Safari & Kilimanjaro Wildlife Adventure

14 Days from $6,950

Join us on this African adventure that starts with a visit to Tarangire National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater for spectacular African wildlife safaris.

We then move on to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

African adventure travel at its best!

Safari & Kilimanjaro Wildlife Adventure

Join us as we visit some of the most famous parks in Eastern Africa and enjoy the comforts of very tasteful, authentic, high-end safari lodges. We begin our African safari at Tarangire National Park, a wildlife retreat during dry season, graced by the unique beauty of its baobab woodlands and the fantastic concentrations of game. Then we drive to Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and a natural sanctuary for some of Africa’s densest animal populations.

We then ascend Mount Kilimanjaro via the Modified Shira Route, a route specially chosen by Bio Bio Expeditions that combines the best of the Shira Route with the most scenic section of the Machame route. We consider this the best route up the mountain!

We allow seven days for our climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro to ensure everyone can acclimatize to the altitude. Our approach to the Kilimanjaro trek is just as much about getting to know the mountain’s many sides and moods as getting to the top. Everyone will reach a summit – whether it be the Uhuru Peak, one’s own personal highest point, or just the satisfaction of spending seven days on one of the most spectacular mountains of the world.

Experience the rush of standing on the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, towering 19,324 feet above the African plains.   Explore the wildlife, sounds and special magic that defines Africa is an unforgettable lifetime adventure.

Itinerary Snapshot

Day 1:
Upon your arrival, you transfer to Arusha for dinner and overnight at Arumeru River Lodge. (D)

Day 2:
After breakfast, we leave for Tarangire National Park – a famous park for its high concentration of elephant herds and tree climbing pythons. Overnight at Tarangire Safari Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 3:
A day to explore Tarangire National Park.  Overnight at Tarangire Safari Lodge. (B,L,D).

Day 4:
After breakfast, we leave for Ngorongoro Crater passing Lake Manyara on the way.  Have your camera ready for fantastic panoramic views across the volcano-studded floor of the Great Rift Valley. Overnight at Serena Ngorongoro Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 5:
Descend into the Ngorongoro Crater and enjoy a full day game drive. Overnight Serena Ngorongoro Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 6:
After breakfast we start our drive back to Arusha, stopping to take photos of Massai villages and a visit to the Reptile Farm. Overnight at Arumeru River Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 7:
Day 1 of trekking – the gate to Shire 1 Camp:  We drive to the town of Londorossi where the porters are waiting.  We then enter the gates of Kilimanjaro National Park and begin hiking through the lush rainforest.  4-5 hours hiking. (B,L,D)

Day 8:
Day 2 of trekking – Shira 1 Camp to Shira Camp:  The day’s trek begins with a steep hike out of camp through a new type of vegetation and volcanic rock. 5-6 hours hiking. (B,L,D)

Day 9:
Day 3 of trekking – Shira Camp to Barranco Camp:  We ascend out of Shira Camp and Kili will be right in front of us throughout the hike. 6-7 hours hiking. (B,L,D)

Day 10:
Day 4 of trekking – Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp:  Wake up to hot tea and breakfast and immediately make our assault on the steep Barranco Wall, fondly called “The Breakfast Climb”. 4-6 hours hiking. (B,L,D)

Day 11:
Day 5 of trekking:  Karanga Camp to Barafu Camp:  After climbing out of the Karanga Valley, the trail ascends a ridge to the Barafu Camp, our highest camp yet, at 15500 feet.  3-4 hours hiking. (B,L,D)

Day 12:
Day 6 of trekking:  Barafu Camp to summit and back down to Mweka Camp:  Rise and shine at 11:30 pm!  We begin climbing by starlight, the porters always reminding us to go “polee-polee” (slowly, slowly!), until we reach Uhuru Peak, (Freedom Peak) at 5895 meters / 19,340 feet, the highest point on the continent of Africa.  11-15 hours hiking. (B,L,D)

Day 13:
Day 7 of trekking:  Mweka Camp to Mweka Village:  Now we hike down the Mweka Trail through the rainforest and arrive in the village of Mweka where there are plenty of wood curios, batiks, T-shirts, and souvenirs for sale.  4-5 hours hiking.  Overnight at Arumeru River Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 14:
A day to recover from your trek.  You can enjoy the 40 acres of walking trails through the coffee plantations of the Arumeru River lodge or do some souvenir shopping in town. We can also arrange a tour of Arusha National Park at an additional fee upon request.  Travel home or continue your African Adventure to Zanzibar or celebrate your climb up Kilimanjaro with another Safari! (B)


Arumeru River Lodge

This magnificent new lodge is spread over 12 acres (ca. 50,000 sq.m.) of beautifully landscaped gardens and natural African bushland, bordering on a river lined with precious large old trees.

The attractive main building with the resort facilities, extremely comfortable lounge and bar areas, the reception with telephone /Fax, internet, a boutique, the restaurant and cloak rooms. A terrace restaurant with spectacular views of the mountains Meru and Kilimanjaro overlooks the tropical gardens and a large solar-heated swimming pool.

There are 20 spacious comfortable rooms with en suite bathrooms and verandahs in 10 chalets, all on the ground floor. The rooms are designed and decorated in harmony with the main building where the accent is on traditional eco-friendly African architecture.

Arumeru River Lodge was built on the site of an old coffee farm and is situated only 700 m. south of the main Arusha – Moshi road, just a 35 minutes drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport and 15 minutes away from the town of Arusha.

This exclusive resort with its particular African charm is now open to welcome guests. It is our aim to offer our guests comfortable luxurious accommodation, personalized service, great attention to detail, excellent international and local African cuisine and an inviting homely atmosphere.


Tarangire Safari Lodge


Tarangire Safari Lodge 3 photos enlarged

Since 1985, family-operated Tarangire Safari Lodge has catered to wildlife enthusiasts and those seeking rest and relaxation among one of Tanzania’s most popular national parks. Perched at the edge of a natural bluff, Tarangire Safari Lodge is renowned for its panoramic views of the savannah and Tarangire River below, providing breathtaking scenery and game viewing right from its sweeping terrace and your doorstep.

Quintessential safari tents, with thatched roofs and large, mesh-screened windows, provide the perfect opportunity to connect with the sights and sounds of nature. Each tent has a comfortable verandah, ideal for bird and game viewing or reading your favorite book after safari. All tents are equipped with en-suite bathrooms with solar-heated showers, ample cupboard space for your gear, and a cultural touch of local textiles.


Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Regularly voted one of the best hotels in the world, this unique lodge clings to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, the largest and most perfect volcanic crater on Earth. Long and low, the lodge is built from local river stone and camouflaged with indigenous vines. Designed to blend completely into the landscape, it is entirely invisible from the floor of the Crater 600 metres below.

Known as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ the Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s best-known wildlife arenas. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers a unique biosphere, which has remained virtually unchanged since the dawn of time. Deep within the Crater, enclosed by towering walls, some 25,000 large mammals wander the plains, lakes and forests of ‘the land that time forgot’, dominated by enormous bull elephants, rhinos and lions.

Departure Dates:

October 15 – 28, 2017

Trip Length: 14 Days
Trip Price:

From $6,950, per person, based on double occupancy.  Price includes all park fees.

Single Supplement: $900

Deposit: $600

Click the links for information on:

Passports & Visas
Packing Information
Money Matters & Tipping
Travel Practicalities
Altitude Information
Additional Information & Websites
Country Information
Recommended Reading


U.S. citizens are required to have a passport that is valid for 6 months after your travel dates begin.You do not have to apply for a visa ahead of time for Tanzania. You can get your visa at your point of entry. The cost is U.S. $100.00 (cash).Return to top of page


Packing for Kilimanjaro is not an easy task. All types of weather will be encountered and a wide range of temperatures. For example, temperatures at the base of the mountain in the towns of Moshi or Arusha may be as warm as 85°f / 30°c degrees and temperatures on the summit may be as low as 14°f / -10°c! Also, it is not uncommon to see afternoon rains and even snow!

You should dress with the layering system in mind. We suggest polypropylene underwear and then adding other synthetic layers in the cool parts of the day. No cotton! Having warm / rain gear in your daypack is essential.

