HOW IS THE RESCUE AND EVACUATION DONE ON KILIMANJARO?
Altitude sickness is not an uncommon occurrence on Kilimanjaro and it is impossible to totally prevent it from happening. Our mountain teams are experienced in detecting and dealing with it, so you will be in safe hands with Kili Africa Tours.
The best and fastest solution to the problem of altitude sickness is to get the climber back down the mountain. To ensure a safe descent, there are a number of possibilities: your mountain guide will choose the best rescue or evacuation option, depending on the location of the affected.
RESCUE & EVACUATION BY VEHICLES
Two rescue vehicles are provided on standby by the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities, though these can access only certain locations on the mountain. On the Machame and Lemosho routes, the rescue vehicle can reach a point 45 minutes’ walk below the Shira Cave Camp and will then return with the climber to Londorossi Gate. On the Marangu and Rongai routes, the rescue vehicle can reach as far as Horombo Hut, and then takes the climber back down to the Marangu Gate.
At the relevant gate, an Kili Africa Tours driver will be waiting with our vehicle to transfer the climber to either the hospital or hotel, depending on their condition at the time.
In the event that a rescue vehicle is required, the Kili Africa Tours mountain guide will contact the ranger post on the mountain. The ranger post then radios the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority to arrange for the rescue vehicle.
Thankfully, not every injury or illness requires a climber to be evacuated urgently from the mountain. In the case of a condition that is less severe, but which prevents the climber from continuing with the climb, you can rest assured that one of your experienced Kili Africa Tours mountain guides will accompany you back down the mountain to the starting-point. From there, Kili Africa Tours will transfer you to a hotel to rest and to receive medical attention, should that be necessary. Please be aware that any extra nights spent in hotels in addition to the night at the start of the trip, and the night at the end, will have to be paid by the climber in addition to the trip cost. During your recuperation time in the hotel, Kili Africa Tours will be closely monitoring your recovery.
STROLLER TYPE STRETCHER EVACUATION
If you have chosen the Marangu Route for your Kilimanjaro climb, then specially designed Stoller-type stretchers are available in the event of severe altitude sickness, leg injury or other illness/injury which might require evacuation of the climber. These stretchers incorporate a large wheel in their design, which makes it unnecessary for the climber to be carried on the back of a mountain crew member. Each hut on the Marangu Route is equipped with one of these, but note that they are not available on other Kilimanjaro routes.
HELICOPTER RESCUE EVACUATION
Your guides also know when things are serious and evacuation by helicopter is the only option. This is done with the recognized rescue organization, Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (SAR).
This organization works in partnership with Kili Africa Tours (and other operators) and provides a helicopter rescues operation on Mount Kilimanjaro. SAR operate Airbus AS 350 B3 helicopters out of the nearby airport at Moshi.
The service involves mobilization of trained and experienced pilots, aircrew and rescue doctors who are all used to whatever situation might arise on the mountain. Response to any emergency call is swift. In conjunction with the actual rescue operation, SAR also operates a specialist medical facility, focusing on conditions caused by high altitude. Treatments is available 24/7, from the SAR medical teams.
To be eligible for the services offered by SAR, you must ensure that you have the necessary travel insurance. This must include cover for high-altitude trekking up to 6,000 meters.