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.
If you want to make a significant, positive contribution towards cleaning up Kilimanjaro and help us return its ecology to a pristine wilderness environment, please make use of the following payment facility:
Following Frank John's sad passing away in March 2022, some former climbers have requested the opportunity to contribute towards helping Frank's surviving wife, Clara, cover the costs for the family.
Several years ago, Team Kilimanjaro were approached by representatives of the Maasai community that live close to the Lake Natron region of northern Tanzania, with a request to assist villagers in obtaining clean water.
It is estimated that since the turn of the previous century, the world has lost more than 99% of its rhino population, and that today, only 29,000 of these majestic creatures survive.
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.
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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.
Arusha Pedal Series club aims to organise a group ride three times a week - on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, and Saturdays. All keen cyclists are welcome to join.
We read widely divergent estimates of deaths on Kilimanjaro, but how dangerous is it really? In this post we share our own experience of the dangers.
First of all - you can definitely still climb Kilimanjaro during COVID-19! There is absolutely no impediment within Tanzania. Issues only potentially arise with your own country's rules.
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.