For a climb as high as Mount Kilimanjaro, it's ultra important to understand the symptoms and how to prevent for altitude sickness before setting off on your trip. Based on our years of research, here's our complete guide to prep for Mount Kilimanjaro and our top tips to avoid Mount Kilimanjaro altitude sickness.
Kilimanjaro altitude at 19,341 feet (5,895 m), is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
As a dormant volcano in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is not for the faint of heart. The highest peak destination is called Uhuru Peak at 19,341 feet (5,895 m). By comparison, Mount Everest base camp is 17,598 feet (5,364 m).¹
These altitudes of Kilimanjaro carry a very high risk of mild to severe altitude sickness.
If you're wondering what is the oxygen level at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, it's at about 49% of oxygen levels at sea level.²
At half the oxygen level, these conditions put the body at an extreme deficit of oxygen, oxygen saturation levels will start to decrease.
It's reported that at least 75% of people Climbing Kilimanjaro will experience at least some altitude sickness symptoms.⁵
Altitude sickness is mainly caused by the decrease in oxygen levels as you ascend in elevation.
Like any high mountain, Kilimanjaro can be dangerous. One of the biggest dangers is altitude sickness. While the symptoms are usually mild, altitude sickness is a common problem for climbers of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro altitude sickness symptoms:
Altitude sickness is defined as three different types. They include acute mountain sickness (AMS), which is what happens most, and also high-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) and high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).⁶
HACE occurs when fluid and swelling builds up in the brain as a result of hypoxia (lack of oxygen).⁶ (HAPE) is a building of fluid in the lungs. Both of these conditions are very severe and can be life threatening.⁶ While these conditions are rare for Kilimanjaro altitude sickness, if it is suspected or your altitude sickness symptoms get worse, you should descend immediately and get medical attention.
Take a much precautions as possible to avoid Kilimanjaro altitude sickness, which we'll discuss into below.
1. Kilimanjaro vs Everest Base Camp: which is harder?
2. Climbing Kilimanjaro Oxygen Levels
3. How High Can You Climb Before You Need Oxygen?
4. Should I use Supplemental Oxygen on Kilimanjaro?
5. Kilimanjaro altitude sickness
6. High-Altitude Travel & Altitude Illness
7. How to avoid the crowds on Kilimanjaro
8. Seven Summits
9. Twelve Interesting Facts About Mount Kilimanjaro
10. What I wish I knew before climbing Kilimanjaro
11. Kilimanjaro Routes – A Complete Overview
12. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione