Mount Kilimanjaro is a relatively safe mountain to hike. But unfortunately, people do die every year on Kilimanjaro.
In this article, I will outline the number of Kilimanjaro deaths, their underlying causes, and what this means for prospective hikers looking to scale the Roof of Africa in 2022 and beyond.
Mount Kilimanjaro Deaths FAQs
How many people die on Kilimanjaro every year?
Around 3-10 people on average die on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro every year. Bear in mind that as many as 30,000 people climb Kilimanjaro every year, which means that the odds are statistically in your favour with surviving the summit.
What causes people to die on Kilimanjaro every year?
Most Kilimanjaro deaths are caused every year by people suffering from severe altitude sickness. Pre-existing health issues resulting in heart attacks also occur sometimes. Certain routes on Kilimanjaro like the Western Breach are also more susceptible to rock falls, which can injure and kill climbers. Climbers with pre-existing medical conditions should take extra care while trekking up Kilimanjaro and ensure they carry the necessary medication and a first aid kit in their backpacks.
Health Tip: In order to make your Kilimanjaro climb as safe as possible, you should book a climbing tour for 7-8 days? That way, your body will have lots of time to acclimate properly to the higher altitude.
Is Mount Kilimanjaro safe to climb?
Mount Kilimanjaro is generally very safe to hike. While Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, general weather conditions aren't as severe as higher mountains. Additionally, the mountain gradually slopes upwards, and doesn't require any technical climbing skills. This means that most people are able to reach the summit successfully regardless of age, weight or pre-existing medical conditions.
If you don't believe me, maybe these articles will convince you that Kilimanjaro deaths are in the minority:
Health Tip: When booking a trip to Tanzania, it's a good idea to first go for a health check-up at a clinic or hospital. Be sure to also ask the attending doctor to check your heart for any underlying issues as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a strenuous activity. Before attempting any mountaineering in the future, it is strongly recommend that you train beforehand for several months, with an emphasis on cardiovascular training.
What kind of conditions can I expect while climbing Kilimanjaro?
Mount Kilimanjaro has unique weather conditions and is split into four climate zones: Rainforest zone, Low alpine zone, High alpine zone and Glacial zone. This means that the weather on Kilimanjaro can vary dramatically in 24 hours the higher you go, so it's better to always be prepared for the unexpected.
Like the rest of Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro also experiences a wet season and a dry season. I recommend that you avoid hiking Kilimanjaro during the wet seasons (April - May) as the mountain routes can get very slippery and visibility is compromised by heavy cloud cover, which can make injury and possible Kilimanjaro deaths strong possibilities.
How can I stay safe while climbing Kilimanjaro?
There are a few ways to stay safe while climbing Kilimanjaro and not becoming a tragic mountain statistic:
- Dress warmly to avoid getting hypothermia. Make sure you also use a reputable tour company which ensures their porters also dress warmly so they don't get sick while carrying your gear.
- Drink lots of water. Dehydration is a stark reality on Kilimanjaro and can cause illness and death, so make sure that you stay hydrated during your climb.
- Climb slowly. The best way to succumb to altitude sickness is to climb Kilimanjaro too quickly without giving your body proper time to acclimatise to the high altitude and reduced oxygen levels. As the tortoise demonstrated in the famous English fable, 'slow and steady' is the best way to win the race.
- If you start feeling sick, tell someone right away. Your guides or porters will be able to advise you on the best solution. If they advise you to descend the mountain, listen to them. Reaching the summit isn't worth your health - or your life.
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Thanks for reading my article on Mount Kilimanjaro Deaths! Don't let the statistics or ghost stories stop you from enjoying a memorable experience on the Roof of Africa. The best ways to prepare for Kilimanjaro and stay safe while you climb is doing your research, training your body and mind, and taking it nice and slow on the way up.
Better safe than sorry... I highly recommend travel insurance for Tanzania. Use the quote calculator from our partner, World Nomads. World Nomads provide comprehensive travel cover as well as specific coverage for hiking up to 6000m, which is perfect for Kilimanjaro.