Kilimanjaro & Health Issues

It’s important to note some of the health difficulties that some climbers face while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Altitude sickness is one of the most common problems that climbers face on their route to the top of Kilimanjaro. Malaria prophylaxis is another factor that might affect your performance. This section provides health issues and treatment while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

Acute Mountain Sickness, also known as “Altitude Sickness,” is the most widely recognized medical problem. It is commonly encountered at exceptionally high altitudes, such as the Gilman’s Point, Stella Point, or the Summit of Kilimanjaro.


The symptoms of AMS include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  •  Anorexia
  • Exhaustion
  • Lassitude
  • Rapid pulse
  •  Insomnia
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Reduced urine output.


Climbers can take precautions to reduce the severity of the illness by maintaining a slow, steady pace day one.  Include an extra day of acclimatization at a high altitude, and consume at least 3-4 liters of water every day. When AMS strikes, the best treatment is to get the individual to a lower altitude as soon as possible. In many cases, a drop of only 500m will be sufficient.


Preventative medication is also available, and you should seek your doctor for advice.

The fluid build-up may cause a condition known as edema, which can damage the lungs (pulmonary), preventing proper oxygen exchange, or affect the brain (cerebral), resulting in swelling of the brain tissue.

If not treated promptly or if symptoms are neglected, the latter can be fatal. Approximately 70% of all climbers on Kilimanjaro will get AMS to some degree. You should get familiar with this illness and take precautions to avoid it.


Hypothermia or exposure happens when the body’s core temperature drops significantly. Prevention is the best cause of action for Hypothermia.


The symptoms of Hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Slurring of speech
  • Clumsy actions
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue


The correct garments and clothing are critical in anticipation of Hypothermia. Do not allow your dress to get wet either by sweat or from the rain.


Hypothermia is a very simple condition to treat. Get the victim into a covered area as soon as possible, remove any wet clothes, and lay the victim within two or three sleeping bags, ideally with another person to assist in keeping the victim warm.

Sun related injuries

Below the altitude of 5000 meters, around 55 percent of the earth’s protective atmosphere is found. Because far less UV radiation is filtered out, the sun’s rays are significantly more intense, potentially causing severe sunburn.


  • Redness of the skin
  • Blistering
  • Skin pain
  • Swelling of skin
  • Headaches
  • Shivering
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme thirst

Prevention and treatment

A 20+ sun protection cream is strongly advised at lower altitudes, but beyond 3000m, a whole block cream is recommended. When walking on snow or ice, it’s also important to wear dark sunglasses, particularly with side panels, if you’re above 4000m. Snow blindness is extremely painful and requires bandaging of your eyes for at least 24 hours.


If you already have a respiratory tract infection, such as a cold, your chances of getting altitude sickness rise. If you have the flu, wait until you are fully healed before traveling.


  • Respiratory tract infections (pharyngitis/tonsillitis and laryngitis)
  • Sinusitis
  • Ear infection

Prevention and Treatment

According to some studies, limited exercise may not affect the severity of sickness, but the intensity of a Kilimanjaro trip may jeopardize your recovery. Getting sufficient rest is recommended.

Foot problems

Blisters will form on your foot if your boots are small, new, or haven’t been used much. Your toes will be injured even if your shoes are too small, primarily as you descend. As a result, it’s critical to maintain your toenails short during the ascent.

Prevention and Treatment

As soon as the “hot spot” is felt, the developing blister should be treated. Remove the boot and apply zinc oxide tape or anything similar to the affected region.

Stomach troubles

Traveler’s diarrhea is fatal or life-threatening, although it may make for an uncomfortable journey.

Prevention and Treatment

Only eat food that has been prepared and is served hot. Check to see if raw fruits have been peeled and washed in clean water. Drink only sealed beverages and boiling and filtered water to stay hydrated. Before eating, wipe your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Many tourists bring antibiotics with them so that they may treat diarrhea as soon as they become ill.

Training and Diet

Working on your fitness and health is one of the essential Kilimanjaro tips. Change to a healthier diet, including nutrition mainly based on vegetables, fruits mixed with carbs to strengthen your immune system and have a healthier lifestyle. Quit alcohol for some months and make your trek possible to climb Kilimanjaro.

  • Aerobic fitness will help you improve heart rate, healthy muscles, and incredible lung capacity.
  • Do power walking, running, hiking, trekking, cycling, and swimming 3 to 4 times a week.
  • Walk long distances, at least once a week.

About The mountain

At 5,895 meters Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on the earth; it is one of the Seven Summits. The snow-capped peak of Africa is a dormant volcano. This majestic mountain can be found inside the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania, at 005.00 degrees south, 036 degrees east, 5895m above mean sea level.

Exceptional climb success

Since 1994, ClimbingKilimanjaro has been fore runner in operating Kilimanjaro tours. We have a proud and unbeatable track record of more than 15,000 safe and successful summit attempts.

The specialised experience of ClimbingKilimanjaro puts us, as a tour operator, in a unique position to offer the most professional support, guidance, information and motivation to realise this proverbial “bucket-list” dream.

ClimbingKilimanjaro can provide references from previous successful and satisfied clients – on request. Visitors are also welcome to visit our Testimonials & Summit Gallery pages

Real-Time Tracking Service

ClimbingKilimanjaro is the only operator that offers real-time tracking to hikers on Mount Kilimanjaro. This unique service will allow family and friends to track the live progress of their loved ones, as they hike to the summit of Kilimanjaro, subject to availability, pre-booking and at a small supplementary fee.

Guides and porters

ClimbingKilimanjaro only utilises highly trained and registered guides, with several years of experience, to lead a mountain support team that are properly equipped to look after climbers on the mountain.

All of the Climbing Kilimanjaro package options includes the services of one porter per hiker, who will carry the client’s duffel bag (max. 15kg) from one camp to the next.

The above average staff ratio of the Climbing Kilimanjaro Mountain Support Team to climber is: 2 Porters per climber and 2 guides for a maximum of 4 hikers – a very favourable ratio to directly enhance safety and enjoyment on the mountain.