Luggage to bring: You should bring a soft duffle bag, one other piece of luggage and a daypack. The soft duffle will be taken on the climb and carried by the porters. No wheels, internal frames, etc will make it easier for the porters to lash multiple bags together. The other bag with your safari gear will be left in Arusha at the hotel. When you return from the climb you can switch out bags/gear. After the climb, the Moivaro can do laundry for a fee and should be able to get it back to you by the next morning.

While hiking your porter will only be carrying 30 pounds of gear not including the tent. Keep this in mind when deciding what to bring and make sure you are able to carry any weight above 30 pounds.

We provide 4 season expedition tents but there is the option to bring your own tent if you would like. Please let us know if you would like to do this, so we can make arrangements.


  • Pants- 2 pair light colored
  • Long sleeve shirts – 2 light or tan colored. You want to stay covered up as much as possible to protect against mosquitoes
  • 1 sweater/fleece for early morning and late afternoon game drives
  • Walking shoes – comfortable
  • Swimming suit – some of the lodges have pools
  • Hat- wide brimmed for sun protection
  • Binoculars and wildlife guides
  • Pants and button down shirt or dress/skirt for dinner
  • Camera with zoom lens – Guests have been very happy with a 300-millimeter lens! *Lots of film or a large memory card(s) and extra batteries


  • 6 pair of warm socks. – Wool or synthetic. Having a fresh pair of socks for each day is always a nice luxury
  • 1 pair of hiking shorts
  • 3 or 4 t-shirts – REI makes a very nice synthetic t-shirt
  • Underwear – REI also sells men’s and women’s briefs that have no cotton in them. They are all synthetic material which dries quickly, wicks moisture away from your body and, if it does get wet, will continue to keep you warm
  • 1 pair of long underwear
  • 1 pair of wind proof and waterproof pants
  • 1 pair of fleece pants
  • 2 long sleeve polypropylene shirts
  • 1 warm fleece sweater
  • 1 down jacket or vest
  • 1 waterproof shell with a hood to protect yourself from the wind and or rain. Gortex is a breathable good option!
  • 1 pair of warm gloves or mittens. Down mittens with fleece liners are recommended
  • 1 headlamp – Important for the summit night of hiking. We suggest the new LED lamps, either Petzl or Black Diamond and *extra batteries
  • Trekking poles are a must – We do have a supply of older ski type poles in Africa but you may prefer your own
  • 1 pair of gators – On both the first and last day of the trek we sometime encounter deep mud! Also some people like gators for keeping the rocks out of their shoes
  • Hiking Boots – Please bring boots adequate for the below freezing temperatures, possible rain and high winds we may encounter on our summit day. Ideally, this means well-insulated and warm hiking boots that are waterproof (thus providing good wind protection as well). Please be sure you have ample room for thick socks and the possibility of your feet swelling up a little at high altitudes. Constriction is the biggest culprit of a cold foot– either by way of too tight fitting of a boot or too many sock/ foot warmers in your boot. “Medium weight” hiking boots may suffice as long as you have plenty of wiggle room for very warm socks and foot warmer packs. Please test out your boots before the trip to be sure they will be adequate for summit day. Boots with good ankle support is very important.
  • Sun hat and warm hat for cold days
  • Sunscreen or zinc
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • Gatorade, rehydration salts, your own supply of energy bars/gel
  • Purell, handy wipes
  • Ear Plugs – for camping / sleeping
  • Face mask, goggles, bandana, or dust mask. A balaclava can be useful for warmth on summit day
  • Water bottles and a CamelBak. You should have a 4-liter capacity! A CamelBak is great for the trip except on summit day. Even if your bladder and hose are insulated, there’s a chance that the water inside the hose can freeze. Please have additional water bottles. Also, you can fill your water bottles with hot water at night and use them as a bed warmer.
  • 2 insulated water bottle carriers (to prevent your water from freezing on summit day.) that can hook onto your belt or daypack waist strap. You will not want to take off your pack to get a drink of water on summit day. Outdoor Research makes one that works well and is sold at REI.
  • H20 iodine tablets
  • Cough Drops, Kleenex, Mole skin (for blisters)
  • Altimeter watches are always fun to have but not a necessity! (Make sure if you buy one that records heights up to 20,000 feet. Some only go to 14,000 feet)
  • Short wave radios work on the mountain if listening to Voice of America or the BBC world report is interesting to you
  • 1 paperback book – There is plenty of time to read and relax so bring along a good book! And don’t forget your journal and pens!
  • Sleeping bag – Most people prefer a 0 degree bag
  • Sleeping pad – Very important for insulation!
  • Toe warmers, Foot-powder
  • Daypack with approximately 2400 cubic inches of storage for all the gear you want accessible during the day including water, rain gear, warm clothes, snacks, sunscreen, camera, etc.
  • Duct tape
  • 3 Heavy duty trash bags to protect your gear from possible rain
  • Passport (it’s a good idea to have a photocopy of your passport and airline tickets kept in a separate area than the originals)
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination card

