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. Health officials may screen passengers for COVID 19 symptoms on arrival or randomly select passengers for rapid antigen testing.
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 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