Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is an amazing experience; Kilimanjaro is one of the most accessible high-altitude mountains in the world and does not require any technical training or technical equipment. You will have a team consisting of a guide, assistant guide, porters and cook supporting you during your trek. They will carry all the necessary equipment, food and supplies required for the duration of your time on Kilimanjaro.

Although you do not need to do any training with climbing equipment, carry oxygen or buy specialist clothing. The experience of climbing to over 19,000 feet, walking for up to eight days and sleeping outdoors, will mean that careful planning and preparation is required to give you the best chance reaching the summit.

To help you prepare for your Kilimanjaro adventure, I have highlighted main elements that should be considered before booking your trek and how to prepare for your climb.

This section includes:

Transportation 

Before booking transportation to Tanzania and ultimately to the starting point of your climb you need to decide if you are just climbing Kilimanjaro, or are you planning to enjoy other adventures and relaxation opportunities.  If you are going to Tanzania just climb Kilimanjaro, the best option is to fly directly to Kilimanjaro International Airport. However, if you plan on spending time in Zanzibar, going on safari or visiting other parts of the region, consider flying into Nairobi, Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar.

More and more international airlines fly to Tanzania every year; the two major airports in Tanzania are Dar es Salaam International Airport and Kilimanjaro International Airport (near Arusha and Moshi). Most Kilimanjaro treks start out in Arusha or Moshi in Tanzania. Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO), is located midway between Arusha and Moshi and handles international flights, while the much smaller Arusha airport (airport code ARK) handles domestic Tanzanian air traffic.

Budget travelers and backpackers with more time than money should look at all options carefully. A bus trip is not the most comfortable way to get around Tanzania; however, it is an adventure and an economical way to travel the country.

International Flights

Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) Flights

The only regularly scheduled direct flights from outside Africa to JRO are from Europe (Amsterdam and Frankfurt). If you are arriving from North America or elsewhere, you will have to make a transfer in Europe, or fly into another African city and make a connection.

For most travelers, the most convenient way to get to Kilimanjaro from outside of Africa is to take the daily flight on KLM from Amsterdam AMS to JRO. The KLM flight does a loop: departs Amsterdam in the late morning and arrives Kilimanjaro in the evening (flight time is around 8 hours), short hop to Dar es Salaam DAR, then back to Amsterdam overnight. KLM and its Sky Team partners (Northwest, Continental, Delta, Air France, etc.) have connections to Amsterdam from around the globe.

If your travel dates are flexible the discount German airline Condor has some great fares from Frankfurt, Germany FRA to JRO. However, they only fly once a week, departing Frankfurt on Tuesday nights, arriving at JRO on Wednesday mornings, and returning to Frankfurt on Wednesday night. Condor has connections to Frankfurt from across Europe, as well as from several North American cities.

Another option getting to JRO is to take Ethiopian Airlines to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ADD, and then transfer to their daily flight to JRO. Ethiopian Airlines has connections to select major cities in Europe, North America, and Asia. You can also fly into another African city, change airlines for Kilimanjaro (or take a long African bus ride!). We do not advise mixing airlines too much, as it increases the risk of lost luggage and missed flights. Some of the logical cities to fly into and common routings include:

  • Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania DAR, on SWISS Airlines from Zurich ZRH, Air Emirates from Dubai DXB
  • Nairobi, Kenya NBO, on British Airways from London Heathrow LHR
  • Johannesburg, South Africa JNB, on South African Airways from Washington DC IAD, Sydney Australia SYD, Hong Kong HKG, etc.

Carriers that fly to Tanzania:

British Airways – Direct flights from Gatwick to Dar es Salaam

Swiss Air – Flies to Dar es Salaam from Zurich

Gulf Air – Flies from Abu Dhabi and Muscut to Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam

Ethiopian Airlines

Lufthansa

Turkish Airlines

Emirates

KLM

Condor

In Country Flights

Ethiopian Airways offers Kilimanjaro flights at good prices from Addis Ababa via Nairobi (they also fly to Europe and a handful of other international destinations). Kenya Airways offer flights to Kilimanjaro from Nairobi three times a day. The flights are operated by Precision Air, a young and dynamic Tanzanian airline with competitive prices. Precision Air also operates flights from Dar es Salaam or Zanzibar to Kilimanjaro.

Another local carrier is Air Tanzania who operates Kilimanjaro flights from Johannesburg in South Africa and also connecting flights from Kilimanjaro to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

Charter airlines operating flights into & out of Tanzania

Between these cities

  • ADD – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • AMS – Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • ARK – Arusha, Tanzania
  • DAR – Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
  • EBB – Entebbe, Uganda
  • FRA – Frankfurt, Germany
  • JNB – Johannesburg, South Africa
  • JRO – Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • JRO – Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • KGL – Kigali, Rwanda
  • MBA – Mombasa, Kenya
  • MWZ – Mwanza, Tanzania
  • NBO – Nairobi, Kenya
  • WIL – Nairobi, Kenya (Wilson Airport)
  • ZNZ – Zanzibar, Tanzania

Ground Transportation

Bus and Shuttle

Regional Luxury Shuttle

http://www.regionalluxuryshuttle.com/  scheduling and booking portal.
Email: inquiries@regionalluxuryshuttle.com

Phone: +254 722 34 1397, +254 731 47 7950

Pricing as of February 2019

Departure

Arrival

One Way

Return Trip

Nairobi

Arusha

$25

$50

Arusha

Nairobi

$25

$50

Nairobi

Moshi

$35

$70

Moshi

Nairobi

$35

$70

Nairobi

Marangu

$70

$150

Marangu

Nairobi

$80

$150

Nairobi

Dar-as-salaam

$100

$200

Shuttle Express East Africa, aka Davanu Shuttle

https://www.eastafricashuttles.com/riverside.htm scheduling and booking portal. 
Email: info@eastafricashuttles.com or eastafricashuttles@gmail.com

WHATSAPP: +254 710 18 9751

Pricing as of February 2019

Departure

Arrival

One Way

Return Trip

Nairobi

Arusha

$25

$50

Nairobi

Moshi

$30

$60

Nairodi Airport transfers & Tours  

http://nairobiairporttransfers.com/index.htm 
Email: info@nairobiairporttransfers.com

WHATSAPP: +254 710 18 9751 or +254 722 32 4421

Kilimanjaro Airport

Transfers from Kilimanjaro airport to Arusha or Moshi 
US$50/Vehicle by salon car, 4 Doors and 4 seats

US$80/Vehicle by safari van, 3 Doors/7 seats

US$150/Vehicle by Minibus, 3 Doors/ 24 seats.

Dar es Salaam Airport

Transfers from Dar es Salaam airport to Dar es Salaam
US$50/Vehicle by salon car, 4 Doors and 4 seats; US$80/ Vehicle by safari van, 3 Doors/7 seats; US$130/Vehicle by Minibus, 3 Doors/ 24 seats.

Zanzibar Airport

Transfers from Zanzibar airport to Stone town
US$20 per Vehicle by salon car, 4 Doors/4 seats; US$40/Vehicle by safari van,3 Doors/7 seats; US$80/Vehicle by Minibus, 3 Doors/ 24 seats.

Taxis

Taxis can be found outside the Arrivals hall at Kilimanjaro International Airport, especially with KLM flights. Expect to pay about USD $50 or TZS 75,000 to either Moshi or Arusha for 4 people. There is some room for negotiation, especially since taxi drivers have likely come from Moshi or Arusha to drop off passengers departing from Kilimanjaro International Airport and do not want to drive back without a fare.

*Note that many booking agents (including several online), offer transfers as well, it might be worthwhile exploring this option prior to arrival.

Travel Booking Sites 

Vayama offers flights on regional and domestic African airlines, such as Air Tanzania and Precision Air. Their interactive mapping tool is pretty cool too! The main limitation is that their website only accepts US and Canadian credit cards.

Kayak.com scours hundreds of online sources for the cheapest fares available. The more flexible you are on time and destination, the better your chances of finding a great deal. Search for dates up to three days before and after your ideal travel dates, or use the Buzz tool to search for flights that leave within a calendar month, in the six upcoming weekends or just anytime. If you are flexible on destination, Buzz also lets you search a region, such as the Caribbean, Europe or Asia. And with the site’s Explore tool, you can scan a world map for all the destinations you can reach within a specified price range.

Bing Travel gives you a recommendation to either buy a ticket now or wait for a fare based on its “price predictor.” The price predictor forecasts whether fares on major domestic routes will go up or down. Enter your desired itinerary and the site will return a list of flight options, along with a recommendation to buy now or wait.

WhichBudget.com helps you build an inexpensive overseas flight plan by using local, budget airlines — a great way to save on international travel. It’s based on a comprehensive list of airlines servicing 170 countries. Select your overseas starting point, end point or both, and the site will list airlines you have probably never heard of that service each route. For example, if you search for flights from Bangkok to other Asian destinations, you will get options from AirAsia, Jetstar and Nok Air. Click on an airline’s link and you will be redirected to its home page to book a flight.

Yapta.com will track a flight’s price for you after you buy your ticket. If the costs drop below what you paid, most airlines and online travel agencies will refund the difference, typically in the form of travel credits or vouchers. Yapta will alert you to falling fares via e-mail or tweet. If the change in price dips below the cost of any “re-booking fees,” the site will explain how to collect your refund.

Entry Requirements 

You must have a Visa to enter Tanzania; there are 2 options available;

  • Obtain a visa before you depart the UK from the Tanzania High Commission.
  • Purchase your visa on arrival in Tanzania.

I would recommend getting your visa before you travel to avoid any issues when you arrive in Tanzania. The visa can be obtained by post or directly from the Tanzania High Commission office in London. Visas can be obtained within 24 hours by visiting their office if required, but there is an additional charge for this.

Tanzania High Commission:

3 Stratford Place
London
W1C 1AS
Tel: 0207 569 1470
Fax: 0207 491 3710

You can download the Visa application form from their website; www.tanzania-online.gov.uk

Passport

You must have a valid Passport with no less than six months from expiry left on the passport, from the date of entry to Tanzania.

Tanzania Embassy

Visit the Tanzania Embassy website here.

Visas

No Visa is required for nationals of the following countries:

Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Hong Kong, Kenya, Leshoto, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Referred Visas are required for nationals of the following countries:

Afghanistan, Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Palestine, Refuges and Stateless individuals, Senegal, Somalia, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzten, and Sri Lanka.

Immunizations

Vaccination against cholera and malaria is recommended.

Yellow fever vaccination is required for ALL persons from yellow fever endemic countries/regions.

Those in transit for 12 hours or more and/or who leave the airport vicinity in a yellow fever endemic area are required to get vaccinated. All individuals from yellow fever endemic regions traveling by way of air, marine and land are required to get vaccinated.

United States

Entry / exit requirements for U.S. citizens: 

Medical Alert: Due to a current outbreak of yellow fever, the ministry of health in Tanzania and Zanzibar is taking precautionary measures and has requested that everyone show a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate at all ports of entry. Please remember to carry your yellow fever vaccination cards when entering Tanzania from another country and also when traveling to Zanzibar and all ports of debarkation in Tanzania.

A passport and visa are required for travel to Tanzania. U.S. citizens with valid passports may obtain a visa either before arriving to Tanzania or at any port of entry staffed by immigration officials. The U.S. Embassy recommends that U.S. citizens obtain their visas before arriving in Tanzania to avoid long delays at entry points. The current fee is $100 for a 12-month multiple-entry tourist visa. Visa fees could rise again as they reciprocate U.S. application fees. Some border posts and embassies may have technical difficulty in producing the 12-month visa, and may make hand-written annotations on the computer-printed visa. U.S. passports must be valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date the visa is obtained, whether it is acquired beforehand or at a port of entry. Foreigners may be required to show their passports when entering or exiting Zanzibar.

The web site of the Embassy of Tanzania in Washington, DC states yellow fever vaccinations are required for persons from, or who have visited, yellow fever endemic countries.

Tanzanian law is very strict on visa categories. A recurring problem encountered by U.S. citizens is that volunteer activity – even if the traveler is paying for the volunteer opportunity – is prohibited on a tourist visa. U.S. citizens traveling to Tanzania for short- or long-term volunteer projects should review their status with the sponsoring organization before entering the country.

Travelers are reminded to safeguard their U.S. passports while in Tanzania. Passport loss can lead to departure delays and disruption of travel. Tanzanian authorities require that travelers not in possession of the visa and entry stamps obtained upon entry visit immigration authorities prior to departure to regularize their status. Persons attempting to depart without proper documentation may be subject to fines or delays in departure.

Visit the Embassy of Tanzania website for the most current visa information.

Embassy Address
686 Old Bagamoyo Road, Msasani
Dar Es Salaam
Telephone: 255- (0)22- 229-4122
Facsimile: 255- (0) 22- 266-8247
Email: drsacs@state.gov
Emergency after hours: U.S. citizen emergencies should call 255- (0)22- 229-4000 and wait for the operator to answer.

United Kingdom

Tanzanian Embassies Abroad

Belgium
72 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels
Tel: +32-2-640-6500 / 6527
Fax: +32-2-646-8026
Email: tanzania@skynet.beCanada
50 Range Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8J4
Tel: +1-613-232-1500 / 1509
Fax: +1-613-232-5184
Email: tzottawa@synapse.net
www.tanzaniahighcommission.ca

China
No. 53, Dong Liu Jie, San Li Tun, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
Tel: +86-10-65321491 / 08
Fax: +86-10-65324351
Email: tzrepbj@sina.com

France
13 Avenue Raymond Poincaré, 75116 Paris
Tel: +33-1-53-70-63-66
Fax: +33-1-47-55-05-46
Email: info@amb-tanzanie.fr
www.amb-tanzanie.fr

Germany
Eschenallee 11, 14050 Berlin (Charlottenburg, Westend)
Tel: +49-30-303-0800
Fax: +49-30-303-08020
Email: info@tanzania-gov.de, tzberlin.habari@gmx.de
www.tanzania-gov.de

Italy
Villa Tanzania, Viale Cortina D’ampezzo 185, 00135 Rome
Tel: +39-06-334-85801 / 02 / 04
Fax: +39-06-334-85828
Email: info@embassyoftanzania.it, info@tanzania-gov.it
www.tanzania-gov.it

Japan
4-21-9, Kamiyoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0098
Tel: +81-3-3425-4531
Fax: +81-3-3425-7844
Email: tzrepjp@tanzaniaembassy.or.jp, visa@tanzaniaembassy.or.jp
www.tanzaniaembassy.or.jp

Kenya
Continental House, 4th Floor, PO Box 47790, Nairobi
Tel:+254-2-331056 / 057 / 104
Fax: +254-2-721874
Email: tanzania@user.africaonline.co.ke

Russia
Pyatnitskaya, U Litsa 33, Moscow
Tel: +7-095-231-5431
Fax: +7-095-230-2968
Email: tanmos@wm.west-call.comSaudi

Arabia
PO Box 94320, Riyadh 11693
Tel: +966-1-0-4542839 / 4542833
Fax: +966-1-4549660
Email: tzriyad@deltasa.comSouth Africa
822 George Avenue, Arcadia, 0083, or PO Box 56572, Acardia, 0007
Tel: +27-12-342-4371 / 93
Fax: +27-12-430-4383
Email: thc@tanzania.org.za, diplomat@cyberhost.co.za
www.tanzania.org.zaSweden
Wallingatan 11, Box 7255, 111 60

Stockholm
Tel: +46-8-503-206-00 / 1
Fax: +46-8-503-206-02
Email: mailbox@tanemb.se
www.tanemb.se

Uganda
6 Kagera Road, PO Box 5750, Kampala
Tel: +256-41-256272
Email: tzrepkla@imul.com

United Arab Emirates
No. S6A1 Nasr Street Khalidiyah, PO Box 43714, Abu Dhabi
Tel: +971-2-6650226
Fax: +971-2-6661613
Email: tanrep@emirates.net.ae

United Kingdom
3 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AS (opposite Bond Street tube station)
Tel: +44-207-569-1470
Fax: +44-207-491-3710
Email: balozi@tanzania-online.gov.uk, balozi@tanzania-online.gov.uk
www.tanzania-online.gov.uk (this website takes a long time to load)

United States
2139 R Street, NW, Washington DC 20008
Tel: +1-202-939-6123 / 5 / 7
Fax: +1-202-797-7408
Email: balozi@tanzaniaembassy-us.org
www.tanzaniaembassy-us.or

  Foreign Embassies in Tanzania

Belgium
Ocean Road 5, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-602291
Fax: +255-22-117621

Canada
38 Mirambo Street / Garden Avenue, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-211-2831
Fax: +255-22-211-6897
Email: dslam@dfait-maeci.gc.ca
www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/tanzania/menu-en.asp
This embassy also serves Australians.Denmark
Ghana Avenue, PO Box 9171, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-211-3887
Fax: +255-22-211-6433
Email: daramb@um.dk

Finland
Mirambo Street / Garden Avenue, PO Box 2455, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-219-6565
Fax: +255-22-219-6573
Email: sanomat.dar@formin.fi
www.finland.or.tzFrance
Junction Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road and Kilimani Road, PO Box 2349, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-266-6021 / 3
Fax: +255-22-266-8435
Email: ambafrance@ctvsatcom.net
www.ambafrance-tz.org

Germany
Umoja House, Mirambo Street, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-211-7409 / 15
Fax: +255-22-211-2944
Email: german.embassy@bol.co.tz
www.daressalam.diplo.de/de/Startseite.html

