18 Jun

Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms – How To Approach Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro By Avoiding Altitude Sickness

By Jerry Tanzania Tours

Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms

Preventing Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness is a key factor to success when you will be Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. But what is Altitude sickness? What are the Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms? And how can you avoid it! This guide will hopefully answer all of those questions and more!

Mount Kilimanjaro records the highest altitude level in Africa which makes some of the climbers to observe Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms if not properly prepared to attempt the climb. When we talk about Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness, whilst hypoxia or generalized hypoxia are correct terms we tend to refer to either Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), HAPE or HACE.

This is the only summit to offer nontechnical climb and makes it easier for the new climbers to start their summit but the only thing which needs to be taken care of is, proper preparation for altitude conditions which may cause some of the health conditions while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

What Is Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness?

Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness which is also called acute mountain sickness is the Physical distress from difficulty in adjusting to the lower oxygen at a higher altitude level. Most of the cases in altitude sickness are mild but it can also be life-threatening.

The Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms will occur within a few hours after arrival at a higher elevation which has a high-altitude level and includes headache, shortness of breath, nausea, and inability to exercise. Sometimes you will need to be moved to the lower altitude to get adjusted to your body.

Everyone who climbs to the higher altitude will not get altitude sickness if you maintain with the proper Health Precaution and it is also unpredictable as who will be vulnerable to the altitude sickness.

The main cause of Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness would be shorter itineraries, as this will not allow you for proper acclimatization and make you feel uncomfortable to intake oxygen.

It is always recommended not to continue if your symptoms fail to improve and descend if the symptoms get worst at the same altitude.

How Dangerous Is Altitude Sickness In Kilimanjaro?

The altitude sickness in Kilimanjaro will start with mild symptoms and goes on to an extreme level if not treated in the right way and have not done the basics of Altitude Training For Kilimanjaro.

The Altitude sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness will make breathing a lot deeper and faster mainly for Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro For Beginners.

The circulation of the blood will increase rapidly and forces blood into the areas of lungs which are not used when breathing at sea level.

This may lead to High Altitude Pulmonary Edema conditions associated with severe acute mountain sickness and occurs because of fluid build-up in the lungs. It decreases the bloodstream into the lungs and causes severe breathing problems.

If you have these symptoms one can assume that pulmonary Edema has started to affect the brain due to lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Next, it will cause, High Altitude Cerebral Edema which is a condition associated with severe acute mountain sickness, this makes the tissues of the brain swell and build fluid in cranium.

HACE mostly comes up during the night and if you feel the symptoms descent immediately even in darkness.

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Jerry Tanzania Tours is one of the no 1 reputable operators on Mount Kilimanjaro, leading over 1000 climbs and guiding more than 2,000 people every year. All agree you won't find a better Kilimanjaro outfitter for your Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Choose From Varied Price Options For Different Routes To Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Get Quotes Instantly! CONTINUE READING

Three Levels Of Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms

The Acute mountain sickness has three stages according to the levels of symptoms, they include:

Mild AMS – High-altitude is considered to be about 6400 to 11,200 feet (2000-3500 m)
Moderate AMS – Very high-altitude is considered 11,200 feet to 18,000 feet (3500-5600 m)
Severe AMS – Extreme altitude is above 18,000 feet.
Levels Of Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms

The Symptoms Of Mild Acute Mountain Sickness Are:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Headaches
  3. Nausea and dizziness
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Disturbed sleep
  6. Loss of appetite

If it is a Mild sickness and you have these symptoms, it will disappear if you take rest for a day at the original place where it started.

The Symptoms of Moderate Acute Mountain sickness are:

  1. Very bad headache which cannot be relieved with medication.
  2. Feeling very nauseous which result in vomiting
  3. Very fatigued and weak
  4. Decreased coordination
  5. Shortness of breath

If you have these symptoms it means the symptoms are getting worse and you usually have a bad headache and start vomiting. Ascending with moderate Altitude sickness may lead to death.

The Symptoms of Severe Acute Mountain Sickness are:

  1. Inability to walk
  2. Shortness of breath whilst resting
  3. Loss of mental capacity and hallucination
  4. Fluid build-up on the lungs.

If you have these symptoms, you are facing a severe acute mountain sickness. Ascending under these circumstances is very dangerous and these symptoms should never occur. The people experiencing severe acute mountain sickness will not be able to walk, struggle to breathe, and lack their mental capacities to think straight. Sometime, you will need to intake Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Medication.

How To Avoid Altitude Sickness Kilimanjaro?

The best way to prevent Altitude Sickness which is observed due to high altitude condition in the Mount Kilimanjaro as per Climb Kilimanjaro Guide.

How To Avoid Altitude Sickness Kilimanjaro
Take Your Time:

You will need to give your body time for proper acclimatization. This helps to get adjusted to the changing altitude conditions. As Kilimanjaro Porters say go Pole Pole, which means walk slowly in the Swahili language. Walking slowly will give you more time for your body to acclimatize and less stress. This will definitely help in controlling the altitude sickness symptoms while Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Stay Hydrated:

You will need to consume more of the fluids to avoid dehydration. Dehydration is one of the main symptoms of acute mountain sickness. You will need to at least drink 3-4 liters of water in a day. It can be any other fresh fruit squeeze drinks or any sort of energy drink which boosts your energy and keeps you hydrated.

Walk High, Sleep Low:

This is one of the important processes to follow when you are in Altitude zones. You will need to sleep on the lower elevations and spend more time on the mountain. This will give you an opportunity for Best Acclimatization for Climbing Kilimanjaro and you can be out of most of the acute mountain symptoms.  

Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms – A Few More Preventions

Make Sure You Eat Plenty – Make sure you eat some energy bars, favorite snacks which gives you protein and more energy.

Keep Warm – Wear layered clothes and keep yourself warm. A smurf, skull caps, gloves, socks and all the warming clothes.

Keep Your Day Pack Light – You are in a place where you are losing most of the energy and hardy take slower steps. So, your day pack should be lightweight to compensate for your energy.

The Kilimanjaro Altitude Sickness Symptoms could be more severe if you are not prepared for the climb. Hence, it is recommended to start your training before 2 months of departure to Kilimanjaro. This will lower your symptoms as you will be physically and mentally fit to summit the high altitude zone.

We at Jerry Tanzania Tours have a dedicated team of Kilimanjaro Crew who are expertise in mountain-related symptoms. So, you will not have to worry if any emergency occurs in the mountain. Rest assured it will be taken care of. Plan your next climb with us for a successful climb!

jerry tanzania tours

Jerry Tanzania Tours is one of the no 1 reputable operators on Mount Kilimanjaro, leading over 1000 climbs and guiding 2,000 people every year. We do what we state and are focused on our customers. Because of which we endeavour to push our limits and surpass their desire by giving them the best climbing experience. Won't you join us on the Roof of Africa?


  • Golden Rule 1 
    If you are feeling unwell at altitude it is altitude sickness until proven otherwise.
  • Golden Rule 2
    Never Ascend with Symptoms of AMS.
  • Golden Rule 3
    If you are getting worse (or have HACE or HAPE), go down at once.

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