Climbing Kilimanjaro in December Weather and Temperature

Climbing Kilimanjaro in December can be challenging due to wet and cold weather, slippery trails at lower altitudes, subzero temperatures, and howling winds at night. Towards the end of the month, the mountain experiences a secondary high season associated with the Christmas and New Year holidays, which is best avoided. However, there is potential for climbing Kilimanjaro at the beginning of December and over the Christmas period into early January. 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). Climbing Kilimanjaro is possible all year round, but the main tourist seasons are from July to October, then from December to February, which coincide with the dry season in Tanzania

Why December is a challenging time to climb Kilimanjaro

December is considered one of the most challenging months to climb Kilimanjaro due to the unpredictable weather conditions and increased precipitation. The mountain experiences its wet season during this time, with frequent rain showers and the possibility of snowfall. The rainfall not only makes the trails slippery and more difficult to navigate but also increases the risk of avalanches and landslides. Moreover, the cloud cover can obscure visibility, making it harder to navigate and enjoy the panoramic views that Kilimanjaro is famous for. As a result, climbers need to be well-prepared and equipped to face these challenges.

Kilimanjaro Weather conditions in December

In December, temperatures on Kilimanjaro can vary greatly depending on the altitude. At the lower slopes, temperatures may range from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius during the day, while at higher altitudes, temperatures can drop below freezing point. It is important to note that the weather on Kilimanjaro can change rapidly, and climbers should be prepared for both warm and cold conditions. Additionally, the wet season brings a higher chance of rainfall and snowfall. It is important to check the weather forecast before embarking on your climb and to pack appropriate clothing and gear to stay warm and dry.

Choosing the right route for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in December 

When choosing a route for a Kilimanjaro climb in December, it is important to consider the weather conditions, level of difficulty, and personal preferences. The Marangu route, also known as the Coca-Cola route, is often recommended for climbers attempting the summit during the wet season. This route offers more sheltered accommodation options and has a lower chance of snowfall. However, it is also the most crowded route, so if you prefer a quieter and more secluded experience, you may opt for the Machame or Lemosho routes. These routes provide stunning scenery but are more challenging and require a higher level of fitness.

The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is between June and October, with December, January, and February being the coldest months. The temperatures near the summit of Kilimanjaro can get as low as -10 degrees Celsius and can feel even colder if the wind is strong. The short rains come between October and December, with an average temperature of 76°F (24.4°C) with rain slowly increasing in frequency with partly cloudy skies. The summit to push is during the early hours of the morning, so prepare for sub-zero temperatures. Depending on the wind chill factor, it can get as cold as -10 degrees Celsius. It is recommended to layer up and check historical forecasts of Kilimanjaro Weather by altitude.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the weather like when climbing Kilimanjaro in December?

A: The weather in December can be unpredictable on Kilimanjaro, with temperatures ranging from below freezing at night to mild during the day. It is important to be prepared for both cold and warm weather while climbing.

2. What type of gear is recommended for climbing Kilimanjaro in December?

A: It is recommended to bring warm, waterproof clothing and a good sleeping bag for the cold nights. Proper hiking boots and trekking poles are also essential for navigating the terrain. A detailed gear list can be provided by your tour company.

3. Is climbing Kilimanjaro in December more challenging than other times of the year?

A: Climbing Kilimanjaro in December can be more challenging due to the weather conditions. The trails can be slippery and the nights can be extremely cold. However, with proper preparation and a good guide, it is still a feasible and enjoyable adventure.

4. What is the altitude sickness risk when climbing Kilimanjaro in December?

A: Altitude sickness is a risk when climbing Kilimanjaro at any time of the year. In December, the colder temperatures and potentially icy trails may increase the risk. It is important to acclimatize properly and listen to your body’s signals.

5. Are there any special events or celebrations on Kilimanjaro in December?

A: There are no specific events or celebrations on Kilimanjaro in December, but you may encounter other climbers celebrating the holiday season on the mountain. It can be a unique and festive experience to celebrate the holidays at such a high altitude.

6. What is the best route for climbing Kilimanjaro in December?

A: The best route for climbing Kilimanjaro in December depends on your personal preferences and abilities. The Marangu and Rongai routes are popular options during this time, as they offer warmer and drier conditions. However, the Machame and Lemosho routes also provide beautiful views and may be less crowded.

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Josephat Mashehe is a seasoned Kilimanjaro guide who offers his expertise to those looking to conquer Africa's highest peak. With years of experience under his belt, Josephat provides comprehensive guidance, ensuring a safe and memorable journey for adventurers. His services include detailed planning, safety measures, and on-site assistance, making him an invaluable asset for anyone aiming to tackle the challenging climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.
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