Health & Safety Measures

Corona Cases Worldwide Map

Gladys Adventure along with the government of Tanzania has implemented measures to give you the best chance for a safe and healthy holiday in Tanzania. Naturally, Corona Virus is the hot topic and of the biggest concern. Gladys Adventure has one staff member whose duty to is to insure that safety & health regulations are adhered to and that you are comfortable with the safety and health measures at all times. You will have access to communicating with our Health & Safety Representative at any time during your trip as well as a COVID-19 hotline number that the Tanzanian government has put into place. To be in contact with our Health & Safety Coordinator you can email direct safety.gladysadventure@gmail.com.

Corona Precautions Before and After Your Trek/Safari

Airport & Hotel -- No pre-trip Corona Virus test is necessary and no isolation upon arrival is required. Be sure to check with your airline regarding any requirements they may have put into place to board your flight. There will be thermal screening of all passengers upon entering Tanzania. Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will go for further screening/testing. If you are being picked up by a Gladys Adventure driver (standard for all Kilimanjaro treks/offered as an option for safaris), he will meet you just past the control area of the airport wearing a mask holding a signboard with your name. He will take you to our sanitized vehicle and after your hands are sanitized, you will be given a face mask to wear during transport. A distance of one meter will be kept in between guests during all transport. Displayed in all our vehicles will be COVID-19 Hotline contact displayed.

Gladys Adventure will only use hotels, restaurants, and accommodations where we are confident that they adhere to health guidelines established by the Tanzanian government for preventing Corona Virus. But we do not have direct authority over these. If the health and safety are making you feel in doubt, please let us know immediately. If you think that you may be having Corona Virus during your stay in Tanzania, let us know immediately. The Tanzanian Government has put into place emergency transport and medical facilities reserved specifically for tourists. We will request that you have medical insurance with evacuation in place or that you sign a waiver showing your willingness to accept financial responsibility in case of medical emergency. In the most extreme cases, there is helicopter evacuation available for both mountain treks and for safaris.

Corona Precations During Mountain Treks

The advantage of being outdoors and the large advantage that Corona Virus does not last long in high UV radiation (high altitudes = high UV radiation). During the day's trek, face masks will not be required since they can limit oxygen intake. But at the camps, any interaction that you have will our staff will be with them wearing proper protection. Hand washing facilities will always be available. Gladys Adventure treks always include private toilets (1 toilet/every 7 clients) and will be disinfected after each use. During meals, social distancing will be practiced. All gear and food items will be sanitized before your trek. Since some camps can be crowded during busy months, the government for the first time will be regulating and if necessary restricting the number of groups on certain routes.

Other health and safety topics are addressed as separate articles on this page.

Corona Precautions While On Safaris

You can expect our safari vehicles to be santized with and hand sanitization always available. There will be a distance of 1 meter between all passengers in our safari vehicles. Facemasks are requested to be worn when the situation warrents their use. For lodges/tented camps they will comply with govenment reguations regarding sanitization and social distancing. For camping safaris, your guide will make sure that your tents and dining do not put you at health risk. Communal toilet/shower facilities will be under control of campsite personnel who are trained to insure proper sanitization. We welcome any questions about these issues. For health and safety questions you can email us at safety.gladysadventure@gmail.com

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Yellow Fever

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Tanzania is not an at risk country for Yellow Fever. A vaccincation is not required and is not recommended. HOWEVER, if you will be in an at risk country for more than 12 hours then a vaccination is required to enter Tanzania. Note that the vaccination but be at least 7 days before arrival. Kenya is an at risk country, so if you are choosing to fly into Nairobi and take a shuttle into Tanzania, this would require you to be vaccinated.

Malaria

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Malaria is caused by a parasite infecting some mosquitoes. If you are climbing Mt Kilimanjaro or Mt Meru there will not be any mosquitoes except on the first day and part of the last day when you are at lower altitudes. There is also not a threat of malaria at Ngorongoro Crater. There is a greater threat while on safari or while in coastal regions. In general Moshi has very little malaria threat. But very little threat is not the same as no threat.

Yes, malaria can be a very serious and possibly be fatal. In most instances this is only a major threat with at risk people - infants, elderly, HIV positve. For the local population is typically will result in a fever, headaches, muscle pains and a few days bedrest and medication. The medication can be found at any pharmacy and costs under $10 USD. But the symptoms can take up to two weeks after infection to appear. By that time you will probably be back home where the medication is not eaasily found and certainly not for under $10. So, the options are either to buy the medication while you are in the country just in case the symptoms appear. Or you can take antimalarial tablets beginning before you arrive. There can be side effects from this medication that can be confused with altitude sickness. If climbing Kilimanjaro, your guide will ask you to suspend taking the tablets until you return to lower altitudes.