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While the Tanzanian Shilling is the local currency, you can buy almost everything with dollars. Some hotels even prefer it. You can exchange a bit of US cash to buy supplies and goodies at the local grocery store and for souvenirs from street venders. Traveler’s checks are no longer an efficient way to change money. Exchange rates are high and places to do this are limited. Also, using credit cards or ATMs is not always possible though there are a couple ATMs in Arusha. With this mind, it is nice to carry a fair amount of cash hidden in different areas. Small, crisp, clean bills are useful because many people can’t change the larger bills. We suggest approximately $1000 dollars in cash, a credit card, and your ATM card. You should have $100 of this in new $1 bills. You will use these bills to tip bellboys at hotels, taxi drivers and the like. The rest should be $5s, $10s and $20s.


Tipping is always optional and, of course, is up to you to decide the final amounts. Our suggestion is that you tip 10-15% of your trip’s land costs. For example, if you trip is around $5000, you should have at least $500 cash for tips. Because the Kilimanjaro portion of your trip is more arduous and uses more staff, a larger percentage of this $500 (perhaps $350 to $400) will go to the fine people who help you summit. Because our guides and porters are so outstanding and take such amazing care of everyone, past participants have wanted to tip more than usual. (Just something to keep in mind.) You can give the total tip to your trip leader and he/she will divide it evenly between the porters, guides and cooks. This process will be done once at the end of the climb and again at the end of the safari.

Again, you should be carrying small bills for tips. $20 bills are easy for the trip leader to divvy up between all staff. But you will find that a stack of $5s and $10s will come in handy.

THE TOTAL: While it seems like a lot, having a total of around $1000 cash per person is best. PLEASE HAVE A MONEY BELT YOU WEAR UNDER YOUR CLOTHES. Also, keep in mind that more than half of this sum will be gone at the end of the climb.

Porters Exchange – Bio Bio Expeditions is in the process of setting up a non-profit side of the business which will help ensure that all porters on Kilimanjaro have proper equipment and clothing to protect them from the elements on the mountain. We are requesting that you bring any extra warm clothes or shoes which you are willing to gift to the mountain porters on Kilimanjaro. Please contact Bio Bio Expeditions for more information on the Porters Exchange!

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Bio Bio Expeditions suggests you check with your family doctor at least 2 months before your trip to find out the latest requirements for shots when traveling to Africa. Recent information on required vaccinations can be obtained by calling the Centers for Disease Control international travelers hotline at 877.394.8747. You can access their website by directing your browser to You should particularly look into the following vaccinations:

  • Hepatitis A or Immune Globulin (IG)
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow fever
  • As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria, measles, and a one-time dose of polio vaccine for adults


Transmission and Symptoms:
Malaria is a serious disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Symptoms may include fever and flu-like illness, including: chills, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice. Malaria, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, coma, and death. Malaria can often be prevented by using anti-malarial drugs and by using personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites. However, in spite of all protective measures, travelers may still develop malaria. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and should tell the physician their travel history.

Malrone is the drug of choice for Malaria prevention as it has fewer reported side effects than other drugs and, according to various studies, is more effective.