India
82 Kinondoni Road, PO Box 2684, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-266-9040 / 1 / 2
Fax: +255-22-266-9043 / 9050
Email: hci@hcindiatz.org
www.hcindiatz.org

Ireland
No. 1131 Msasani Road, Oysterbay, PO Box 9612, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-260-2355 / 2356 / 2361
Fax: +255-22-260-2362 / 2367
Email: iremb@raha.com

Italy
316, Lugalo Road, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-211-5935
Fax: +255-22-211-5938
Email: italdipl@raha.com
www.italdipl-dar.org

Netherlands
Umoja House, 4th Floor, Corner Mirambo Street / Garden Avenue, PO Box 9534, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-211-0000
Fax: +255-22-211-0044
Email: nlgovdar@intafrica.com
www.netherlands-embassy.go.tz

United Kingdom
Umoja House, Garden Avenue, PO Box 9200, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-211-0101; 744-242-242 (emergencies only)
Fax: +255-22-211-0102
Email: bhc.dar@fco.gov.uk
www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/tanzania

United States
686 Old Bagamoyo Road, Msasani, PO Box 9123, Dar es Salaam
Tel: +255-22-266-8001
Fax: +255-22-266-8238 / 8373
Email: embassyd@state.gov

Vaccinations & Health 

Climb Kilimanjaro strongly advise that you to visit your GP or local travel clinic as soon as possible after booking your trip to Tanzania. They will be able to provide you with all the relevant information you will require and the necessary vaccinations or other preventive measures; (such as malaria tablets or Diamox) for your Kilimanjaro trek.

Type

Vaccination Duration

Comments

Cholera

 

No longer recommended. Only necessary if travelling from infected countries.

Diptheria & Tetanus

10 year booster

Recommended. Tetanus vaccinations last for ten years and are absolutely vital for visitors to Tanzania. The vaccination is usually given in combination with one for diphtheria. Once you’ve had five injections, you’re covered for life.

Hepatitis A

Up to 10 years

Recommended. This debilitating disease of the liver is spread by contaminated water, or even by using cutlery that has been washed in this water. The latest inoculation involves two injections; the first will protect you for three years, the second, taken six to twelve months later, will cover you for ten years.

Hepatitis B

 

For extended travel or high risk

Polio

10 year booster

Recommended. The polio vaccine used to be administered by sugar-lump, making it one of the more pleasant inoculations, though these days it’s more commonly injected.

Typhoid

Up to 10 years

Recommended. This disease is caught from contaminated food and water.

Meningitis A & C

3 years

Long stay visitors, rural. This disease of the brain is often fatal, though the vaccination is safe, effective and lasts for three to five years.

Rabies

 

Long stay visitors, rural travel. If you’re spending some time with animals or in the wilderness, it’s also worth considering having a course of rabies injections, though it isn’t pleasant.

Yellow Fever

Up to 10 years

Recommended. Yellow fever is a viral illness that has caused large epidemics in Africa and the Americas and which is spread by the bite of a mosquito.

Malaria

Malaria is endemic to the region, especially on the coast. It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Remember that mosquitoes are most active during the evening and night.
If infection is suspected medical advice should be sought immediately. Malaria is detectable with a simple blood screen, but the sample is best taken during a high cycle of the fever, when the infection is at its most active.

Mefloquine one 250mg tablet weekly. OR Doxycycline one 100mg capsule daily. OR Malarone one tablet daily.

Mefloquine (Lariam)

Start two and a half weeks before travel, throughout your stay in an endemic area and continue for four weeks after return.

Doxycycline

Start two days before travel, throughout your stay in an endemic area and continue for four weeks after return.

Malarone

Start two days before travel, throughout your stay in an endemic area and continue for one week after return.

Medicines

Some of the medicines that you may want to consider taking in your first aid kit are listed below.  We would recommend that you discuss these and any other medication for Kilimanjaro with your GP especially as some of these; such as Acetazolamide (Diamox) will require a prescription.

Analgesics (pain killers)

Ibuprofen/Nurofen

Effective at relieving altitude induced headaches.

Anti-Allergy

Hydrocortisone creams are steroids which can be used to treat inflammation following an insect bite or sting. Oral anti-histamines are also useful in the treatment of insect bites and stings as well as seasonal allergies such as hay fever.

Anti-Diarrhea

Loperamide hydrochloride (Imodium) is good for the treatment of diarrhea; we would also recommend taking diaorrylite sachets as they can be used to replace body fluids lost as a result of diarrhea.

Altitude sickness medicine (Diamox)

Acetazolamide (diamox) is used for the treatment and prevention of altitude sickness; diamox does not mask the symptoms altitude sickness but actually helps to treat the problem.  Side effects of taking diamox include; tingling of fingers, toes and face. Carbonated drinks tasting flat. Increased urination and occasionally blurred vision.  It would be advisable to take a trial course prior to going to Kilimanjaro as any severe allergic reactions are easier to treat here than at a remote location.

Sterile eye drops

These may be useful if you get dust or grid in your eyes.

Anti-malarial prophylaxis medicine

You will need to consult your General Practitioner or travel clinic about malaria prophylaxis.

Mosquito sprays and creams

These will not be required on Kilimanjaro due to the altitude, but will be required before and after your ascent. It is advisable to have some “protection” against the Anopheles mosquito. Products containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) is recommended as the most effective form of bite-preventive treatment.

Sun cream

We recommend taking creams with a high SPF (30+) as the sun near the equator is very strong.

Kilimanjaro Medical Facilities

Medical facilities in areas of Tanzania outside of Dar es Salam are limited. The Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi is the nearest hospital providing Anesthesia, Child Health and Pediatricians, Dental Care and Oral Hygiene, Ear – Nose – Throat, Eye -Ophthalmology, General Surgery, Gynecology/Obstetrics, Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Orthopedics, Urology, Casualty & Emergency Medicine.

