Trip Preparation

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.

You should to be prepared to pay for the majority of these treatments as the vaccinations you will be provided with on the NHS will vary. Further information about travel health can be obtained from the NHS website.

Vaccinations   

Malaria

Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes and is endemic to Tanzania. You may find yourself at risk in almost every part of the country; although this risk is diminished at altitudes above 6,561 feet / 2,000 metres. Care should always be taken between sunset and sunrise, especially during the rainy season. Always sleep under a treated net; wear trousers and closed footwear, and use an effective repellent. Your hotel in Moshi does have mosquito nets in all their rooms. You should check the nets are free of holes and contact reception if you have any issues.

Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is an epidemic arbours disease spread by the Adedes mosquito. Travelers entering Tanzania from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission areas such as neighboring African countries are required to provide a yellow fever vaccination certificate. See the Tanzanian Government website for more details. As some countries list Tanzania as a Yellow Fever endemic country you may also be asked for a certificate after departing Tanzania and arriving at other destinations. Basic Swine Flu checks are carried out at the main points of entry to Tanzania.

When you are considering what vaccinations to have prior to your trip you may want to discuss the following with your GP or travel health clinic:

Cholera

Cholera is an acute infection of the small intestine caused by the Vibrio cholera bacterium which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea. The disease is transmitted through contaminated food and water and travellers should therefore practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions.

Diphtheria

Diphtheria is an acute, highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheria which is spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing.

Hepatitis A & B

Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver transmitted through contaminated food and drink.

Hepatitis B is an inflammation of the liver transmitted through infected blood or blood products.

Meningococcal Meningitis (ACWY)

Polio

Tetanus

Tuberculosis (TB)

Typhoid Fever

Rabies

Rabies is an acute virus of the central nervous system spread by bites from any infected mammal e.g bays, dogs, cats, foxes and raccoons.

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 is 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 containg 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 Centre in Moshi is the nearest hospital providing Anaesthesia, Child Health and Paediatrics, Dental Care and Oral Hygiene, Ear – Nose – Throat, Eye -Ophalmology, General Surgery, Gynaecology/Obstetrics, Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Orthopaedics, 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 travellers’ 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.

Immunizations/Vaccinations
There are several immunizations that you should get before leaving North America or Europe for East Africa. At the bare minimum, include vaccinations for yellow fever, cholera, hepatitis A, tetanus, polio, typhoid, and meningococcal meningitis. Although medical professionals the world over agree that cholera shots are generally unnecessary, many governments—including those of East Africa—require the cholera stamp on your health documents. (Health docu­ments are simply records of the immunizations you have received. Every public or private medical facility that administers immunizations should provide you with these documents at no cost.)

Also, if you are planning to get the above-mentioned shots, plan early. Some of them require several courses spread over weeks, even months, and some can’t be taken with other medicines.

Malaria
Many Westerners—acutely aware of the well-publicized effect of AIDS on Afri­cans—seem to forget about malaria, but malaria is still one of the biggest killers in East Africa. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “there are at least 300 million acute cases of malaria each year globally, resulting in more than a million deaths. Around 90 percent of these deaths occur in Africa, mostly in young children.”

Malaria tablets are easy to get both in East Africa and at home, before you leave (nearly all courses require starting several weeks before you travel). There are several brands available (you can buy them at chemists’ shops and many hotels, restaurants, and bars in East Africa), and some even sell for pennies per tablet. However, according to some medical professionals, some brands of malaria medicine are not effective.

Larium is reportedly the best antimalarial; however, it is not readily available in East Africa. It is also remarkably expensive, costing around US$150–200 for the typi­cal course (“generic” Larium is about half that). Ask your doctor before you go.

The best way to combat malaria, however, is to cover up and prevent mos­quito bites in the first place.

Dengue Fever
Dengue fever (there are several forms of it) has become something of a world issue in recent years, and an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide are at risk of contracting it, according to the WHO, which also estimates that “there may be 50 million cases of dengue infection worldwide every year.” The fever mani­fests itself as a severe, flulike illness that affects people of all ages, but rarely causes death. There is no cure for dengue fever. Like malaria, it is transmitted by mosquitoes, so the best defense is to cover up against the insects and use repellent when covering up is not possible.

Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)
Trypanosomiasis is spread by tsetse flies, and this disease has two distinct phases: early and neurological. The early phase includes fever, headache, itch­ing, and pain in the joints. The neurological phase occurs when the parasite that causes trypanosomiasis leaves the blood and enters the central nervous system. When this happens, the victim can experience confusion, a lack of balance, and reduced sensory skills. This is also when the parasite wrecks the sleep cycle, hence the name.

If the disease is not treated, it is fatal. Worse, if treatment does not occur before the start of the neurological phase, neurological damage can be irreversible. Treated early on—the treatment consists of two sets of drugs, each combating the parasite in the two phases—the chance of recovery is high. If you think you have contracted trypanosomiasis, seek professional medical help immediately.

Dysentery
Perhaps the most common ailment besides diarrhea is dysentery (and, obvi­ously, diarrhea occurs with dysentery). There are several kinds, but they all can be identified by severe stomach cramps and confirmed by a simple stool test, which can be done at any dispensary (pharmacy).

Water
Tap water is generally regarded as questionable to drink in East Africa. If you ask whether the water has been chlorinated, as some guidebooks suggest, you will either get an emphatic yes, regardless of whether it has been chlorinated or not, or no answer at all, as many local people are not sure what chlorination is. These days, most travelers, including climbers, rely on bottled mineral water, which is readily available throughout the region.

High on Kilimanjaro, the water is extremely clean, except for those few places where it has been contaminated by human waste. The lower you are, elevation-wise, and the closer you are to campsites and popular trekking routes, the more likely it is not. Wherever you are, it’s a good idea to boil or treat your water at all times.

Water is readily available at most camps and huts. At worst, such as Barafu Huts on Kilimanjaro, it’s a half hour’s easy hiking away.

VACCINATION TABLE

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.