Preventing Insect Bites:
In addition to using drugs to prevent malaria, travelers should protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing clothing that covers most of the body, using bed nets, and applying insect repellent to exposed skin, particularly between dusk and dawn. The most effective repellents contain the active ingredient DEET (N, N-diethyl meta-toluamide). When using DEET, follow these precautions:

  • Always use according to label directions.
  • Use repellent only when outdoors and wash skin after coming indoors.
  • Do not breathe or swallow repellent or get it in the eyes.
  • Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
  • Adults should use DEET at a concentration of 30% to 35%.
  • DEET should not come in contact with rubber or plastic elements for they will melt.
  • For greater protection, clothing can be soaked in or sprayed with permethrin. Permethrin will repel insects for several months. Repellents containing DEET, and Permethrin can be purchased in hardware, camping, and military surplus stores.


Although it takes a little extra caution when drinking fluids in Africa, it is essential to stay well hydrated. We advise that you not drink any of the tap water in most of Africa. Bottled water is fine to drink and can be ordered at most restaurants. When ordering sodas, it is best to request them without ice as the ice can be made from tap water. On the trek, porters will gather water en route and boil it for our consumption. For an extra precaution, you can choice to bring a personal water pump or iodine so you may never have to worry about not having enough water.


Avoid rich food until you acclimatize. If you are wary of getting sick, then play it safe and eat only cooked foods or fresh fruit that you have peeled yourself. The best hotels and restaurants have high standards for hygiene and food preparation. In general, stay cautious, eat what appeals to you and trust your senses.


Traveling to Africa is going to be a big change on your body. Despite the many precautions we all take to stay healthy, occasionally one may experience diarrhea. The major problem associated with diarrhea is fluid loss leading to severe dehydration, so it is important to maintain plentiful fluid intake. Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they further dehydrate you. The best drinks are weak tea, mineral water, and caffeine-free soft drinks. Although ideally it is best to let diarrhea run its course, on a trekking trip this is uncomfortable. You may want to bring an over-the-counter diarrhea cure to minimize your discomfort or talk to your doctor about prescribing an antibiotic for traveler’s diarrhea such as Cipro. We also advise that you carry your own supply of toilet paper, as some of the restrooms in Africa may not have TP.


If you take prescription medications that you need to bring, be sure to have a plentiful supply and the doctor’s prescription in case something happens to them. Along those lines, it is best to carry medications in your carry-on bag in case of lost luggage. If you wear prescription glasses or contacts, we advise that you bring a spare set.


Electrical current in Africa is 220 volts AC. Weights and measures are Metric.


Although the locals are a warm, friendly, fun-loving people, poverty and therefore thievery, is a problem. Always keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. When with other people, watch out for each other. Large crowds are prime locations for pick-pocketing to occur. Keep your money in a money belt or hidden pouch that you wear around your neck and under your shirt. When purchasing items, do not pull out lots of money. We advise that you leave all valuable jewelry, including fancy watches, at home. Thieves often work in pairs or groups – one tries to distract you (eg: by squirting food or paint on your clothing) and in your ensuing confusion, another one makes off with your belongings.

Fitness Levels

Your upcoming expedition is potentially quite strenuous. Although there will be lots of “downtime” to relax, read, and rest, we will be doing some very physical activities as well. Although we will maintain a slow, easy pace on the climb that will fit with almost anyone, it is nonetheless a strenuous high altitude hike. We recommend that you begin a fitness routine, especially one that includes regular hiking, as soon as you can, to be in top shape. You will enjoy the hike much more if you are in shape and feeling strong. Please read carefully our high altitude training document included in this packet.

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We all enjoy that tremendous view from a high summit, but there are risks in going to high altitude and it’s important to understand these risks.

What is High Altitude?

Altitude is defined on the following scale High (8,000 – 12,000 feet [2,438 – 3,658 meters]), Very High (12,000 – 18,000 feet [3,658 – 5,487 meters]), and Extremely High (18,000+ feet [5,500+ meters]). Since few people have been to such altitudes, it is hard to know who may be affected. There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some people get it and some people don’t, and some people are more susceptible than others. Most people can go up to 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) with minimal effect. If you haven’t been to high altitude before, it’s important to be cautious. If you have been at that altitude before with no problem, you can probably return to that altitude without problems as long as you are properly acclimatized. What causes altitude illnesses?