There are also medical facilities at; Mount Meru Government Hospital, Arusha and Selian Lutheran Hospital – Arusha

This page is for the purpose of providing general information about potential health issues related to visiting Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This is not a medical guide and should not used as such. We strongly recommended all travelers’ should consult with a health professional for specific information related to your travel. Climb Kilimanjaro cannot accept any liability for injury, loss or damage arising in any respect of any statement contained therein.

Fortunately, the ailments you’re likely to encounter in East Africa are easily treated and rarely life-threatening. The most common ailment is simply an upset stomach, and most of the time this is the result of your body adapting to the bacteria of East African cuisine and water.

African medical facilities have a terrible reputation because of the prevalence of AIDS and other serious diseases. However, for the more common ailments you’re likely to encounter, diagnosis and treatment can be accomplished without ever drawing blood or cutting into the body.

There are many great websites with info on high-altitude mountaineering that offer much more information—including the High Altitude Medicine Guide (www.high-altitude-medicine.com), the British Mountaineering Council (www.thebmc.co.uk), and others—so make sure your trip is preceded by a dose of web reading. Also, check out the more mainstream health websites—like the World Health Organization (www.who.int/en) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov)—for diseases not related to climbing / trekking.

Travel Insurance

You must have adequate travel insurance for your Kilimanjaro trek; you should also check that the policy covers you for high altitude climbing and trekking. I  recommend that you make copies of your policy and keep one copy with you at all times.

Your travel insurance policy should include cover for the following;

  • Cancellation and curtailment
  • Medical expenses including; rescue and repatriation
  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Personal luggage and possessions
  • Personal accident
  • Personal liability and legal expenses
  • Holiday insurance policies that include cover for trekking over 4000m

There are many insurance companies that offer policies that include high altitude insurance and will cover you for climbing Kilimanjaro, here are some of the policies I found that offer this type of cover:

Dogtag – SPORT+ insurance policy; which has three levels of cover.

Snowcard – Activity level 3 insurance policy; which has four levels of cover.

British Mountaineering Council – Trek insurance policy; covers Kilimanjaro but not Umbwe route. (This does require BMC or BMC affiliated club membership).

You must have adequate travel and medical insurance to cover all your holiday activities including climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and emergency repatriation to your home country. Being a wilderness destination, medical infrastructure in major centers is remote from many locations visited. Therefore coverage for medical evacuation by a Tanzania based scheme is recommended in case of a medical emergency. This is especially relevant to those climbing Kilimanjaro. Government provision of emergency medical response does not exist in Tanzania and thus is carried out by specialized private local medical operators. While international medical insurance is essential it must be combined with a scheme provided by a local medical evacuation operator in order to prevent delay in mobilizing effective local emergency response.

You can’t assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It’s very important to find out BEFORE you leave whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas.

What’s the difference between Travel Insurance and Travel Medical Insurance?

Travel Insurance insures your financial investment in your trip. Typically it covers such things as the cost of lost baggage and cancelled flights, but it may or may not cover costs of medical attention you may need while abroad. Travel Medical Insurance covers costs of medical attention you may need while abroad.

You need to ask your insurance company two questions:

  1. Does my policy apply when I’m out of the United States?
  2. Will it cover emergencies like a trip to a foreign hospital or medical evacuation?

In many places, doctors and hospitals still expect payment in cash at the time of service. Your regular U.S./ European health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in other countries. If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip

Why should I be concerned about medical coverage abroad?

Many health insurance plans do not provide coverage overseas. Those that provide “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad may not pay for your medical evacuation back to your home country which can cost USD$10,000.00 and up depending on your location and medical condition. Many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service. Uninsured patients may be refused service. Payment of hospital and other expenses abroad is the responsibility of the traveler.

Questions to ask your health insurance company?

  1. Does this insurance policy cover emergency expenses abroad such as returning me to my home country for treatment if I become seriously ill?
  2. Does this insurance cover high-risk activities such as parasailing, mountain climbing, scuba diving and off-roading?
  3. Does this policy cover pre-existing conditions?
  4. Does the insurance company require pre-authorizations or second opinions before emergency treatment can begin?
  5. Does the insurance company guarantee medical payments abroad?
  6. Will the insurance company pay foreign hospitals and foreign doctors directly?
  7. Does the insurance company have a 24-hour physician-backed support center?

Can my Government assist me if I become disabled overseas?

If you become ill or is seriously injured abroad, a consular officer can assist in locating appropriate medical services and informing family or friends. If necessary a consular officer can also assist in the transfer of funds. Payment of hospital and other expenses is the responsibility of the traveler.

Where can I find a list of physicians abroad?

For detailed information on physicians abroad, the authoritative reference is The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, published for the American Board of Medical Specialists and its certifying member boards. U.S. embassies and consulates abroad maintain lists of hospitals and physicians, many of which are posted on the embassy or consulate web site.

What insurance information should I carry with me abroad?

Carry both your insurance policy identity card as proof of your insurance and a claim form.

Where can I find a list of companies that provide medical evacuations and services?

Several private organizations will provide medical information and insurance for overseas travelers. Most charge a fee for this service. The following is provided for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied

U.S.-Based Air Ambulance or Medical Evacuation Companies

AIR AMBULANCE WORLDWIDE, INC.
35246 US Hwy 19 N #210
Palm Harbor, FL 34684
877-922-9675 / 727-781-1198
Fax: 727-786-0897
info@airambulanceworldwide.com

AIR MEDIC – AIR AMBULANCE OF AMERICA
Washington, PA
800-245-9987
AIR STAR INTERNATIONAL
Thermal, CA
800-991-2869 / 877-570-0911
AirStar1@aol.com

AMERICAN JETS
Ft. Pierce, FL
888-633-5381 / 772-380-4167
jimh@americanjet.net

EUROP ASSISTANCE USA
4330 East-West Hwy, Suite 1000
Bethesda, MD 20814
240-330-1000
info@europassistance-usa.com

