Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness - Introduction and Cause
Technically an ascent of Kilimanjaro is classified as entry into the Extremely High altitude zone. Altitude is defined on the following scale: High Altitude Classification of Zones
High 2,500 - 3,500 meters
Very High 3,500 - 5,500 meters
Extremely High 5,500+ meters
No specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition can be used to predict susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some get it and others simply don't. Most people can go up to 2,500 m without significant discomfort.
What Causes Altitude Sickness?
Air at sea level comprises about 21% oxygen, while the barometric pressure averages about 1 bar (1000 mbar). As altitude increases, the oxygen concentration remains the same but since the pressure falls the number of oxygen molecules per breath is reduced.
At 3,500 meters the barometric pressure is only about 630 mbar (depending on weather conditions), so there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath. In order then to supply adequate amounts of oxygen to your body your breathing rate - even while resting - must increase.
This extra breathing increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, but not to sea level volumes. Since the amount of oxygen required for activity is the same, the body must adjust itself to coping with less oxygen. This process is known as acclimatisation. Failure to give your body the opportunity to undergo this process may lead to a dangerous condition known as AMS, or acute mountain sickness.
Wilderness first aid is the knowledge and ability to effectively address injuries, illnesses, or emergencies outside of modern facilities, out in the wild. Skills include knowing how to dress a wound, treat a burn or bite, or set an injured limb. These are important skills that can save your life or the lives of other outdoor enthusiasts. Learn more and be better prepared for your next hiking or backpacking adventure.
Many people spend a lot of time and money training and equipping themselves for a Kilimanjaro climb, only to fail in their objective of reaching the summit. Failure is avoidable and we really want trekkers to understand how to prevent it.
As from March 2021, PCR testing (or rather, sample-taking) is now available at Seronera and Ndutu airstrips in the Serengeti. This facility has been implemented to prevent clients having to either curtail their safaris or dissect their safaris with a journey to Arusha or, more recently, Karatu (FAME Hospital), mid-safari - so as to satisfy the "less than 72 hours old" validity rule that most airlines are required to enforce.
Although there is no requirement to have a PCR test for COVID in order to enter Tanzania, many climbers are nonetheless required by their airline to show evidence of a negative COVID test before boarding the flight home.
This following information is provided to reassure prospective climbers that there is a straightforward way to enjoy the incredible tourism and adventurous opportunities that Tanzania offers, while ensuring that returning home afterwards is stress-free.
Kilimanjaro’s Western Breach is a beautiful and breathtaking place but represents the most risk-associated assault route to Kilimanjaro’s summit, of the four options currently sanctioned by Tanzania National Parks.