The best time to visit Mt. Kilimanjaro and the famous parks like the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater is in one of the two dry seasons from July through October and December through March. If you want to see the migration of wildebeest, they normally return to the northern part of the Serengeti in November, slowly loop down into the southern areas, and then head north again around July, reaching the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya in September.
There are 2 rainy seasons in East Africa: the long rains are from late March until June and the short rains are from November until January. “Short rains” means that it rains once or twice a week and “Long rains” means that it rains almost everyday, often in heavy downpours. This is really a bigger issue for your safari. The mountain itself is so large it creates its own weather patterns. So it is possible to climb during the rainy season, but you will get wet. If you have to climb during that time you might try the Rongai route, located on the northern and drier side of the mountain.
Weather on the Mountain
Weather on the mountain varies dramatically based on elevation and time of day. At night the temperatures at most camps drops to around freezing, sometimes below. Around 6:30am it starts to warm up to about 40 degrees (F) as direct sunlight hits the campsites. By 8am the sun is up over the peaks and it usually warms up to a comfortable 60-70 degrees.
As the day passes, the clouds roll in and cause the temperatures to drop again. You might start in the morning with 75 degrees and by 2pm it can be 30 degrees. The clouds usually pass by 5pm to offer a bit more warmth before the sun sets and temperatures drop again.
Weather in Town and on Safari
In general the evenings are between 50-60 degrees with days in the 80s. With the direct sunlight it can feel quite hot, so make sure you bring a hat and sunscreen. In the evenings at most safari lodges it was cool enough to need a jacket, especially at Ngorongoro Crater which is at about 7,300′ elevation. There is also a pretty consistent breeze that makes it comfortable during the day, and a bit chilly at night.
Full Moons – Year 2010
Many climbers like to ascend the summit portion around the time of the full moon. The moon provides considerable light during the midnight ascent, making the mountain more visible and the hike more enjoyable. The dates for the full more are: