Weather, Climate and Seasons
Lying on the equator Mount Kenya is affected by the passage of the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which brings with it the main rainy periods. The highest rainfall occurs between late March and the middle of May, and slightly less between late October and mid December. Maximum rainfall occurs in the forest belt and on the south-east side of the mountain where it reaches 2500mm. per year at 3000m. Precipitation decreases with altitude and is about 700mm. per year at 4500m. Rain and, higher up, snow can however be encountered at any time of year - even in the driest periods (January and February). Normally the drier seasons are associated with clear, dry weather which can last for many days on end. The best weather is generally in the mornings, and convectional rainfall, if any, tends to come in the mid-afternoon.
Temperatures vary considerably with height and with time of day. On the plains surrounding Mount Kenya the average day temperature is about 25°C. At 3000m. frosts can be encountered at night while day temperatures range from 5 to 15°C. Night time temperatures on the summit are well below freezing. The south-facing side of Mount Kenya receives more sunshine in the December to March period. During this time rock climbs are "in-condition" and snow and ice climbs gradually deteriorate. In the June to October period the north-facing rock climbs and south-facing ice climbs are best.
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Comments and updates to information are most welcome.
© Andrew Wielochowski 10/06/98. Extract from Mount Kenya Map and Guide