Although no inoculations are compulsory for a visit to Tanzania, the following jabs are recommended: hepatitis ‘A’, typhoid, tetanus, polio, rabies and meningitis. It is the responsibility of each traveler to ensure that any inoculations they wish to have are up-to- date and we advise people to look at their inoculation records and take the necessary action a few months in advance. Your doctor or travel clinic should be consulted. Note that, for anyone arriving from a yellow-fever area, possession of the appropriate vaccination certificate is compulsory.
Changing countries often means changing diet and this in itself can be the cause of diarrhea and vomiting. Such symptoms often cause visitors to believe that they have contracted food poisoning, but this is not necessarily the case: the stomach is just getting used to being confronted with different and unfamiliar foods. Within your first aid kit (see below), it is certainly worth bringing your favored treatment against diarrhea to help speed recovery. If you do encounter stomach problems, then keeping hydrated is a big part of the recovery process. Drink water, and lots of it.
Sunburn and Eye-Care
Carrying a hat (and wearing it!) and using a high-factor sun tan lotion to protect against harmful rays is both essential on your Kilimanjaro climb. Don’t be fooled by photos of the snow-clad mountain peak, as you will cross a number of diverse terrains and experience a range of climatic conditions on your ascent and descent. You need to be prepared for varying temperatures, remembering that you can get sunburn even when the temperature is relatively modest. Sometimes forgotten by visitors is the requirement to protect the back of the neck: bear this in mind when choosing your type of hat. Backs of hands, ears, noses and lips are other neglected areas, so use that sun tan lotion wisely. A good pair of decent- quality, protective sunglasses is another essential. The glare on the mountain can be
powerful and though snow blindness is unlikely on Kilimanjaro, the sun can temporarily affect vision if sunglasses are not worn.
Breathing: It’s something, which we do all the time, but we should never take it for granted, especially when we are at altitude. Slow, deep breathing is very important when climbing and it is advisable to get into a rhythm right from the start of your Kilimanjaro climb. Taking in enough oxygen is essential to power us up the mountain. At the higher altitudes, the speed of breathing has to be increased. Your mountain-guide will advise on this. Correct breathing avoids the build-up of lactic acid and the inevitable cramping that follows. Lack of oxygen can lead to hypoxia, a loss of certain functions and even hypothermia. An ascent to the summit of Kilimanjaro is an incredible experience, but although the climb is not technical and requires no special mountaineering knowledge, it is
certainly not to be taken lightly. At over 19,340 feet (5895 meters) it is Africa’s highest mountain and it is no ‘walk in the park. Altitude sickness can prevent even the fit and well- prepared climber from getting to the summit. Having said that, the lack of any requirement for technical mountaineering experience means that anyone has at least the possibility of reaching the summit. Climbers aged over 80 have conquered Kilimanjaro in the past!
First Aid Kit
All of our mountain guides are trained in first-aid and hold appropriate certificates, but we would strongly advise all of our visitors to take a first-aid kit with them. As well as any
prescription and anti-malarial drugs that you are already taking, you should pack the following: Blister plasters. Absolutely essential. Ordinary plasters and an antiseptic cream, for any little cuts and nicks. A couple of bandages, in case of ankle strains etc. Supports for knees and/or ankles, if you have weaknesses in these joints.
Paracetamol/Ibuprofen. You should have these (or other painkillers). Imodium for any stomach problems. Rehydrating powders, which are valuable in the event of diarrhea. A good-quality lip salve/chap-stick. A small tub of Vaseline to alleviate chafing. Throat lozenges to combat the dry air conditions. Anti-fungal cream for the feet. Carrying any liquids or ointments in separate plastic bags is advisable, to prevent against leaks.
Taking on sufficient water is always a necessity, but becomes even more important in the climactic conditions experienced on Mount Kilimanjaro. Whether you’re on the high, dry part of the mountain or in the heat and humidity of the lower slopes, a regular and high fluid intake is essential for both your health and safety. We recommend a daily fluid intake of 4 to 5 litres, most of which should be water. Fruit juices are also recommended, but note that consumption of excessive coffee on Kilimanjaro is not a good idea. ‘Drink before you get thirsty’ is a good motto to observe. You should be carrying bottles/containers sufficient to hold at least three litres and water purifier tablets. Note that using (and removing)
layers of clothing means that you can easily control your body temperature and thus the amount you sweat, another important way of fluid retention.
On the lower slopes, water is available from streams and can be used safely. Our guides will ensure that you have enough water in your bottles or camel-pack. If you wish to have your water purified, you should bring your own tablets and ask your guide, who will be happy to purify the water for you. On the Marangu Route, water and sodas can be purchased, though this is more expensive than the same products purchased elsewhere in Tanzania.
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