Safety on Kilimanjaro | Adventure Alternative Expeditions

Safety on Kilimanjaro

We take your security very seriously at Adventure Alternative, Below is the emergency procedure on Mount Kilimanjaro in the event of an accident or the need for a descent.

Emergency procedure on Kilimanjaro

In the event of a rescue or an emergency, the guides will contact local manager Castro Capelo in Moshi by mobile telephone and also the nearest Ranger station. All three parties will then co-ordinate a rescue involving an assisted descent down the nearest path with porters, or a vehicle brought up to the Shira plateau. Serious accidents may involve the use of a stretcher. On Kilimanjaro, there is a specially designed stretcher which has a bicycle wheel attached to the bottom to assist with a steady and quick descent.  

Summit of Kilimanjaro

The summit of Kilimanjaro is a rewarding experience, however take note that the journey is hard and you should listen to your body.

Castro will then meet the injured party at the park gate and arrange immediate transport depending on the person's injury/condition to either the hotel or the hospital. We use the best hospital in town (KCMC - Kilimanjaro Catholic Medical Centre). Castro will also call the UK office and together we will ensure that the next of kin is notified and ensure that the insurance company is contacted as soon as possible so that a case number can be applied and the situation monitored by the Emergency Assistance Team.

Rescue vehicles and Ranger assistance on Mount Kilimanjaro are covered in the park rescue fee which we pay on your behalf. Our vehicles are on hand for any assistance, and hospital bills can be paid in cash or with a credit card.

We carry a fully stocked mountain first aid kits on every trip up the mountain, though it is useful if you bring your own selection of commonly used items like headache tablets. Inside the first aid kit is a comprehensive booklet on how to deal with most situations.

Knowing when to go down and relying on the guides

Some people may not acclimatise well to altitude and for them, it is simply not worth continuing if it is likely to be injurious to your health. “The mountain is always there” may be a cliché, but it is true. The guides will assist you all the time and will ask if you wish to carry on. If you are clearly sick and unable to make your own judgement then they will take you down and you will be in good hands. 

If you are not sure if you can continue because you are not feeling great, then please note that the Tanzanian guides find it difficult to ‘tell’ you to go down, unless the situation becomes very apparent. It goes against their culture to give a direct imperative to others (especially Westerners) and this may appear to be a lack of leadership because guides are employed to ‘make the call’ when necessary.

Trekking above the clouds on Kilimanjaro

Our staff is well-trained to handle emergencies and you are in good hands during your trek up Mount Kilimanjaro.

The guides themselves have climbed the mountain so many times that they are adept at recognising the point at which somebody is clearly not going to summit. But they find it hard to answer the direct question “Do you think I can get to the top?”. Politeness dictates that they must answer “yes” so try to couch your question in a less confrontational (yes or no) format. It seems strange to us but East Africans rarely speak to each other in this way and they find our Western directness a little alarming. 

Over the years, however, we have trained our top guides to be less afraid of telling people if the summit is clearly beyond someone's ability. Kamanda and Lipman, in particular, are company representatives that speak good English.

Our personal advice is to listen to your body. If it gets too hard and you are obviously very slow and finding it hard going, and perhaps getting frightened, then don’t risk your health and turn the trip into an awful memory. Better to go down and accept it gracefully.

Conversely, do not be tempted to go faster than is planned for you, just because you are feeling fine. The guides have been advised not to accede to any request to reduce the number of days of the trip, so please do not try to persuade them to do this. Additionally, do not ask them to go all the way down to the gate from the summit in one day, this is highly unfair on the porters and it would affect the staff logistics.