The concentration of oxygen at sea level is about 21% and the barometric pressure averages 760 mmHg. As altitude increases, the concentration remains the same but the number of oxygen molecules per breath is reduced. At 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) the barometric pressure is only 483 mmHg, so there are roughly 40% fewer oxygen molecules per breath. In order to properly oxygenate the body, your breathing rate (even while at rest) has to increase. This extra ventilation increases the oxygen content in the blood, but not to sea level concentrations. Since the amount of oxygen required for activity is the same, the body must adjust to having less oxygen. In addition, for reasons not entirely understood, high altitude and lower air pressure causes fluid to leak from the capillaries, which can cause fluid build-up in both the lungs and the brain. Continuing to higher altitudes without proper acclimatization can lead to potentially serious, even life-threatening illnesses.


The major cause of altitude illnesses is going too high too fast. Given time, your body can adapt to the decrease in oxygen molecules at a specific altitude. This process is known as acclimatization and generally takes 1-3 days at that altitude. For example, if you hike to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), and spend several days at that altitude, your body acclimatizes to 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). If you climb to 12,000 feet (3,658 meters), your body has to acclimatize once again. A number of changes take place in the body to allow it to operate with decreased oxygen:

  • The depth of respiration increases.
  • Pressure in pulmonary arteries is increased, “forcing” blood into portions of the lung, which are normally not used during sea level breathing.
  • The body produces more red blood cells to carry oxygen.
  • The body produces more of a particular enzyme that facilitates the release of oxygen from hemoglobin to the body tissues.

Prevention of altitude illnesses falls into two categories: proper acclimatization and preventive medications. We have chosen a route up the mountain that maximizes acclimatization. There are a few ways you can help your body adjust to altitude:

  • Stay properly hydrated. Acclimatization is often accompanied by fluid loss, so you need to drink lots of fluids to remain properly hydrated. Urine output should be copious and clear.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other depressant drugs including: barbiturates, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills. These depressants further decrease the respiratory drive during sleep resulting in a worsening of the symptoms.
  • Eat a high carbohydrate diet (more than 70% of your calories from carbohydrates) while at altitude.

Preventive Medications

Diamox (Acetazolamide) allows you to breathe faster so that you metabolize more oxygen, thereby minimizing the symptoms caused by poor oxygenation. This is especially helpful at night when respiratory drive is decreased. Since it takes a while for Diamox to have an effect, it is advisable to start taking it 24 hours before you go to altitude and continue for at least five days at higher altitude. The recommendation of the Himalayan Rescue Association Medical Clinic is 125 mg. twice a day (morning and night). Possible side effects include tingling of the lips and fingertips, blurring of vision, and alteration of taste which subside when the drug is stopped. Contact your physician for a prescription. Since Diamox is a sulfonamide drug, people who are allergic to sulfa drugs should not take Diamox. Diamox has also been known to cause severe allergic reactions to people with no previous history of Diamox or sulfa allergies. Frank Hubbell of SOLO recommends a trial course of the drug before going to a remote location where a severe allergic reaction could prove difficult to treat.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

AMS is common at high altitudes. At elevations over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters), 75% of people will have mild symptoms. The occurrence of AMS is dependent upon the elevation, the rate of ascent, and individual susceptibility. Many people will experience mild AMS during the acclimatization process. Symptoms usually start 12-24 hours after arrival at altitude and begin to decrease in severity about the third day. The symptoms of Mild AMS are headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea, disturbed sleep, and a general feeling of malaise. Symptoms tend to be worse at night and when respiratory drive is decreased. Mild AMS does not interfere with normal activity and symptoms generally subside within 2-4 days as the body acclimatizes. As long as symptoms are mild, and only a nuisance, ascent can continue at a moderate rate. When hiking, it is essential that you communicate any symptoms of illness immediately to your trip leader. Basic treatment of the symptoms of mild AMS include pain medications for headache and Diamox (see above).


