Your safety is our first priority.
Covid-19 Tips and Rules
All travelers need to provide proof of vaccination by bringing a covid-19 vaccination certificate. At the airport they’ll give you a rapid test to be sure you’re negative before they let you leave to go on a safari or climb. All passengers must submit the online Public Health Surveillance Form within 24 hours of arriving in Tanzania.
To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
- Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
The biggest enemy on Mt. Kilimanjaro is neither weather nor wildlife, but high altitude. Many people face Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS), regardless of their fitness level.
We want to be sure you know all the signs so it’ll be easier for you to recognize it. Many people are under the mistaken impression that Africa’s highest mountain is an easy mountain to trek. But without the proper guidance and equipment, it can be a monster.
Make sure to report any signs of sickness to your guide. Don’t ignore any unusual body conditions. Don’t ignore any unusual feelings when at high altitude. Communicate with your guide even in the middle of the night.
Altitude Illness or Altitude Mountain Sickness
High altitude sickness occurs between 3,600 meters/12,000 feet and 5,400 meters/18,000 feet, and extreme altitude is over 5,400 meters/18,000 feet.
It’s a direct result of the reduced barometric pressure and concentration of oxygen in the air at high elevation. Lower pressure makes the air less dense, so your body gets fewer oxygen molecules with every breath.
There are three levels of AMS – mild, moderate, and severe.
High Altitude Illness Prevention and Treatment
- Graded ascent is the best and safest method of preventing altitude illness.
- Eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fat, and stay well hydrated.
- Acetazolamide (Diamox) is a prescription medication that may help prevent altitude illness when used early before beginning the climb to the high altitude OR when used in conjunction with the graded ascent. Diamox works by increasing the respiratory rate, which is especially beneficial while you’re asleep. The dose is 150 mg twice a day.
Caution: Consult your physician because Diamox can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals and produce numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
At what point will your guide make a hard decision?
Early mountain sickness signs include the loss of coordination, having trouble with balance, and being unable to walk straight line heel to toe, as if you were drunk.
At this stage, the final advice is to descend, descend, descend. Suffering from cerebral edema or pulmonary edema would result in fewer oxygen molecules. The solution is to descend because the lower you go the more oxygen molecules are gained. This reduces the problem before getting to a doctor.
Acute Mountain Sickness
It’s common in travelers who ascend rapidly to altitudes above 7,000 feet.
- The sufferer experiences a headache, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, and nausea.
- The early signs may be swelling of the face and hands. Children are generally more susceptible than adults.
Acute Mountain Sickness Prevention and Treatment
- Don’t go higher until the symptoms have completely resolved.
- Acetaminophen may be administered (tylenol) 650 to 1000 mg or Ibuprofen (motrin) 400 to 600 mg for headache.
- Acetazolamide (Diamox) can be administered 250 mg.
- Minimize exertion
- Avoid sleeping pills
Signs and Symptoms of High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
One or more of the following could be observed from the victim:
- Loss of coordination
- Severe lassitude
- Confusion, inappropriate behavior, hallucinations, stupor or coma.
- Transient blindness, partial paralysis or loss of sensation on one side of the body may occur.
- Severe headache unrelieved by Tylenol.
- Immediate descent
- Acetazolamide may be administered (Diamox), 250 mg.
- Hyperbaric changer (Gamow bag) may be helpful in mitigating the effects of HAPE or HACE. It is used by placing the victim inside, zippered shut. We carry this by request only.
Signs and Symptoms of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE)
It usually begins the first two to four days of ascent to high altitudes. It’s most common on the second night.
The victims can experience one or more of the following:
- Cyanosis (a bluish color of the lips and nails indicating poor oxygenation of the blood) may be present.
- The victim looks anxious, restless and has a rapid pounding pulse.
- Initially the victim may notice marked breathlessness with a minor exertion and develop a dry, hacking cough.
- As a greater amount of fluid collects in the lungs, the victim develops an increasing shortness of breath, even while resting and coughs that may produce frothy sputum.
- IMMEDIATE DESCENT of at least 1,000 meters/3,000 feet until the victim shows signs of considerable improvement. Do not wait, waiting could prove to be fatal.
- Administer oxygen four to six liters-per-minute, if available. We carry this with us.
- The use of the Gamow bag may be beneficial when the victim can not be immediately evacuated to a lower altitude. We carry this by request only.
- Nifedipine (Procardia) may be helpful for HAPE. The dose is 10 to 20 mg every 8 hours.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 F (37 C).
A temperature down to 90 F (32 C) is considered mild to moderate hypothermia, while the temperature below this indicates profound or severe hypothermia.
When the body temperature falls below 83 F, the heart becomes very irritable and prone to lethal irregularities, such as ventricular fibrillation.
Death from hypothermia is likely to occur at around 75 to 80 F. For a child it is 57 F.
How Does the Body Lose Heat?
- Radiation: This is a direct body heat loss from going to a cooler environment. Protective clothing, a hat and scarf or neck gaiter, will help prevent this heat loss.
- Conduction: This is heat loss when the body is physically in contact with a cooler surface. Insulating someone from the ground will help prevent this type of heat loss.
- Convection: It is a heat lost by air movement circulating around the body and depends on the velocity of wind (wind chill factor). Windproof clothing and shelter will help reduce this type of heat loss.
- Evaporation: This kind of heat loss happens when sweat or water evaporates or dries on your skin. It cools the body. Use a vapor barrier liner under your clothing.
Polio, Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella, and CoronaVirus.
Yellow fever is a viral illness spread by mosquitoes in parts of Africa and South America. It is the only vaccine required in certain countries.
When traveling to areas requiring yellow fever vaccine a yellow “short card” or International Certificate of Vaccination should be current and carried with your other valuable papers.
Vaccines should be six weeks prior to departure.
The vaccine is only recommended to travelers going to an area with a known epidemic. An immunity is acquired six days after vaccination and is effective for only six months. The risk of contracting cholera is low for most travelers.
It is an infection of the bloodstream by a parasite transmitted to humans through the bite of Anopheles mosquito.
Malaria Prevention Techniques
A traveler can still develop the disease regardless of how many medications they take.
The best way is to avoid mosquitoes with the help of the most effective repellents which contain up to 35% DEET (N-N diethyl-toluamide).
- Spraying or soaking clothing and bed nets with Permethrin and letting them air dry before use is also helpful.
- There is no anti-malaria drug which is absolutely effective.
- Consult your physician about the best medication to take with you.
It’s a mosquito-borne viral infection, found in tropical and sub-tropical climates worldwide, mostly in urban and semi-urban areas. There is no specific medicine to treat dengue infection. If you think you may have dengue fever, you should use pain relievers with acetaminophen and avoid medicines with aspirin, which could worsen bleeding. You should also rest, drink plenty of fluids or you may quickly contact a doctor.
Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)
It is caused by a microscopic parasite of the species Trypanosoma brucei, which is transmitted by a tsetse fly (glosin species), found in Sub Saharan Africa.
It’s commonly found in rural areas, wilderness, and savanna. It spreads through insects, animal bites, or stings.
Symptoms include headaches, fever, joint pains, and itching. These may lead to confusion and poor coordination.
The tsetse fly is drawn to vivid hues, extremely dark hues, metallic fabrics, and especially the hues of blue and black. While on a safari, never wear anything with the indicated color.
Treatment includes drugs from a medical professional to kill the parasites.