Travel insurance tips for Kilimanjaro climbers | Fair Voyage


Travel insurance tips for Kilimanjaro climbers

Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the most exciting things you can do. The memories you gain from taking the adventure of a lifetime is simply indescribable. However, while many get lost in the dream of travel, the practicalities of  protecting yourself before and during the trip by purchasing travel insurance must not be overlooked.

Although nobody likes to believe that anything may go wrong, unforeseen events do happen and having travel insurance gives you the peace of mind to know that you will be able to recover your investment or get the treatment you need should you fall ill or succumb to injury.

So below, we have included our top travel insurance tips for Kilimanjaro climbers. Make sure you are covered for travel cancellation, overseas medical expenses and emergency evacuation, including for higher risk activities such as high altitude trekking up to 6,000 meters.

We recommend the travel insurance by World Nomads which has good coverage at affordable prices. You can easily apply for it online within few minutes (get it now).

What are the benefits of travel insurance?

The most important benefits of travel insurance when you climb Kilimanjaro are to cover your financial investment if you need to cancel your trip, as well as to cover any overseas medical expenses and emergency evacuation. Travel insurance typically also covers loss or delayed baggage, flight delays and other events that impact your trip.

In case you are wondering whether you can really afford the additional expense of travel insurance, here are 3 compelling reasons why it should not be overlooked:

Financial protection: Even a short trip can leave you out of pocket if you are unable to travel, so it is important to take out a policy that covers you in the event of a cancellation. If you do have to cancel your trip for any reason or you get sick or injured while you are abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is being left with a huge bill or worse – not being able to pay for your treatment. Most tour operators will not refund you if you cancel after a certain period of time, so it is advisable to purchase travel insurance as soon as you have booked your trip. There will also be other non-refundable costs associated with your trip, such as airline tickets and other items.

Safety: It goes without saying that you will definitely need travel insurance if you are doing anything that has a slightly higher risk profile – such as climbing Kilimanjaro. Climbing Kilimanjaro increases your risk of accidents and illness. You will need a good insurance that covers your overseas medical expenses and emergency evacuation, including for higher risk activities. Make sure your insurance covers helicopter evacuations and high altitude trekking up to 6,000 meters.

Mandatory: Even if you prefer not to take out insurance, the most responsible Kilimanjaro operators make insurance mandatory for you to participate on their climbs. This is in your own best interest, so that they can provide you with their best possible assistance to receive emergency evacuation and hospital treatment, should you need it. Amongst others, travel insurance is mandatory for all Kilimanjaro climbs booked via Fair Voyage.

Which travel insurance provider should you book with?

There are so many things to consider when you are booking your insurance. For example, each provider will have their own terms and conditions and some providers offer specialist coverage for specific activities, such as mountain climbing.

You may also have a number of questions about what type of cover you should get and whether you should use separate insurers for different types of claims. Other common questions revolve around how to save costs and whether credit cards will insure against any risks.

Well, we’ve done all the hard work for you and concluded that World Nomads provides the most comprehensive and affordable coverage for travellers to Africa.

They also allow you to buy your insurance online. This is one of the many reasons we have used World Nomads as our insurer of choice and we are confidently recommending them to you.

Why do we recommend World Nomads?

There are many reasons to take out insurance with World Nomads. Here are eight of them:

