A lot of preparation work is required before you depart for Kilimanjaro. In this page we explain the essential administrative tasks you need to get sorted in terms of visas, vaccinations and medications.
Most people who visit Tanzania require a visa. It is recommended you get a Visa before you travel; however, it is possible to be granted a visa on entry in Tanzania. I recommend preparing your visa before departure. Full details on visa requirements are available on the official Tanzanian embassy website for your country.
If you haven’t had a recent medical check-up I would recommend doing so before you leave for Tanzania. In general if you are in a fit and healthy condition you should be able to cope with most things that Kilimanjaro throws at you. But rather be safe than sorry.
Yellow fever and other vaccinations
There are a number of vaccinations that you should get before you travel. I recommend you check with your local GP or travel clinic which vaccinations you require. In general you should get Hepatitis A and a booster vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Depending on where you are flying in from you will likely need a Yellow Fever vaccination.
Here are the official regulations:
- If you fly to Nairobi or Addis Adaba (or any other Yellow fever infected area) to Kilimanjaro International Airport you will need the Yellow fever vaccination card. Technically if you stay less than 6 hours in Nairobi or Addis Adaba you do not need the vaccination card, but experience of many travelers at Kilimanjaro International Airport suggests that authorities will request the card. So make sure you have it with you.
- If you fly from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro International Airport directly you do not need the yellow fever vaccination card.
- In short, We recommend you get a Yellow Fever vaccination and remember to carry it with you when you enter Tanzania
Malaria is an infection caused by a mosquito bite. Tanzania is a malaria country and therefore every precaution should be taken to avoid getting malaria. Step one is to protect yourself against mosquito bites. This can be done by wearing mosquito repellent (make sure it contains deet), staying indoors between dusk and dawn, applying repellent to your skin, clothes and bedding, using a mosquito net and wearing long trousers and long-sleeve shirts that are light in color (mosquitos are attracted to dark colors). The good news is that mosquitos are not found at altitude. You are unlikely to come into contact with mosquitos over 1,800m. Therefore as a trekker your greatest risk of infection is just before and after your climb.
Taking anti-malarial drugs
To avoid infection you can take anti-malarial drugs. There are various drugs on the market and I recommend consulting your GP to decide which is best for you. The type of drug depends on many factors such as length of stay, your age and the degree to which resistance to the drug has occurred in the region you are travelling to.
Note: Larium is a popular anti-malarial drug that has been shown to predispose people to acute mountain sickness (AMS). It also has side effects that mimic those of AMS making diagnosis difficult.
The drug that we have seen used most regularly is Malarone. It is more expensive but appears to do the job.
Top tip: Tanzania is a country that poses many health risks, as does trekking Kilimanjaro. There is no harm in having a full medical check-up and taking all precautions to lower the risk of injury, illness or death. Please consult your doctor for advice before you travel and trek Kilimanjaro.
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