GLOBAL RESCUE LLC
Boston, MA
800-381-9754 / 617-459-4200
memberservices@globalrescue.com

LIFE GUARD INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Las Vegas, NV
1-888-FLY’N-ICU (888-359-6428)
lgii@flyingicu.comMEDAIRE
Tempe, AZ
480-333-3700
info@medaire.com
STAT AIR INTERNATIONAL
San Diego, CA
619-754-6550 / 800-557-5911
service@statair.com TRAVEL ASSIST NETWORK CORPORATION
South Bend, IN
866-500-0333 / 574-272-5400
info@travelassistnetwork.com

TRINITY AIR AMBULANCE INTERNATIONAL
Fort Lauderdale, FL
954-771-7911
Contact@TrinityAirAmbulance.com

TRAVELERS EMERGENCY NETWORK
Tierra Verde, FL
800-ASK-4-TEN
ten@intrex.net

International-Based Air Ambulance or Medical Evacuation Companies

AUSTRIAN AIR AMBULANCE
Vienna, Austria
43-1-40-144

JETFLITE
Helsinki International Airport
Vantaa, Finland
358-9-870-2544

EUROPASSISTANCE
Johannesburg, South Africa
27-11-315-3999

GERMAN AIR RESCUE (DRF)
Filderstadt, Germany
49-0711-7007-0
alarmzentrale@drf.de

LUXEMBOURG AIR RESCUE
Luxembourg
352-420-440-1

TYROL AIR AMBULANCE
Innsbruck, Austria
43-512-22422

IAS MEDICAL AIR AMBULANCE
London, England
+ 44 (0) 870-042-1465
info@iasmedical.com


Where can I find a list of companies that provide travel insurance?

Several private organizations will provide medical information and insurance for overseas travelers. Most charge a fee for this service. The following is provided for informational purposes only and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied.

U.S.-Based Travel Insurance Companies

ACCESS AMERICA, INC.
Richmond, VA
866-807-3982

ASA, INC.
International Health Insurance
Phoenix, AZ
888-ASA-8288

BETINS
Tacoma, WA
866-552-8834 / 253-238-6382
info@betins.com

CLEMENTS INTERNATIONAL
Washington, DC
800-872-0067 / 202-872-0060
info@clements.com

CSA TRAVEL PROTECTION
San Diego, CA
888-873-5484

EUROP ASSISTANCE USA
4330 East-West Hwy Suite 1000
Bethesda, MD 20814
240-330-1000
info@europassistance-usa.com

EXPAT GLOBAL MEDICAL
Advance, NC
336-998-9583
john@expatglobalmedical.com

GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE PLANS
Marsh Consumer
Washington, DC
800-282-4495 / 202-367-5097
gateway@marshpm.com

HEALTH CARE GLOBAL
Middleburg, VA
800-237-6615 / 540-687-3166

HIGHWAY TO HEALTH
Fairfax, VA
703-322-1515

INSUREMYTRIP.COM
Warwick, RI
800-487-4722 / 401-773-9300

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL GROUP (IMG)
Indianapolis, IN
800-628-4664 / 317-655-4500

MULTINATIONAL UNDERWRITERS, INC.
Indianapolis, IN
800-605-2282
insurance@mnui.com

M. H. ROSS TRAVEL INSURANCE SERVICES
Northridge, CA
800-423-3632

PETERSEN INTERNATIONAL UNDERWRITERS, INC.
Valencia, CA
800-345-8816
piu@piu.org

QUOTEWRIGHT.COM
America’s Travel Insurance Store
East Hartford, CT
800-821-4940
service@quotewright.com

SEVEN CORNERS, INC.
Carmel, IN
800-335-0611 / 317-575-2652

TRAVEL ASSIST NETWORK CORPORATION
South Bend, IN
866-500-0333 / 574-272-5400
info@travelassistnetwork.com

TRAVELEX
Omaha, NE
800-228-9792

TRAVEL GUARD
Stevens Point, WI
800-826-1300 / 715-345-0505

TRAVELINSURED.COM
E. Hartford, CT
800-243-3174

TRAVEL INSURANCE SERVICES
InterMedical Division
Walnut Creek, CA
800-937-1387 / 925-932-1387

TRAVELSAFE INSURANCE
40 Commerce Drive P.O. Box 7050
Wyomissing, PA 19610-6050
888-885-7233
Fax: 800-303-6015
info@travelsafe.com
USA ASSIST
Worldwide Travel Insurance
Los Angeles, CA
877-539-8619


Foreign Based Companies

INTEGRA GLOBAL
Hallein, Austria
43-6245-71303
info@integraglobal.com
 

Trekking Clothes 

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a unique experience; temperatures can range from +30 degrees in the rainforest, to -25 degrees at the summit. You will also walk through 5 different climate zones in as many days and you must have all the clothing that you will require to cope with these extremes.

Where to start?

The key to success on Kilimanjaro is layers…the easiest way to keep cool, warm, dry and comfortable on the mountain is by adopting the layering principal. By taking light weight thinner layers, as opposed to thick heavy layers you will be able to adjust your clothing as required to keep you as comfortable as possible on the mountain.

There are 3 main layers that you should consider;

  1. Base layer – provides comfort by keeping the skin dry.
  2. Mid layer – provides warmth.
  3. Shell layer – protects from wind and water.

Base Layer

The base layer is a close fitting layer next to the skin that will help to keen you warm and draw sweat away from the skin to the next layers; this will make you feel warmer and keep you more comfortable on the move.

Synthetic materials such as polyester and microfiber-based fabrics are ideal as they do not absorb moisture but transfer it well.

Bamboo made base layers are also an excellent choice but they can be expensive.

Cotton is a cheap option and will feel comfortable when dry, but will absorb moisture easily and will be slow to dry out, especially in cold conditions.

Mid layer

The mid layer’s main purpose is to provide insulation in colder conditions. For extreme temperatures, multiple thin mid layers can be worn rather than one thicker layer. The mid layer should be loose-fitting enough to allow insulating air between the layers.

