Kilimanjaro Full Moon
Did you know that no matter which of the seven Kilimanjaro routes you choose, on summit ‘day’ you actually start your assent at midnight? Yup, that’s right. Get ready to wake up nice and early to some tea and biscuits. Switch on your head torch. Then climb your way into the dark night ascending over stone scree to reach the top just in time for sunrise. Many describe this part of the climb, the summit attempt, as the most mentally and physically challenging part of the whole experience when they climb Kilimanjaro.
You are in for a treat
However, if you are lucky enough to be making this journey to Tanzania whilst there is a full moon – oh boy are you in for a treat! If you thought your Kilimanjaro climb couldn’t get any more beautiful than passing through beautiful snow-covered mountains amidst an ocean of green acacia forest, surrounded by dry savannah and blankets of clouds, then listen to this…
“I climbed Kilimanjaro during the full moon and it was truly amazing! The views were second to none.” Sarah Johnson
Why is the Kilimanjaro Full Moon climb so popular?
If you coincide your summit with this monthly occurrence, it will be a truly unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience. Why is the Kilimanjaro Full Moon climb so popular?
Well, firstly you’ll be accompanied and guided by the bright light of the full moon. It will illuminate your 6 hour journey up to the Uhuru Peak on the night of your summit, where the glittering glaciers and views over the rolling clouds provide spectacular views. The sky is lit up by the bright full moon. The moonlight glistening on the earth beneath your feet, twinkling like little stars. Sounds like a dream right?
Secondly, a practical reason for climbing at these times is that a bright moon along with a clear sky will improve your visibility throughout your climb, and most importantly, during the summit attempt. Thirdly, climbing Kilimanjaro during a full moon offers you magnificent night views of Kibo from most of the overnight camps.
- Stunning views
- Improved visibility during summit attempt
- Views of Kibo from most camps overnight
All of this combined just makes what is already a very special trip, just that little bit more special. It is widely considered one of the best times in the month to climb. Which month is best? Read more about the best time to climb Kilimanjaro.
What actually is the Full Moon?
The full moon is the lunar phase when the Moon appears fully illuminated from Earth’s perspective. This occurs when Earth is located directly between the Sun and the Moon (more exactly, when the ecliptic longitudes of the Sun and Moon differ by 180°). So, all of this technical stuff means that every month, the moon appears to be completely round and beautifully bright in the nights sky. It occurs about every 29 days, so you have 12 times in a year to witness the full moon. That’s one opportunity every month to witness this beautiful celestial event from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
One of the key geographic features of Mount Kilimanjaro and what makes it so unique, are its crowns of ice glaciers. Despite its close proximity to the equator, these glaciers have existed here for more than 11,000 years, and they used to be more than 300 feet (100 m) deep and extended 6,500 feet (2,000 m) from the mountain top. Due to the effects of global warming, and long term climatic cycles, however, the ice has been thinning from the top down at a very alarming rate. Some scientists estimate that Mount Kilimanjaro’s ice cap will actually be completely gone by 2050. So if you are thinking about doing this once in a lifetime climb, do yourself a favour and do it sooner rather than later. The glaciers are definitely not something you you want to miss!
The glaciers are something you do not want to miss!
Full Moon Dates
Here’s the schedule for the 2019 / 2020 full moons. If you would like to experience a full moon whilst on your Kilimanjaro climb, then chat to us about planning your trip around these dates. Please note, these dates are best estimates as per reputable weather forecasting websites. You may find different dates across different Kilimanjaro operator websites. Therefore please do not rely on this data as gospel. We recommend you double-check dates on weather websites such as this one.
2019 Full Moon schedule
- 21st January
- 19th February
- 21st March
- 19th April
- 19th May
- 17th June
- 17th July
- 15th August
- 14th September
- 14th October
- 12th November
- 12th December
2020 Full Moon schedule
- 10th January
- 9th February
- 9th March
- 8th April
- 7th May
- 5th June
- 5th July
- 3rd August
- 2nd September
- 2nd & 31st October
- 30th November
- 30th December
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The only downside…
There had to be one!
Because of all the reasons listed above, a lot of people organise their climbs around these dates. Kilimanjaro full moon climbs are therefore often the most popular dates on the mountain. If you would prefer a less crowded trek, then we would recommend avoiding these dates. Or, a happy medium may be arranging dates so you summit a few days before or after the full moon. Furthermore, you could avoid crowds even further by taken one of the less trodden Kilimanjaro routes, such as the Northern Circuit Route.
Kilimanjaro full moon climbs are often the most popular dates on the mountain.
So, doing your Kilimanjaro preparation and planning your climb to coincide with the presence of the full moon can really enhance the experience. It can make it even more of a once-in-a-lifetime memory (if that was even possible!?). We offer several full moon summit group climbs during the dry season. These treks tend to fill up fairly quickly so it is better to book well in advance! Check out our Kilimanjaro climb trip calendar. Don’t see a date that works for you? Chat to us about opening up a new one.
New Years Eve Kilimanjaro climb
Here’s another special occasion to coincide your Kilimanjaro climb with. Can you imagine a better way to bring in the new year than from the highest peak in Africa?
We’re inviting you to join us on our New Year’s Eve idea, a unique once in a life time adventure. Climb Kilimanjaro this New Years Eve and Follow Alice into 2020 with your friends above the clouds. Chat with us about this experience today.