather. Of course, the mountain gets more foot traffic during these periods as well.

The table below lists the relative temperature, precipitation, cloudiness and crowds during the calendar months.

Month
Temperature
Precipitation
Cloudiness
Crowds
January Warm Medium Low High
February Warm Medium Low High
March Moderate High Medium Low
April Moderate High High Low
May Moderate High High Low
June Cold Medium Medium Medium
July Cold Medium Low High
August Cold Low Low High
September Moderate Low Low High
October Moderate Low Medium Medium
November Moderate High Medium Low
December Moderate Medium Medium Medium

From January through mid-March are the warmest months, with clear skies in the mornings and evenings. During the day, clouds may appear along with brief showers. The long rainy season spans from the end of March to early June. We do not recommend climbing during this time unless you are an experienced backpacker who has trekked in similar conditions . It can be very wet, and visibility may be low due to heavy clouds. The crowds are gone, however. From mid June to the end of October, the mountain is generally a bit colder, but also drier. The short rainy season spans from the beginning of November to the beginning of December. Afternoon rains are common, but skies are clear in mornings and evenings.It is possible to climb Kilimanjaro year round, however it is best to climb when there is a lower possibility of precipitation. The dry seasons are from the beginning of December through the beginning of March, and then from late June through the end of October. These are considered to be the best times to climb in terms of weather, and correspondingly are the busiest months (high season). Our group climbs are scheduled to correspond with the dry season.

Note that the rains are unpredictable and may come early or extend beyond their typical time frames. It is possible to experience mostly dry weather conditions during the rainy season, just as it is possible to have heavy rain during the dry season.

Available Gear for rent for Climbing Kilimanjaro

Prices are for the entire trek in U.S. dollars, payable in cash in Moshi.

  • Tents and foam sleeping pads are provided at no charge.
  • Rental prices are subject to change.
Sleeping bag $20
Hat: $5
Balaclava/Scarf: $5
Fleece Pants: $10
Warm Jacket: $10
Long Underwear: $5
Raincoat/Poncho: $10
Rain Pants: $10
Gloves: $5
Sweater/Pullover: $10
Socks: $2
Hiking Boots: $20
Sleeping Bag and Liner: $30
Duffel Bag/Backpack: $20
Rucksack/Daypack: $10
Hiking Poles (2): $10
Gaiters: $10
Torch/Flashlight: $10
Sunglasses: $5
Batteries: $3
Water Bottle: $5
Binoculars: $20

 

Where Will I Sleep While Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro ?

 

Climbers will sleep in state of the art, four-season mountain tents during the trek. Our Mountain Hard wear tents are warm, waterproof and roomy – perfectly suited for your Kilimanjaro adventure. We understand that some climbers are anxious about camping for so many days, so we aim to have them be as dry, warm and comfortable as possible.

Each three-person sized tent will comfortably house two climbers and their gear. The interior floor space is 48 square feet, with a large vestibule, dual doors, and internal mesh pockets. The Trango 3 is a fully waterproof tent with fully taped seams and welded corners.

A 1.5 inch foam sleeping pad is provided to all climbers. These locally sourced sleeping pads are better than any commercially available sleeping pad. They are thick, warm and comfortable, even for those not used to camping. The pad is placed inside a washable cover for cleanliness.

Mountain Hardwear Lamina -30F sleeping bags are available for rent on location in Tanzania. These warm, winter synthetic sleeping bags are constructed to enhance loft and eliminate cold spots. The durable nylon shell repels water while the polyester lining wicks away moisture, keeping weary climbers dry and warm.

The Lamina is long enough to fit someone 6′ 6″ tall, weighs 5 lbs 14 oz. and is temperature rated to -30F (-34C), more than sufficient even for Kilimanjaro’s chilly nights. They are washed after every use and rented for only a short period before they are removed from the rental inventory.

What Gear Do I Need to Carry in My Day Pack ?

You are only required to carry items from your gear list that you may need prior to reaching your next campsite. A small to medium sized backpack, with a volume capacity of up to 2000 cu in (30 liters), is appropriate. The specific items to carry generally depend on the time to reach camp and trail and weather conditions. Typically, you will have inside your day pack :-

  • waterproof gear,
  • extra clothing, water,
  • snacks,
  • gloves,
  • hat,
  • sunglasses,
  • and other small items, such as bug repellent and sun screen.

Consult us  if you are unsure of what you need.

Everything else should be placed into your duffel bag, which the porters will carry. The weight limit of the duffel bag is 15 kgs. The porters will carry the duffel bag from campsite to campsite. Use plastic bags or dry bags to separate and water proof your gear. You will be expected to pack your daypack and duffel bag each morning. Note that it is acceptable to use a backpack instead of a duffel bag. However, since porters bundle the bag with other items and carry the load on their heads, a duffel bag is preferred.

What is the Weather on Kilimanjaro ?

The short answer is that the temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro range from hot to bitter cold. The journey from the gate to the peak is like traveling from the equator to Antarctica in a matter of days. This is because the routes to the Uhuru peak cross different ecological zones. Mount Kilimanjaro has five major ecological zones, each approximately 3,280 feet (1,000 m) in altitude. Each zone is subject to a corresponding decrease in rainfall, temperature and life as the altitude increases.