For all trips, it is strongly advised that you take precations to avid mosquito bites. All hotels will either have bed nets or will have sprayed the room thorougly. On camping safaris, as long as you keep your tent zipped shut whenever possible you should eliminate most mosquitoes. In the mornings and evenings, wear insect repellent and wear long sleeve shirts and protect your legs and feet.

Mountain Safety

Trekking above 5,000m cannot be taken lightly. No matter your fitness level adaquate precautions must be taken ...

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Mountain Safety

Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain that can be climbed without technical skills or equipment. So in mountaineering it is referred to as a "walk up mountain". But that does not mean that it is not difficult or should be taken lightly. It is because it is a "walk up mountain" that provides the challenge. At 5,895m (19,341 ft) elevation at the summit there is less than 50% of the oxygen available at sea level. Adjusting to the altitude is the challenge because it is possible to ascend faster than your body can adjust. Technical climbs progress far more slowly than walking, so the body has more time to adjust. This makes Mt Kilimanjaro more dangerous in regard to altitude related problems. It is important to go only with a well trained guide and with proper health monitoring of each person. Gladys Adventure guides will monitor your vital measurments including respiration, pulse, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, body temperature and blood sugar to make sure that you are fit. Our guides are Wilderness First Responders (WFR), trained to pay attention to your respiration and just by engaging in a conversation with you along the way they are monitoring your condition. It is imperative that you are honest and open with your guide about your health. Before the trek, we need to know of any health conditions and medications that you are taking. Chances are very great, that your honesty will not disqualify you from climbing, but the guide will be giving special attention to any potential health threat. Gladys Adventure has a 98% rate of success. We are not striving for everyone to summit. We are striving for 100% safety with the right number to summit.

Diamox---good idea? Approximately 75% of climbers will display symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Symptoms include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appitite, loss of reasoning, confusion and irratability. Diamox is a drug that causes an increase in respiration thereby increasing your body's ability to acclimatize. It is very difficult to predict a person's ability to handle high altitude. There have been world class athletes that have had to abandon their climb by the 3rd day while some who are far less fit or older have succeeded (88 years old is the current Kilimanjaro age record). There is no good data for comparing whether Diamox has made a difference for a specific person. If you do choose to use Diamox, it is best to purchase it when you arrive in Moshi. It is readily available at pharmacies in the correct dosage and will most certainly be less expensive here. Start taking Diamox before the trek so we can monitor any side effects so the effects of the drug can be distinguished from effects from the altitude. Before the trek, your guide can answer your specific questions.

First Aid Kit -- We will always have a well stocked first aid kit on hand. We suggest that you may bring a few simple items for blisters, sunburn, insect bites, stomach upset, diarrhea and headache.

Stretcher -- Mt Kilimanjaro National Park has some stretchers available scattered along the mountain. They are metal frames with a single motorcycle wheel and suspension mounted under the center of the metal frame. Unfortunately, the ride down is very rough. Rough enough to cause injuries since it is not uncommon for the stretcher to tip over or to throw the disabled climber off unless they are securely strapped in. The park has recognised that these are terrible and are in the process of eliminating them. Instead they will invest in making landing sites for helicopter rescue (see our evacuation insurance article). Gladys Avdenture has portable stretchers for their climbs which we bring upon request. Rather than rolling these over the rough terrain like the park stretchers, we use porters to carry the disabled climber off the mountain or to an altitude where they can walk under their own strength.

Oxygen -- All Gladys Adventure climbs will have emergency oxygen available. We reserve the use of the oxygen for emergencies. Our guides are very well experienced to know how and when to allocate the use of the oxygen. Oxygen cylinders are a very important item but are one of the items often left out by companies looking to cut costs, especially if they are using guides that are not properly trained in administering the oxygen properly anyway.

Gamow Bag -- A gamow bag is an portable compression chamber designed for high altitudes as treatment if a trekker suffers from severe AMS. This can be a lifesaver where the recommended treatment of quickly descending is not possible. On some mountains this is a very important piece of equipment. On some mountains getting a person to a lower altitude can take days. But as we mentioned, being a "walk up" mountain means that it is a problem that people can ascend faster than their body can acclimatize. But this also means that a person can descend quickly with the aid of porters and supervised by a guide. Descending quickly is the preferred treatment of AMS. Gamow bags are inflated with a foot pump. They are also designed intentionally not to be air-tight. So descending with a gamow bag requires frequent stops to reinflate the bag. We do not include a gamow bag as standard equipment but have gamow bags available as an optional add on for any climb ($300 fee).

Doctor Accompanied Treks -- We can arrange any climb to be accompanied by a doctor from Kiliamnajro SAR High Altitude Emergency Clinic in Moshi. The doctor will be monitoring your health and will be available to handle health issues of any sort. The price for this service is $2,750 for a group of up to 10 climbers. Talk to us about prices for groups larger than 10 climbers.

Local Facilities -- Kilimanjaro SAR (Search and Rescue) has recently opened Africa's first High Altitude Emergency Clinic. The clinic is based at St Joesph's Hospital in Moshi ( Daily News 15 March, 2018).

Our Guides -- Last but certainly not least is the experience and expertice of our mountain guides. It is easy for a company to say whatever they like. But here are what our clients have reported about Gladys Adventure climb safety on Trip Advisor reviews:

  • ...we had a meeting with our guide the afternoon before we took off to make sure we had everything we would need on the hike and that we weren’t bringing too much with us up the mountain. At once, I felt at ease around our guides. They were very friendly and had years and years of experience on the mountain. Our main guide had been climbing the mountain for nearly 25 years and our assistant guide had also been climbing for over a decade. Between them I was convinced that we had the experience necessary to make a SAFE and successful trip up the mountain. One thing Gladys has done a great job of is attracting the best talent for guides and staff for their treks. Everywhere on the mountain, other guides were coming to our guide to say hi and sometimes ask for advice when they needed help. It was very apparent that our guide was one of the most respected people on the mountain and that a lot of people looked up to him. You got that impression everywhere you went; when people understood you were with Gladys, they knew you were in good hands and had a better chance than most at making it to the top. Our guide took our vitals every morning and evening as we went along the trek and watched us very closely for signs of altitude sickness…. I was anxious about hiking at elevations so high and all of that anxiety was alleviated within the first day of noticing how much experience and competence Gladys group had. We also had supplemental oxygen and other supplies in case of emergency.
    Reviewed March 2018
  • ...our guide (Job) was exceptional, he was trained in mountain rescue so we immediately felt super safe. Every evening he would do briefings about the next day. He made sure everyone felt good during the day. He was also very reassuring whenever one on us was anxious.
    Reviewed February 2018
  • ...the head Glady’s guide, Bosco was amazing. Not just capable and knowledgeable, but fantastic at managing the whole trip including his assistants (Ron, Francis, Julius, Sinai and Alkadi) the porters, and most importantly us! He knew how keep us on track, motivated, healthy, hydrated, well nourished and safe. The food on the trip was great. We had 4 people on gluten free diets and they were able to accommodate us. They monitored everyone's medical / health conditions throughout.
    Reviewed February 2018
  • ...The trek itself was the most difficult challenge I have ever done in my life. I had bad altitude sickness for most of days 3, 4 and 5. The guides, Simon and Ignas, looked after me really well during my altitude sickness. They were both extremely well experienced on the mountain and never pushed us to go faster than our pace. They made sure I was doing alright during the climbing and at the camps to recover well. They had lots of good advice about the altitude sickness, provided medicine when necessary and especially helped keep our spirits up during the toughest parts of the climb, as their awesome encouragement kept us going. I highly recommend Gladys Adventure for climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. For sure we would not have made it without our amazing guides and the whole team behind everything.
    Reviewed February 2018
  • ...Ayubu was absolutely amazing, from the beginning right through to the end. We had health checks every morning and spent the days climbing with him asking him lots of questions about his extensive experience and mountaineering knowledge. We felt so safe with his leadership….When altitude sickness and tiredness kicked in, they sang to us to keep up our spirits. Ayubu prepared us every day for what was ahead of us mentally and physically and on summit night, we both made it to the top as a direct result of amazing support from our guides and porters.
    Reviewed November 2017
  • Our guide, Bosco, was an outstanding mountaineer. He had extensive mountain emergency training and was proactive in checking our heart rate, lungs, etc. each day. He actually helped some clients of other guides who were struggling with altitude sickness. I was impressed that he took time to do this; we saw one young woman summit, after being assisted by our guide -- her own guide didn't seem to know what to do. We heard similar stories from two references who each used other Gladys guides.
    Reviewed October 01, 2017
  • Our guides Prosper, Juma, and Cash were very knowledgeable and took excellent care of us. They were the only guides on the mountain with emergency oxygen and actually had to go to the aid of a climber in need, when their guide did not have the proper emergency supplies. We felt very safe at all times.
    Reviewed September 20, 2017
  • Our head guide Prosper did daily health checks on us and once at higher elevations really kept a close eye on us. One of our crew (and ER nurse) required O2 on summit day and this was handled with great care and professionalism. I'm an ICU nurse and can say these guides had plenty of experience with AMS. They knew exactly what to watch for and always erred on the safe side.
    Reviewed July 2017
  • Strong focus on safety, with emergency oxygen and evacuation insurance included and daily medical checks for everyone.
    Reviewed July 2017
  • The day before the trek we met our amazing chief guide, Prosper, who patiently went through everything with us and ensured that we all felt prepared. Throughout the entire trek, I could tell that our health and safety was number one to our guides, as they took our medical checks and any new symptoms of altitude sickness very seriously.
    Reviewed February 2017
  • From my very first contact with Gladys Adventures (who was recommended by friends also from New Zealand) they were very responsive and made me feel very relaxed and confident in their abilities and service. Casper was our lead guide who was brilliant, medical checks twice daily and he took the time to make sure all 5 of us were happy and comfortable at all times.
    Reviewed January 2017
  • Gladys do a health check every morning (pulse, oxygen saturations and self-assessment of headache/nausea/vomiting etc) and we always felt well looked after. Safe, positive and encouraging.
    Reviewed January 2017
  • Caspar ensured that our safety was #1 by regularly taking our vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, and listened to our lungs) at least once a day as well as making sure we weren't having any side effects from the altitude such as nausea or headache. Medications and oxygen were readily available if needed.
    Reviewed January 2017

