Mount Kilimanjaro Climate Zones

A climb up Kili is like a condensed trip from the equator to the North Pole! Temperatures in the foothills and tropical-feeling rainforest regions of the mountain regularly pass 90°F, while temperatures at the summit often dip down to -10°F or even lower. Learn a bit more about the five distinct Kilimanjaro climate zones you’ll pass through on your way up the mountain here:

Zone 1: The Cultivated Areas (2600′-6000′ / 793m-1799m)

Around the base of the mountain, rich volcanic soil and natural irrigation from streams trickling down the mountainside lead to bumper crops of coffee, grains, fruits and vegetables. The hundreds of farmers who call the slopes of Kilimanjaro home also often raise cattle, poultry, and bees.

Temperature Range: 70s-90s F day; 40s-60s F night



Zone 2: Rainforest (6000′-9500′ / 1829m-2744m)

Lush, green, and warm all year round, the rainforest region abounds with stunning flora and wildlife you won’t see anywhere else. Listen to the cries of the black-and-white Colobus monkeys swinging through the fig trees, keep your eyes peeled for a flash of the brilliantly-colored wings of one of the hundreds of bird species that call the region home, and watch the forest floor for tracks of antelope and jackal.

Temperature Range: 70s-90s F day; 40s-60s F night


Zone 3: Heath and Moorlands (9500′-13,199′ / 2805m-3993m)

Vegetation and wildlife both grow sparse as you ascend into the moorland. Trees here are bearded with moss and lichen, while low-lying shrubs and hardy grasses provide cover for four-striped grass mice and other rodents. Though bare, this section of the mountain has a sort of haunting beauty all its own.

Temperature Range: 50s-80s F day; 30s-70s F night


Zone 4: Alpine Desert (13,200′-16,400′ / 3993m-4999m)

Colossal boulders, dry, barren expanses, and little if any plant-life for large stretches have led several trekkers to compare the alpine desert region to the surface of the moon. This is a land of extremes, with temperatures swinging wildly between warm days in the unrelenting sun and chilly nights, when ice might cling to the sides of your tent.

Temperature Range: 40s-60s F day; 10s-40s F night


Zone 5: Arctic (16,400’+ / 4999m+)

Near the summit, Kilimanjaro transforms into a world of glittering, frigid beauty, its rapidly- disappearing glaciers shimmering in the sunlight as clouds whisk around the shoulders of the mountain below. Breathtaking in more ways than one (oxygen levels near the top of the mountain are about half those at the base), the “roof of Africa” is truly an awe-inspiring place.

Temperature Range: 10s-40s F day; -20-20s F night





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