Moderate AMS includes severe headache that is not relieved by medication, nausea and vomiting, increasing weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, and decreased coordination (ataxia). Normal activity is difficult, although the person may still be able to walk on their own. At this stage, only advanced medications or descent can reverse the problem. Descending even a few hundred feet may help, and definite improvement will be seen in descents of 1,000-2,000 feet (305-610 meters). Twenty-four hours at the lower altitude will result in significant improvements. The person should remain at lower altitude until symptoms have subsided (up to 3 days). The best test for moderate AMS is to have the person “walk a straight line” heel to toe. Just like a sobriety test, a person with ataxia will be unable to walk a straight line. This is a clear indication that immediate descent is required. It is important that the people descend before the ataxia reaches the point where they cannot walk on their own, which would necessitate an evacuation.


Severe AMS presents as an increase in the severity of the aforementioned symptoms, including shortness of breath at rest, inability to walk, decreasing mental status, and fluid buildup in the lungs. Severe AMS requires immediate descent to lower altitudes (2,000 – 4,000 feet [610-1,220 meters]).

There are two other severe forms of altitude illness, High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). Both of these happen less frequently, especially to those who are properly acclimatized. When they do occur, it is usually with people going too high too fast or going very high and staying there. The lack of oxygen results in leakage of fluid through the capillary walls into either the lungs or the brain. High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) results from fluid buildup in the lungs. The fluid in the lungs prevents effective oxygen exchange. As the condition becomes more severe, the level of oxygen in the bloodstream decreases, and this can lead to cyanosis, impaired cerebral function, and death. Symptoms include shortness of breath even at rest, “tightness in the chest,” marked fatigue, a feeling of impending suffocation at night, weakness, and a persistent productive cough bringing up white, watery, or frothy fluid. Confusion, and irrational behavior are signs that insufficient oxygen is reaching the brain. In cases of HAPE, immediate descent is a necessary life-saving measure (2,000 – 4,000 feet [610-1,220 meters]). Anyone suffering from HAPE must be evacuated to a medical facility for proper follow-up treatment.

High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is the result of swelling of brain tissue from fluid leakage. Symptoms can include headache, loss of coordination (ataxia), weakness, and decreasing levels of consciousness including, disorientation, loss of memory, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, and coma. It generally occurs after a week or more at high altitude. Severe instances can lead to death if not treated quickly. Immediate descent is a necessary life-saving measure (2,000 – 4,000 feet [610-1,220 meters]). Anyone suffering from HACE must be evacuated to a medical facility for proper follow-up treatment.

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Tanzania Facts

Situated in East Africa, just south of the equator, mainland Tanzania lies between the area of the great lakes; Victoria, Tanganyika and Malawi – with the Indian Ocean to the east. It has land borders with Uganda and Kenya to the north, Mozambique and Malawi to the south, Zambia to the southwest and Zaire, Burundi and Rwanda to the west.

The country lies at an altitude of over 1,000ft, apart from a coastal strip varying in width from 10 to 40 miles. The greater part of the country is made up of plateau averaging 3,000 to 4,500ft in height. Mountains are grouped in various sections with the Pare and Usambara ranges to the northeast and the Livingstone Mountains in the southwest. Kilimanjaro (19,340ft), in the north, is the highest mountain in Africa.

On the borders are three large lakes; Victoria, the second-largest freshwater lake in the world, Tanganyika, second only to Lake Baikal as the deepest in the world; and Lake Malawi. Even though three great African rivers, the Nile, the Zaire and the Zambezi, have their origins in Tanzania, the country has few permanent rivers. During half the year, the central plateau has no running water, but in the rainy season flooding presents a problem.

