Altitude Sickness: What you need to know

Learn all you can about Altitude sickness before you go hiking. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a dream for many, and getting to the top is a great achievement that you will remember for the rest of your life.

Like most things in life, there are always a few challenges that you must overcome before getting to the top. The tough climb, the intense weather conditions and altitude sickness are just a few of the many worries climbers have before climbing Kilimanjaro.

Here is our guide to the things you should know about altitude sickness.

mount kilimanjaro altitude sickness

What is altitude sickness?

Altitude or “mountain” sickness is caused by lower levels of oxygen at high altitudes. The air is thinner and harder to breathe. This causes sickness in some people, but does not affect everyone. It is something to be cautious about when climbing any mountain that has a reasonably high altitude.

Symptoms of altitude sickness

Early symptoms include headaches, fatigue and insomnia. Later symptoms may include shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, respiratory failure, cerebral edema, coma and sometimes death. Many people with mild mountain sickness have little to worry about, if symptoms do get worse, urgent medical attention is needed.


Medical treatments may include Diamox and dexamethasone, and pain killers among others. A survey conducted by YAS (Your African Safari) on using Diamox to summit Kilimanjaro can be found here.

The best way to treat the sickness is to descend to a lower altitude. You can prevent it by properly by acclimatizing the body to higher altitudes. Prevention of acute mountain sickness is sometimes with acetazolamide medication.

It is also important that you climb the mountain slowly and gradually, and stay hydrated at all times.

Last words

Good luck climbing the mountain and if you need some other tips for conquering Mount Kilimanjaro then click here.

Most of all be safe!

About the Author
Our Marketing Manager is responsible for our online presence and bookings. She will most likely be the first person to reply to your request. Before moving to Tanzania, she was travelling through East Africa and has been employed in the tourism industry since 2008 in marketing and tour guide positions. Favorite place in Tanzania: Usambara Mountains and Serengeti National Park.
  1. Jake Batoto Reply

    Awesome! This is very informative. I’ve also read a few articles before about climbing Mt. Kili and it has been my dream to reach its peak. I’ve climbed a few mountains in Asia though. For everyone that are prone to altitude sickness, it really helps a lot knowing the route you are taking and the hike should be gradual to allow your body to adapt.

    • Marketing Manager Reply

      Hi Jake! Thanks very much, you are welcome to climb with us! Kindly contact us on and we will be able to guide you further.

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