Climbing Kilimanjaro on a Full Moon
Since most summit bids start from high camp at around 2300 - 0100, with exact start time usually depending on the guide's assessment of the group's pace over the preceding few days, most of the approach to the summit happens in darkness.
Both for reasons of beauty and atmospheric aesthetics, as well as to maximise the available light when ascending, some climbers like to coordinate their summit attempt with the full moon.
Where in the sky will the full moon be?
However, before simply opting for the closest convenient full moon date, it's helpful to be able to visualise in advance of the climb where the moon will be in the sky when approaching the summit from high camp.
In order to do this we recommend using the following tool. You can input your proposed climb dates, see when the moon will be full and then operate a simple slider to show the position and elevation of the moon in the sky as you progress through summit night.
Summit bids don't have to be in darkness!
Some people don't like climbing in the dark, usually for two reasons: it's colder, and you see less. And in the case of children, there's a third reason: it's often difficult for them to stay awake during darkness.
With these people in mind, Team Kilimanjaro are also able to coordinate daytime summit bids. However, we usually aim to wake early, around 0430, and to begin the assault at around 0500 - 0530.
A daytime summit may also be preferable if climbing on dates when many climbers are expected to be on the summit, usually in around July and August.
Also, many Excel Series climbs may operate a daytime summit bid policy as there is not the need to descend all the way to Mweka / Millennium / Horombo Camps.
Why some like to summit at night on a new moon
Not everyone doing a night time summit bid will find it preferable to climb on a full moon as a new moon is actually far better for viewing stars, so many astronomy enthusiasts will aim to coordinate their summit bid with the time when the weather will be clearest and the night will be darkest.
Those prioritising star viewing are therefore advised to climb when the weather is likely to be driest (June to September), and to summit on a new moon.
Full Moon Dates & Times On Kilimanjaro
Timings for full moon are detailed as Kilimanjaro local time, ie. UTC +3 hours.
|Month 👇 Moon phase 👉||New Moon 🌑||Full Moon 🌕||Elevation & bearing|
|January 2023||23rd December 2022 at 1318||6th January at 1410||-54° @ 046|
|February 2023||21st January at 1155||5th February at 2130||35° @ 062|
|March 2023||21st February at 0009||7th March at 1542||-47° @ 081|
|April 2023||21st March at 2027||5th April at 1937||20° @ 091|
|May 2023||19th April at 1916||5th May at 2037||31° @ 109|
|June 2023||19th May at 1856||3rd June at 1844||11° @ 114|
|July 2023||17th June at 1939||3rd July at 1440||-48° @ 138|
|August 2023 (Supermoon)||17th July at 2133||1st August at 2133||39° @ 117|
|August 2023||16th August at 1239||30th August at 1637||-23° @ 108|
|September 2023||14th September at 1640||29th September at 1258||-81° @ 105|
|October 2023||14th October at 2055||28th October at 1124||-80° @ 323|
|November 2023||13th November at 1227||27th November at 1216||-69° @ 000|
|December 2023||12th December at 1432||26th December at 1533||-35° @ 058|
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