Mount Kilimanjaro is located just south of the equator, as a consequence of which temperatures at the base of the mountain remain fairly constant all year round. However, equatorial regions tend to have two annual periods of rainfall – the short rains and the long rains. The ling rains peak between March and April, tailing off between June and October, and peaking once again between November and December.
Weather Conditions on Kilimanjaro
Most of the Kilimanjaro gates are situated between 5000 and 6000 ft, so temperatures are cool, but rarely extreme. It pays to keep a jacket handy though, although as soon as you start walking you will be shedding layers.
By the time you reach you intermediate camps, morning temperatures can be very chilly, but again, usually, as the sun rises, temperatures become balmy, and typically you will be down to a t-shirt by mid morning.
This pattern continues until the staging camps – Kibo and Barafu – at which point the winds are blustery and daytime temperatures cool to cold. Nighttime temperatures can be extremely cold, typically below freezing, sometimes reaching 10-15 degrees centigrade below! So bear this in minds.
Summiting temperatures can be critically cold. The midnight wake up call can see temperatures as low as 20 below celsius, although this is quite rare. Nonetheless, water bottles freeze quickly, and body temperatures en route can fall to hypothermic levels fairly quickly without adequate warm gear.
However, with the sunrise, and upon the return from the summit, the temperature typically warms quickly, and you will be shedding layers.
Be advised, however, that snow fall, although in frequent, does happen, usually between May and July, at which point daytime temperatures can remain critically low. As a general rule prepare for this eventuality. Sleeping bags and cold weather gear should be at least proofed to 10 below Celsius. You may not ever need it, but you just might.