The best time to climb Mt Kilimanjaro is arguably during the months of January, February, and September. For those who can't arrange an excursion during these periods, July and August are also good months to climb Africa's tallest peak, as the conditions tend to be quite good on the whole. On the other hand, the most difficult time to take on a climb to Kilimanjaro's summit is during the months of April and May, and this has a lot to do with the fact that these are the rainiest months on average. Rain encourages flowers to open on the mountain slopes, however, and there are less climbers to contend with.
The scenery when you climb Mt Kilimanjaro is amazing all year round. As for how to approach your climb up the mountain, taking it slow is the recommended way to go at all times of year. The peak elevation is an impressive 19,341 feet above sea level, and the higher you ascend, the less oxygen there is in the air. Exhaustion is common, and it is extremely rare for climbers to completely avoid altitude sickness. The effects of altitude begin to become noticeable at around 10,000 feet for most. As such, some trekkers climb only to the upper limit of the forest, which is set at an altitude of approximately 9,840 feet.
Six official climbing routes make their ways to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, and those who wish to go all the way to the top pass through a series of different ecosystems along the way. The majority of the routes begin in the lush forest zone, which roughly falls between the elevation of 5,900 feet and 9,200 feet. Monkeys and baboons are among the residents in this zone. Above the forest zone on Mt Kilimanjaro begins the heath and moorland zone. It tops out at around 13,100 feet and features a variety of interesting flora. Next up is the highland desert zone, which is most often very hot during the day and very cold at night. Where it leaves off at 16,400 feet, the summit zone and its arctic conditions begin. Temperatures commonly dip below zero at night in the summit zone, and the oxygen level in the air is about half of what it is down at sea level.
Anyone who is looking to climb Kilimanjaro will be happy to know that it is not as difficult as the elevation might suggest. It certainly doesn't require the kind of equipment or technical expertise that are required to climb in the higher zones of the Himalayas or the Andes Mountains. That being said, Kilimanjaro climbers should be in good shape and equipped for the task at hand. As far as being equipped is concerned, a few pairs of warm socks and at least one sweater can be a good place to start when packing. Thermal underwear can also come in handy, and layers of warm clothing are needed. Gloves and a scarf should not be forgotten either, and any and all forms of sun protection should be used. This includes sunglasses, sunscreen, and a good sun hat.
Since it takes people multiple days to complete a climb to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, camping is often part of the mix—another reason to consider which times of the year are the best times to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. An insulated sleeping bag can make the nights more comfortable for campers, as can an insulated mat. The other accommodations options that can be found on the mountain are situated along the easiest and most popular Marangu route. These accommodations come in the form of huts that provide dormitory-style lodging, and there are 180 bunk beds among them.
It is important to note that anyone who wishes to climb Kilimanjaro must arrange a guided tour to get to the top. These tours are pricy due to the daily park fees that must be paid. Porters are in place to carry your gear, which helps to justify the high costs of climbing Kilimanjaro, and provided that you choose a reputable outfit, all of your food and transportation to and from the park should be covered as well. Many tour packages include two nights in a nearby hotel, which can be convenient. The Tanzania town of Moshi, which is about a 45-minute drive from the entrance to Kilimanjaro National Park, is where the majority of the climbing operators are based, and it's also a good place to find hotels and prepare for a Kilimanjaro climb in general.