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Kilimanjaro: Altitude Information

Standing tall at 5,895m Kilimanjaro is a mountain at high altitude and the higher your climb the air becomes thinner. The altitude affects your body through a decreasing lack of oxygen resulting in your body feeling the affects. Many of our trekkers experience feeling slightly out of breath initially, as well as perhaps some milder symptoms.

Over the course of your climb however your body will acclimitise to the oxgen levels in the air and become used to it, and there are many steps you can take in the lead up to your trek, as well as whilst you are on the mountain to staying healthy and counteracting the altitude to ensure it doesn't effect your summit success! 

4 golden rules...

Whilst Altitude is something which many of our trekkers worry about - you can prepare yourself fully in both the lead up to your climb, and whilst on the mountain. Fundamentally by keeping your body healthy, rested and hydrated you be your best defence against the effects of altitude and minimise the risk of developping altitude sickness.

  • Pace - we set a very slow pace from day 1 and this allows your body to naturally acclimitise whilst taking in deep breaths of the wonderful mountain air!

  • Rest - sleep well and ensure you use the evenings for relaxing. Be well rested in the weeks leading up to your climb - and as you sleep your body will naturally acclimatise.

  • Hydration - 3 litres of water will be supplied on the climb a day - and we want you to drink all of it! Keeping hydrated is a way of ensuring you get extra oxygen into your body.
  • Food - one of the effects of altitude can be loss of appetite - but eating little and often during the trek, as well as 3 good meals a day will keep your energy levels up and help acclimitise.  

what happens if I am affected?

It is natural that at some point during the climb you will feel some of the affects of the high altitude - and this is nothing to alarm you, nor does it mean you will not be able to reach the summit. A head ache and slight nausea is a common effect of the altitude, and this is just your body feeling the initial effects and shouldn't last too long. Our doctor will keep an eye on everyone in the group and will carry out daily checks.

However should this worsen and your conditions don't improve our UK doctor who will be carrying medical supplies and oxygen, should it be required. If for any reason you need to leave the group early and come off the mountain, local staff will assist you with your descent and will arrange transfers, accommodation and medical care if necessary. All costs incurred due to an early descent will need to be covered by the individual before departing the hotel.

how can I prepare?

Many of our trekkers visit their local GP prior to their climb for vaccinations - and we recommend you use this opportunity to speak to your doctor or a travel clinic about the possibility of using Diamox to aid with the effects of altitude and whilst we can't recommend you take a certain drug - we do recommend you conduct your own research look into the options available.

If you are concerned about how you will react on the mountain, you can visit the Altitude Centre in London to determine how your body will react when at higher altitudes. With a variety of sessions and appointments you can test your body in an oxygen chamber to find out before your trip how you will fare. 

Your financial protection:

The air holiday packages and flights shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority in the UK. Our ATOL number is 6296. In Ireland the air & holiday packages and flights that are shown are protected by CAR license number TA0297. Please see our booking conditions for more information.