Kilele Climb Tours

Kilele Climb Tours & Safaris Ltd.

Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is not uncommon on Mount Kilimanjaro, also known as the Roof of Africa in Tanzania! Towering at an incredible 5895m above sea level, climbing this majestic mountain has its challenges. The most common of them all? Altitude sickness. Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness and your overall safety on the mountain go hand in hand, and should be taken very seriously. Get the guide to find the effects of enduring high altitudes, what to expect and how to overcome it.

Symptoms Of Mild Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness? Most high altitude sickness symptoms are very normal when Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. They are generally mild and appear a few hours after moving to higher altitudes. Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms have been likened to experiencing a bad hangover and are generally worse at night when respiratory drive is decreased. Mild forms of altitude sickness may include experiencing:

  • Headaches
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness Of Breath With Physical Exertion
  • Dizziness
  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Nausea And Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Muscle Aches
  • Swelling Of The Hands, Feet, And Face
  • A Rapid Heartbeat

The occurrence of Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness is dependent upon the elevation, the rate of ascent, and individual susceptibility. Everyone acclimatises at different rates. The symptoms usually start 12 to 24 hours after arrival at altitude. They generally begin to decrease in severity around the third day.

Cause of Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness

The primary cause of AMS is that the amount of available oxygen in the atmosphere decreases with altitude. While the percentage of oxygen (21%) in the atmosphere remains constant the density of the atmosphere decreases so that the available oxygen when you take a breath becomes less. The decrease in density of the atmosphere is not linear and that density decreases more rapidly with increasing altitude so that the impact of going from 10,000 to 20,000 feet is not as significant as going from 20,000 to 30,000 feet. 

Avoiding Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness? The slower you go, the better you will acclimatise and the higher you are likely to go without experiencing many symptoms. Recognise early symptoms of AMS and if symptoms increase, descend. Your guide will help you take a decision. The only cure is either acclimatisation or descent.

  1. Walk high, sleep low
  2. Slow and steady
  3. Drink much more water than you think you need
  4. Diamox

Kilele Climb’s Way to Handle Altitude Sickness? At Kilele Climb, we take your safety very seriously. Kilimanjaro Climbing guides will monitor you closely, but to do that, they also need your help. If you feel in any way unwell, you should inform your guide immediately. Keep an eye on other members of your group, if you see someone behaving strangely or they appear to be suffering, tell your guide.

Every day your guide will check your oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter, question you about how you are feeling, and listen to your chest for unusual lung sounds. Catching it early is the best way to prevent mild altitude sickness escalating.

We carry emergency oxygen and portable stretchers on every Kilimanjaro Climb. If a climber is suffering and cannot proceed, we have partnered with Kilimanjaro helicopter rescue for emergency evacuation.

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