Gladys Adventure & Safaris
Health & Safety
Travel and Medical Insurance
Before travelling, it is strongly recommended that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all Tanzanian medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
International passengers entering mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar are not required to present a COVID 19 vaccination certificate or negative COVID 19 test on arrival.
General Travel Advice
In weighing up the decision to travel to Tanzania at this time, one should take into consideration the risk of restrictions being introduced during their travel and the impact which responding to COVID-19 may have on local health care systems over the course of their proposed visit.
You should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.
Private healthcare facilities with the capability to respond to COVID-19 cases exist, but capacity is limited. You should be aware that in the event of a significant COVID-19 outbreak in Tanzania, the ability to access treatment for other ailments is likely to be limited.
Check what vaccinations you may need for your trip at least eight weeks before you travel. We cannot advise you on vaccinations, but you can get information about vaccinations from your local GP or an International Health and Travel Centre.
Tanzania is not considered an "at risk" country for Yellow Fever. Kenya is considered an "at risk" country. A Yellow Fever vaccination certificate is only required if arriving from, or having transited through countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission, and will be inspected on arrival in Tanzania. For more information on yellow fever see: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/yellowfev/en/
Medical Care in Tanzania
Quality medical care services are limited, especially outside major urban centers. But there is a high quality medical center in the town or Karatu (near Ngorongoro Conservation Area) run by American doctors. Some large lodges inside the Serengeti have medical doctors on staff that can treat emergencies for all tourists (not only those staying at that specific lodge). Medical help at the scene of an accident may be limited. In the case of serious accident or illness, evacuation by air ambulance may be required. Adequate insurance can be crucial in helping people get the medical attention required.
For Mt Kilimanjaro treks, in the most extreme cases, helicopter evacuation is available. Nearby hospitals are well experienced at treating altitude related sicknesses.
Make sure you bring enough medication for your entire trip and for any unexpected delays. You may wish to also bring copies of your prescription in case you lose your medication. If wishhing to use Diamox for your Mt Kilimanjaro climb, you can buy this easily at any local pharmacy. It will be most likely much easier to obtain in the proper dosage here and most certainly at a less expensive price than in your country.
Malaria is a disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria. Malaria can be contracted throughout the year but the mosquito population is higher during the wetter months (April - June, November, early December). It is highly advisable to take precautions: Avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers, especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and sleeping under a mosquito net. At higher elevations such as Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Mt Kilimanjaro, and Mt Meru there are no mosquitoes. In fact, on a Mt Kilimanjaro trek, your guide will instruct you not to take any anti-malarial tablets during the trek since the side effects can make altitude sickness difficult to diagnose. Taking the tablets can be resumed immediately after the trek.
For the large majority of malaria cases, if treated promptly, it not very severe. Locally, in many cases having malaria will result in 3 -4 days of headache, muscle aches, and fever until the medication takes affect. There is a much greater danger in high risk people (infants, elderly, HIV positive, and pregnant women) and for those without access to medication.
There is a very aggresive strain of malaria which is dangerous for all people. This strain is found in a fraction of one percent of all malaria cases. This strain needs to be taken very seriously.
The incubation period for malaria is from 10 days to four weeks, most likely after you have returned home. Medicine to treat malaria is very easily obtainable and inexpensive in Moshi or Arusha. Many tourists choose to buy the medication (under $10 USD) before they return home in case they develop symptoms. The medication is much more easily obtained in Tanzania and at a lower price compared to finding it in their home country where malaria is not present. If you need to seek medical attention once you are back at home, be sure to let the doctor know that you had traveled to Tanzania.
For advice or a prescription for antimalarial tablets, consult a travel clinic before you travel.
Water quality can be poor in Tanzania and outbreaks of waterborne diseases can occur. Ensure that drinking water is safe before consumption. All drinking water given to you by Gladys Adventure while on safari or a mountain trek will be treated already. In hotels in Arusha or Moshi, the tap water will be fine for brushing your teeth but for drinking use bottled/purified water only.
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).
Our Climb Staff -- Last but certainly not least is the experience and expertice of our mountain guides, cooks, and porters. 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:
- I was very impressed by the professionalism and knowledge shown by all of our guides. I very quickly trusted them
with my health and safety. Everything they do from day one factors into your success. I also noticed how well known they
were by other groups on the mountain. Prosper is a very experienced chief guide, having completed over 500 summits.
He let his assistant guides lead, but also knew when to step in. He kept a close eye on everyone’s food/water intake
and health. Any health concerns/issues were immediately addressed both during the regular health checks and as they
came up on the trail. We ended every dinner with a briefing about the next day (even telling us what we should wear)
so we knew what to expect.
What was most impressive to me was how well they knew the trail. They stood on either side of us if there were cliffs, and were always running ahead to be there to help us with difficult spots - literally holding our hands and arms to ensure our safety.
I cannot begin to describe how impressed I was with the porters. They helped us everyday, watched out for us every night, and made the hike look easy. The Gladys porters served as a ‘security’ team at camp to ensure no one got lost or went into our tents. As an anxious traveler this was such a relief. I was able to sleep comfortably and relax at camp knowing that our trusted porters were keeping an eye on the place.
Our group had a safe and successful summit, and it seems like this is the norm for this company.
Reviewed October 2023
- We recently completed the 7 day Machame route with Gladys and the experience was amazing. Everything was well organised,
great equipment and food and health and safety was always at the top of their mind. All 20 of us in the group summited and
any issues were taken care of quickly and professionaly. Prosper who was our lead guide has done hundreds of summits and
his experience was invaluable. Great local operator and would highly recommend them.
Reviewed September 2023
- The head guide also made sure that each of us received proper attention and care. There were daily health checks and twice
the guides administered care for altitude difficulties. The food was prepared to meet all our dietary restrictions and to
provide the energy needed.
Reviewed September 2023
- The team were consistent in doing regular health checks to ensure that we were coping well with the altitude and providing
advice from their wealth of experience.
Reviewed September 2023
- The guides and porters make sure you acclimate well; they make sure you eat well and consume sufficient calories for the task;
they make sure you stay hydrated; they take your pulse oximeter twice a day and listen to your lungs; in short, they keep you
safe, and help you manage the challenge in all ways — physically and mentally. You feel very well cared for in every regards.
Reviewed December 2022