Moshi, the gateway town from which our climbs are organized, is located just south of the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. At 2,667 feet (900 m) above sea level, the town is located in the lowest, warmest ecological zone. Average temperature, humidity and precipitation figures for Moshi are reflected in the following table.

 

 

Average
Temperature, Humidity and Precipitation in Moshi, Tanzania
Month
Low
(F)
Average
(F)
High
(F)
Humidity
(%)
Rainfall
(in)
January
64
78
92
58
1.4
February
64
78
92
57
2.0
March
66
78
90
63
4.7
April
67
76
85
73
13.8
May
65
72
79
77
9.3
June
62
70
78
72
1.5
July
60
69
78
69
1.0
August
60
70
80
66
0.7
September
60
71
83
61
0.6
October
62
75
88
57
1.0
November
64
76
89
57
2.5
December
64
77
90
60
2.1

 

As shown, January and February are the warmest months, April and May are the wettest months, June and July are the coolest months, and August and September are the driest months. These generalities about the weather in Moshi hold true for Mount Kilimanjaro as well.

Due to its proximity to the equator, Mount Kilimanjaro does not experience wide temperature changes from season to season. Instead, the temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro are determined more so by the altitude and time of day. At the beginning of the climb, at the base of the mountain, the average temperature is around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 degrees Celsius). From there, the temperatures will decrease as you move through Mount Kilimanjaro’s ecological zones.

At the summit, Uhuru Point, the night time temperatures can range between 20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 to -29 degrees Celsius). Due to Mount Kilimanjaro’s great height, the mountain creates its own weather. It is extremely variable and impossible to predict. Therefore, regardless of when you climb, you should always be prepared for wet days and cold nights.

Below are the five zones from the lowest to the highest altitude along with the average annual precipitation and zone characteristics, of the current weather in each particular zone.

Bushland

  1. Altitude: 2,600 to 6,000 ft (800 to 1,800 m)
  2. Precipitation: 20 to 70 in (500 to 1,800 mm)
  3. Cultivated land, grasslands and populated human settlements characterize this zone.

Rain Forest

  1. Altitude: 6,000 to 9,200 ft (1,800 to 2,800 m)
  2. Precipitation: 79 to 40 in (2,000 to 1,000 mm)
  3. The forest receives 6 feet of rain annually, supporting a variety of plants and wildlife while clear nights can produce low temperatures.

Heath

  1. Altitude: 9,200 to 13,200 ft (2,800 to 4,000 m)
  2. Precipitation: 51 to 21 in (1,300 to 530 mm)
  3. This semi-alpine zone is characterized by heath-like vegetation and abundant wild flowers. The unique Senecio trees are abundant here.

Alpine Desert

  1. Altitude: 13,200 to 16,500 ft (4,000 to 5,000 m)
  2. Precipitation: 10 in (250 mm)
  3. The alpine desert receives little water and correspondingly light vegetation exists here. The temperature can vary from over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to below freezing at night.

Arctic

  1. Altitude: 16,500+ ft (5,000+ m)
  2. Precipitation: <4 in (100 mm)
  3. Characterized by ice and rock, there is virtually no plant or animal life at this altitude. Nights are extremely cold and the day’s unbuffered sun is powerful. The oxygen level is half that of sea level.

How Can I Pre-Acclimatize to Kilimanjaro’s High Altitude ?

Altitude training systems work by simulating the high altitudes found on Mount Kilimanjaro. The altitude training system reduces the percentage of oxygen in the air you breathe. Through regular use, the body undergoes physiological changes to cope with the lower oxygen level.

Without pre-acclimatization, as climbers ascend on Kilimanjaro, their bodies respond with short-term adaptations. These quick-response adaptations are meant primarily to prevent sickness and allow for some semblance of normal cardiovascular and muscular performance in an oxygen deprived environment.

Pre-acclimatization through altitude training systems produces long-term adaptations, such as an increase in red blood cells, blood volume, and efficiency of oxygen absorption. These adaptations help:

  • Reduce the Incidence of Acute Mountain Sickness. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is the main reason climbers fail on Mount Kilimanjaro .  Most people will experience some symptoms of AMS. Pre-acclimatization can reduce or eliminate symptoms of AMS.
  • Increase performance on the mountain. Pre-acclimatization significantly improves the body’s mechanisms for delivering oxygen to the muscles. The result is increased aerobic and anaerobic performance on Kilimanjaro, such as hiking strength and endurance.
  • Increase recovery on the mountain.  Breathing rates and oxygen intake decreases when the body is asleep. In an oxygen deficient environment, many people have difficulty sleeping. Pre-acclimatization enables people to sleep well, and thus, recover after physical activity.

 

Is Climbing Kilimanjaro Safe?

If you only read one page on our site, this should be it. Climbing Kilimanjaro is probably one of the most dangerous things you will ever do. Every year, approximately 1,000 people are evacuated from the mountain, and approximately 10 deaths are reported. The actual number of deaths is believed to be two to three times higher. The main cause of death is altitude sickness. Everyone climbing Mount Kilimanjaro should be familiar with the symptoms of altitude sickness.

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