Full country name: United Republic of Tanzania
Area: 945,090 sq km (364,879 sq mi)
Population: 31,270,820, 33 per sq. km, 56% growth
Life Expectancy: 45 Infant Mortality: 85 per thousands
Doctors per person: 4 Illiteracy: 26.4%
Currency: Tanzania Shilling (TSh)
Capital city: Dodoma (in transition from Dar es Salaam)
People: 99% native African (over 100 tribes), 1% Asian, European and Arabic
Languages: Swahili, English, indigenous
Religion: 40% Christian, 33% Muslim, 20% indigenous beliefs
Government: Republic (multi-party state)
President: Benjamin William Mkapa
Colonized by: British Independence: 1961
GDP: US$7 billion
GDP per head: US$220
Inflation: 40%
Major industries: Tobacco, sugar, sisal, diamond & gold mining, oil refining, cement, tourism
Major trading partners: India, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Rwanda, the Netherlands, South Africa, Kenya, U.K., Saudi Arabia, China
Time: GMT+3 Dial Code: 255

Geography and Climate

Coastline: 1,424km Geo Coordinates: 35 00E, 6 00S
Health Risks: Malaria exists all year throughout the country below 1800 meters, Rabies
Rivers: Rufiji, Pangani, Ruvu Lakes: Lake Victoria
Highest Pts: Mt. Kilimanjaro
Climate: Varies from Tropical along coast to Temperate in highlands
Rain Season: October – November and April – May

Kilimanjaro Facts

Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa whose formation started 750,000 years ago. In 1973 the mountain was reclassified a national park, having been declared a Game Reserve in the 1910s by the German colonial government and then a Forest Reserve in 1921. Mount Kilimanjaro is the crown of Tanzania. Rising abruptly from the open planes, capped by snow and frequently fringed by clouds, it is one of Africa’s classic images. The diameter of its base is 40 miles. Kilimanjaro is a dormant, but not extinct volcano. Ominous rumbles can some times be heard and gases emerge from the fume holes in the crater. Although just 3 degree’s south of the Equator, the peaks of both Kibo and Mawenzi have permanent caps of snow and ice. During their time on the mountain, climbers pass from a tropical to arctic environment in just a few days. The various trails first pass through lush rain forest before reaching heather and open moorland where giant lobelia and huge, cactus-like groundsel grow. Above this moorland is the almost lunar landscape of an alpine desert, which stretches between the two peaks of Kibo, the flat-topped dome at the centre and Mawenzi, a group of jagged points and pinnacles on the eastern side. Inhospitable as this ‘moonscape’ may seem, animals such as herds of elands thrive there.

Kilimanjaro History

Mount Kilimanjaro lies on the border of Tanzania and Kenya, just south of the Equator. To the west lies the Great African Rift Valley, created by tremendous tectonic forces that also gave birth to a string of other volcanoes. One of these, Mount Kenya, was originally much higher than Kilimanjaro. The three summits of Mount Kilimanjaro, Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi are all of very recent origin. Shira and Mawenzi both have suffered considerable erosion and only jagged peaks remain. Kibo, the central, youngest and highest peak has survived as an almost perfect cone.

Although East Africa and nearby Olduvai Gorge is thought to be the cradle of mankind it is unlikely that early man would have been attracted to the steep and cold slopes of Kilimanjaro at a time when it was probably very active and dangerous. A Wachagga legend talks of Mawenzi receiving fire for its pipe from his younger brother Kibo. The Wachagga who live on the fertile volcanic soils around the base of the mountain probably only came to the area about 300 years ago thus this legend suggests very recent activity. Another of their legends talks of demons and evil spirits living on the mountain and guarding immense treasures. Stories are told of a king who decided to go to the top; few of his party survived and those who did had damaged arms and legs.

Arab and Chinese traders and historians make mention of a giant mountain lying inland from Mombasa or Zanzibar but few early traders ventured into the interior of the continent. Slave traders passed below it and sometimes raided the villages of the Wachagga but it was not until the middle of the 19th century that a more serious interest was taken in the mountain and attempts were made to scale it. In 1848 Johann Rebmann, a missionary from Germany, saw Mount Kilimanjaro while crossing the plains of Tsavo. His guide talked of “baridi” – cold, and of tales how a group of porters were sent up the mountain to bring back the silver or other treasures from the summit. They came back only with water. Rebmann’s report stimulated great interest in Germany and in the following years several expeditions were organized, first by Baron von Decken then later by Dr. Hans Meyer who finally stood on the highest point on the 5th of October 1889. Mount Kilimanjaro now attracts many thousands of walkers each year. On the 1st of January 2000 over 1000 people reached the summit to see the sun rise over a new Millennium.

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