Wool is the traditional mid layer material as it provides good insulation even when wet.

Fleece or other synthetics has similar properties to wool, but is lighter. It provides good insulation even when wet, absorbs very little moisture and dries quickly.

Down has a very good warmth-weight ratio and can be packed down to take up very little room. The downside’s are that it is more expensive and loses its insulating properties when wet or compressed.

Synthetic Fiberfill such as polyester fiber is used similarly to down, but does not have as good a warmth-weight ratio. However, it is less expensive and provides good insulation even when wet.

Shell layer

The outermost clothing layer is called the shell layer; the main purpose is to provide protection from wind and rain. The shell layer should also be breathable, allowing moisture to pass through to the outside, while keeping the elements out.

Plastic raincoats will protect from the wind and rain, but are not breathable. To compensate, these types of raincoats will have flap-covered holes and are very loose-fitting to allow air circulation.

Hard shell materials are waterproof and are breathable. Their essential element is a thin, porous membrane that blocks liquid from entering the garment, but will allow water vapor (evaporated sweat) through the material. Typically, the more expensive the material the more breathable they are. The best-known brand of this type is Gore-Tex.

A water resistant (soft shell) material will only partially block water, but they are usually more breathable, comfortable and cheaper than completely waterproof materials.

Suggested clothing list

1 – Waterproof Jacket, breathable with hood
1 – Insulated Jacket, synthetic or down
1 – Soft Jacket, fleece or soft-shell
2 – Long Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 – Short Sleeve Shirt, light-weight, moisture-wicking fabric
1 – Waterproof Trousers, breathable (side-zipper recommended)
2 – Hiking Pants 
1 – Fleece Pants
1 – Shorts (optional)
1 – Long Underwear (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
3 – Underwear, briefs (moisture-wicking fabric recommended)
3 – Sport Bra (women)

Headwear 
1 – Brimmed Hat, for sun protection
1 – Knit Hat, for warmth
1 – Balaclava, for face coverage (optional)

Hand-wear 
1 – Gloves, warm (waterproof recommended)
1 – Glove Liners, thin, synthetic, worn under gloves for added warmth (optional)

Footwear 
1 – Hiking Boots, warm, waterproof, broken-in
1 – Trainers / Tent mules, to wear in camp (optional)
3 – Socks, thick, wool or synthetic
1 – Gaiters, waterproof (optional)

Most Kilimanjaro operators generally require that their clients supply their own personal gear for the climb. Operators typically provide the tents (personal tent and a mess tent for dining), cookware (stove, gas, plates, utensils, pans), furniture (chairs and tables for dining), first aid kits, and food and water.

Equipment Required 

Although climbing Kilimanjaro doesn’t require any technical equipment, this vast range of temperature’s and changing weather conditions will require careful planning to ensure you are prepared for all conditions. How do you decide what to take? And how do you keep your kit bag under 15Kg? Hopefully I can answer these and many other questions that you may have.

Equipment Provided

The main equipment required for living on the mountain will be provided for you and is included in the price of your Kilimanjaro trek:

  • Tent – 4 season, 3 man tents – per 2 people. This will give you ample room to sleep and have all of your kit in the tents.
  • Mess tent – a large canvas tent is provided to eat your morning and evening meals in.
  • Table and chairs – so you’re not sitting on the ground.
  • Eating utensils – cups, plates, knife, fork spoon etc.
  • Cooking equipment – the cook will bring all his pots and pans to prepare your fresh food.
  • Toilet tent – depending on which operator you go with, some take their own toilet per group so you don’t have to dread the long drop.

The list below is a realistic equipment list of what you could expect that you’ll need during your trek on Kilimanjaro. However, this is only a guide and you may wish to add your own items, just remember our porters only carry a maximum of 15kg.

  • 1 – Sunglasses
  • 1 – Rucksack Cover, waterproof (optional)
  • 1 – Water Bottle (Nalgene, 32 oz. approx. 1L recommended)
  • 1 – Water Bladder, 1L platypus type (optional, in addition to water bottle)
  • 1 – Towel, lightweight, quick-dry (optional)
  • 1 – Sleeping Bag, four seasons
  • 1 – Sleeping Bag Liner, for added warmth (optional)
  • 1 – Sleeping Pad, self-inflating or closed-cell foam
  • 1 – Trekking Poles (highly recommended)
  • 1 – Head lamp, with extra batteries
  • 1 – Kit Bag (waterproof), for porters to carry your clothing & equipment
  • 1 – Rucksack, for you to carry your personal gear

Other

  • Toiletries
  • Prescriptions
  • Lip Balm with sun factor
  • Toilet Paper
  • Snacks, light-weight, high calorie, high energy (optional)
  • Powder energy drink (optional)
  • Water purification (optional)
  • Pencil and Notebook, for trip log (optional)
  • Camera, with spare batteries and memory card’s (optional)

Although the guides carry a medical kit on Kilimanjaro you should consider taking a personal first aid kit with essentials such as:

  • Ibuprofen/Nurofen
  • Immodium
  • Diaorylite
  • Blister plasters
  • Elasoplast
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Gauze
  • Bandage
  • Scissors
  • Insect repellent (containing DEET)
  • Sun screen (minimum factor 30)
  • Talcum powder
  • Baby wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Equipment

Climb Training

Even though you will be hiking rather than climbing and you know that many people have made the summit before you, do not be overconfident and think that this is a ‘walk in the park’ – Kilimanjaro is a serious obstacle to overcome and requires that you be adequately prepared, both physically and mentally, before you conquer it.

There is no sure way of training yourself mentally for this expedition, but knowing that you are physically fit and that you have good equipment and a quality guide, will make it easier for you to gain the mental strength and determination that you will need. 

From the outset be aware that this is a strenuous multi-day hike, so you need to be hiking fit. Hiking fitness is different than running fitness as different muscle groups will need to be developed. A good deal of your training time will be spent by simply going on walks, hikes and trails (try to fit in a few one or two day trails) in addition to regular gym work where you can simulate hiking conditions. This has proven to be the most successful type of preparation. 

To ensure that you do the right exercises for you age, fitness levels and health you should visit your doctor for a check-up, show him your intended workout program and inform him of your intent to climb Kilimanjaro. He’ll be able to tell you if it’s right for you or whether you’ll need to make some adjustments. 

The best way to get climbing fit for your future climb is to combine a gym program with a walking program. The idea is to train for 6 days of the week, for eight consecutive weeks, resting one day per week. Your training sessions should be short, starting with only 70 minutes per day, and ending with 140-minute sessions in the last weeks.

This program is practical and is not too demanding on your time or your wallet. Once completed, you will be well prepared to conquer Kilimanjaro. 

During the 2 ½ months prior to your Kilimanjaro climb it is advisable to take frequent walks which should include uphill and downhill sections. It is good practice to simulate the conditions you will encounter on Kilimanjaro, so pack your daypack with at least three liters of water and carry this with you when in training.

While the best training is usually done outdoors, you may experience some rainy days or find that your local trails don’t offer enough of a challenge. On such days it is best to go to the gym for a full workout on the treadmill. Most modern gyms have machines that simulate hiking conditions quite well. Look for a program that includes up and downhill training with normal level running. 

Don’t forget the importance of rest. In order for your body to fully recuperate and be ready for the challenge of Kilimanjaro, you need to cease all training at least four days before your trip. A good day to plan this is to take your first day at Kili, deduct four days and work back eight weeks. The date you come up with will be your first day of training.

8 WEEK TRAINING PROGRAM

WEEK 1

Day 1

Day 3

Day 5

Stretching/ Warm Up

8 min

8 min

8 min

Walking

   

 – Flat (4 -5 km’s / hr)

10 min

10 min

10 min

Lower Leg Building

   

 – Walk on Heels Lifting Toes

3 min

3 min

3 min

 – Walk on Toes Lifting Heels

4 min

4 min

4 min

Walking

   

 – Flat (4 – 5 km’s/hr)

40 min

40 min

40 min

 – Uphill (2 -3 km’s/hr)

   

 – Downhill (5 – 6 km’s/hr)

   

Stretching & Cool Down

5 min

5 min

5 min

Total Duration

70 min

70 min

70 min

WEEK 2 – 3

Day 1

Day 3

Day 5

Stretching/ Warm Up

8 min

8 min

8 min

Walking

   

 – Flat (4 -5 km’s / hr)

10 min

10 min

10 min

Lower Leg Building

   

 – Walk on Heels Lifting Toes

3 min

3 min

3 min

 – Walk on Toes Lifting Heels

4 min

4 min

4 min

Walking

   

 – Flat (4 – 5 km’s/hr)

40 min

40 min

30 min

 – Uphill (2 -3 km’s/hr)

  

20 min

 – Downhill (5 – 6 km’s/hr)

  

5 min

Stretching & Cool Down

5 min

5 min

5 min

Total Duration

70 min

70 min

90 min

WEEK 4 – 8

Day 1

Day 3

Day 5

Stretching/ Warm Up

8 min

8 min

8 min

Walking

   

 – Flat (4 -5 km’s / hr)

10 min

10 min

10 min

Lower Leg Building

   

 – Walk on Heels Lifting Toes

3 min

3 min

3 min

 – Walk on Toes Lifting Heels

4 min

4 min

4 min

Walking

   

 – Flat (4 – 5 km’s/hr)

40 min

30 min

50 min

 – Uphill (2 -3 km’s/hr)

 

20 min

40 min

 – Downhill (5 – 6 km’s/hr)

 

10 min

20 min

Stretching & Cool Down

5 min

5 min

5 min

Total Duration

70 min

90 min

140 min

The gym fitness program consists of regular performance of exercises with either free weights or free weight machines. These are to be done on opposite days of the “Walking Program” above. Your exercise can be tailored to your age, conditioned and strength and you should progress to higher resistance or weights as you develop. The program is safe – keep it that way by ensuring that all the exercises are performed correctly and that basic safety procedures are followed. If in doubt, ask your local gym instructor or personal trainer to show you how to perform each exercise correctly and safely. 
Sets and Reps
Your workouts are made up of sets and reps. A rep (repetition) is a single count of an exercise – e.g. one leg curls. A set consists of a set number of reps. For example, to do 20 press ups in total, you will do 2 sets of 10 reps. 

Gym guidelines
Before you start your gym program, take note of the following guidelines and exercise with care, and don’t forget to warm up first! If you are unfit, then use light weights for the first two weeks of the gym program. The weights should be increased progressively at least every two weeks to stimulate sufficient muscle growth and development. The gym program gives you a good idea of which muscles you should work on, and it can be adapted to your time schedule and current fitness level. It is important to execute the various exercises in the same order as listed above.

Make sure to give your muscle groups enough time to rest after strenuous exercise, especially if you use weights, as this will reduce injuries and help your muscles to develop adequately (48 hours is usually a good resting period). Use this time to focus on other areas on your body. While your legs will be working the hardest during your climb, it is a good idea to include some upper body training to your program this will ensure that you maintain a healthy muscle balance while you strengthen the muscles you are going to need to carry your pack and support your back. This training will also help to increase your overall strength and fitness level.

Acclimatization Training

There is no way of knowing if you will suffer at high altitude unless you have trekked above 12,000 ft, or you have had some altitude training.

If you are not able to complete an acclimatization trek before going to Kilimanjaro then you may wish to visit The Altitude Centre, where they can carry out an Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) susceptibility test, or pre-acclimatization training.

The Altitude Centre AMS test will simulate any chosen altitude up to 22,000ft and monitor your blood oxygen saturation to see how your body copes. A course of treatments is also available which is designed to increase your blood oxygen saturation at given altitudes, which would reduce the likelihood of you developing AMS.

Please visit the Altitude Centre website for more information.