Safety on Kilimanjaro hikes
Altitude sickness is the biggest risk when attempting Kilimanjaro and should not be under estimated. More than 70% of hikers attempting Kilimanjaro will suffer from altitude sickness and nobody can predict in advance who will get altitude sickness, who will not get and how severely you will be affected.
Only experienced Kilimanjaro National Park trained and certified English speaking guides are chosen to lead our Mt Kilimanjaro hikes. The guides receive first aid and high altitude training on a regular basis. This ensure that they are up to date with latest safety procedures. Even though the main aim is to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, safety is a very important factor. You will never see the guides pushing you beyond your limits. If a guide notice you are putting yourself and others at risk, they will advise you to abort the hike. Reaching the summit is important, but getting back down safely is just as important!
The following is part on every hike:
- Only experienced and qualified mountain guides are assigned on our hikes.
- One portable oxygen cylinder is send on every hike to be used in case of emergencies only, not to be used as summiting aid. The guides are trained on how to operate and use this equipment.
- We send a high quality pulse Oximeter on every hike. Guides use them to monitor a hiker’s blood oxygen saturation levels, symptoms and heart rate, at least twice per day, every day on the hike. Record is kept of all readings to help diagnose if a hiker is suffering from AMS.
- Emergency first aid kits for minor injuries and accidents. Hikers are still required to bring their own medication, blister plasters etc.
- The guides carry mobile phones and to contact the operational office in case of emergency.
- Kilimanjaro rescue team fees.
Kilimanjaro evacuation methods:
The following are the primary evacuation methods available on your hike and in the order how the guide will arrange it:
1. You will walk down with a guide, if it is safe and only if you are physically able to.
2. If you cannot physically walk and it is safe, you will be carried by a stretcher to the nearest rescue vehicle point.
- Stretchers are provided by the Kilimanjaro National Park and only available from specific ranger posts at campsites, subject to availability.
- Rescue vehicles are provided by the Kilimanjaro National Park and are subject to their availability.
- Stretchers and rescue vehicles costs are covered by the compulsory Kilimanjaro Rescue fees already included in all climb packages and no insurance is required for these services.
- A dedicated helicopter service is no longer available on Kilimanjaro. Our guides are trained (and experienced) with dealing with various high-altitude emergencies and we do not rely on helicopter services as they may not be available at any time, for any reason.
- The most efficient way to recover from altitude sickness is to descend to a lower altitude, the higher oxygen levels at lower altitude help hikers to recover much faster. Our primary goal, if you are able to do so safely, is to let you descend by walking down yourself.
Kilimanjaro Travel insurance
Life is unpredictable and several unforeseen events may occur on any holiday. We strongly recommend all hikers to take out travel insurance and it is important that your travel insurance policy also provide cover for hiking to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
A few key points to consider when choosing insurance:
- Make sure you are covered to the summit of Kilimanjaro – 5 895m
- Your policy should be on a non-reimbursement basis, meaning your insurer will pay hospital bills etc immediately while you are in Tanzania, opposed to you paying for it and claiming when you return home.
- Make sure your policy cover the activity of hiking to high altitude, mountain rescue service, helicopter evacuation etc.
- We recommend buying from your local insurer, this will make the handling of claims easier.
- Check if there are excess / deductibles in the event of a claim.
- Please make sure you share your insurance details with us.
If you can’t find a local insurance policy to cover yourself, we can recommend Redpoint’s ‘Ripcord’ option which will cover almost anyone on Kilimanjaro, regardless of your country of origin:
Most of our trekkers will never use insurance however the costs associated with those that do need to can be in the thousands of dollars, it is always better to be safe than sorry!