Travel/Medical Insurance and Evacuation Insurance

For all Mt Kilimanjaro treks we require each client to have basic medical coverage and also mountain emergency evacuation coverage...

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Travel/Medical Insurance and Evacuation Insurance

For Mt Kilimanjaro climbs we require medical insurance coverage and emergency evacuation insurance. You must be sure that this covers non technical trekking/hiking up to 6,000m. We also require emergency evacuation insurance in case you need to be airlifted off the mountain. This may be included in the policy already or you may have to purchase this as an add on.

Kilimanjaro SAR (Search and Rescue) is a Moshi based company which started operation in 2018 offering helicopter rescue. The helicopters are fitted with emergency room equipment and fly with a doctor and an emergency room nurse. They are based at Moshi airport (small regional airport) and promise to be in the air 5 minutes after receiving an emergency call. The cost of an evacuation flight back to Moshi airport is approximately $5,000 USD. Of this, approximately half this cost is for the actual flight. The other half is for the medical staff, equipment and treatment on the mountain and during the flight. If you choose, you can assume the risk of emergency evacuation yourself by signing a waiver before the climb. If emergency evacuation is required, you will be financially responsible for the rescue flight once you are healthy.

Through experience, we find World Nomads to be a good provider (www.worldnomads.com) EXCEPT...if you are from the U.S. there is a problem with World Nomads for U.S. residents where they will require you to pay for the evacuation then reimburse you. Instead you should consider using Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance (ripcordrescuetravelinsurance.com). This feedback was sent to us from Kilimanjaro SAR based on their experience. Other companies that our clients commonly use include AIG, Priceline, I-Trek, Columbus Direct, Virgin and Simply Travel Insurance.

Q: Doesn't Kilimanjaro National Park already charge a rescue fee? Doesn’t this provide coverage?
A: There is a mandatory fee of $20/climber. This previously went to maintenance of one wheeled rescue stretchers, not towards evacuation costs. The one wheeled stretcher is a very rough ride down the mountain, often adding injuries. They are in the process of discontinuing the maintenance of these. Instead, now with Kilimanjaro SAR in operation, the fee will go to establish and maintain landing sites for the helicopter.

Q: If I cannot summit will I always be airlifted off the mountain?
A: No, this is always a last resort. The vast majority of altitude related sickness is alleviated simply by descending. If the person is able to walk, they will be brought down under the guidance of an assistant guide (or head guide) and porters. If unable to walk, we provide a portable stretcher (carried - no wheels) to carry the person down the mountain. Only under severe circumstances will a helicopter rescue be called.

Kilimanjaro SAR has a few helicpoters available. For healthy clients who have reached the summit but do not care to walk down the mountain, the company offers what they term a Hero Flight where they will fly you down the mountain. The price for this is approximately $2,500 and is not covered by any insurance plan. Contact us if you are interested in this option. They also offer helicopter sightseeing tours of Mt Kilimanjaro.