    1. Internationally recognised underwriters
      World Nomads is backed by a suite of specialist travel insurers that provide 24/7 emergency assistance, customer service and claims support.
    2. 24/7 emergency assistance
      If you need medical assistance or emergency medical evacuation, World Nomads’ multi-lingual team is available 24/7 to connect you with medical treatment and transportation during your trip.
    3. Buy and claim on the road
      Had a change of plans? You can extend your period of cover or claim online at any point in your journey. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already travelling.
    4. Adventure activity coverage
      Designed by travelers, for travelers, World Nomads covers over 150 adventure sports and activities so you can explore your boundaries.
    5. Travel safety tips and alerts
      World Nomads provides useful and up-to-date travel insurance information and global travel safety advice to help you plan for your journey and navigate the risks.
    6. Donate and make a difference
      When you buy travel insurance with World Nomads, you can make a micro-donation to a community development project to help change lives in the destinations that need it most.
    7. Travel content to help inspire, educate and plan
      Plan your trip with free destination guides, develop your travel storytelling skills and learn how you can be a more responsible traveler with World Nomads as your travel companion.
    8. Excellent reviews
      World Nomads has had good reviews compared to other insurance providers. One of the most famous travel bloggers in the world – Nomadic Matt has consistently recommended them, because of their comprehensive coverage.

Special recommendations for travelers climbing Kilimanjaro

Once you've booked your Kilimanjaro climb, if not sooner, it is important that you take these steps:

1. Take out travel insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory to participate in all Kilimanjaro climbs booked with Fair Voyage (read why). To protect your financial investment if you need to cancel your trip due to illness or other unforeseen changes, take out your travel cancellation insurance as soon as you've booked your Tour. Make sure your medical insurance covers emergency evacuations and high altitude trekking up to 6,000 meters. See our insurance recommendations.

2. Book your flight

To maximize your chances of finding a convenient & affordable flight, it's best to book your flight as soon as you've booked your climb. Kilimanjaro International Airport is conveniently located within 20-60 minutes drive of most hotels in Moshi and Arusha, which are both commonly used as a base to climb Kilimanjaro. It is best to arrive 2 nights before the start of your climb and to depart a day after you finish your climb. If constrained by time, it is also possible – but not recommendable – to arrive on the evening prior to the start of your climb, and to depart on the evening of your last climbing day.

3. Make sure your passport will be valid for 6 months

To enter Tanzania, you will need a visa. To obtain a visa, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your entry to Tanzania. Check your passport's expiry date. If required, make sure to apply for a new passport well ahead of your trip.

4. Obtain an electronic visa

You must have a valid visa to enter Tanzania. To speed up immigration procedures, we recommend you to apply for your visa online, except:

  • If you are arriving by land from Kenya via the Tarakea border, visas are not available online.
  • Visas on arrival cost US$ 100 per person. Bring this amount in cash as card payments may not always work.

Make sure to apply for your visa well ahead of time as it may take up to three weeks for you to receive it.

5. Get a health check as well as required vaccinations & medications

It is important that you are in good physical health. If you are at increased risk due to age, level of fitness, or health condition, you must get a medical check and confirm with your doctor that strenuous exercise in high altitude is permissible for your condition.

In addition, make sure to check the latest Tanzania COVID-19 travel regulations as well as required and recommended vaccinations and medications for traveling to Tanzania. In particular, note that the type of malaria in Tanzania may be lethal, so we recommend taking preventative anti-malarials. As some vaccinations may need to be administered over longer periods of time to become effective, it is best to consult your medical expert well in advance of travelling to Tanzania.

6. Provide all your traveler details

Please login to your trip dashboard to share your personal and trip-related details for each person in your booking as soon as possible prior to the start of your trip. This allows us to prepare your trip (including your arrival and departure arrangements; as well as any dietary, medical or other requirements we should be aware of), and to ensure that we have all your details for emergencies.

7. Start to train

It is never too soon to start your training.

The best training you can do to prepare for your mount Kilimanjaro climb is hiking. Running, swimming and cycling are all very good exercises but what you will be doing on Kilimanjaro is hiking.

You will need to condition your body to walk in ascension, over uneven terrain for long periods. Ideally, go hiking in the highest mountains in your area to experience the effect of increased altitudes.

If you live in a city or somewhere flat, taking stairs instead of elevators and targeted muscle exercises are excellent practice that can also help you prepare.

8. Organize all required gear, documents, medications, etc.

Organizing your gear can be a very time-consuming process. It is best to review our recommended packing list and start thinking about how to organize any missing items as soon as you've booked your climb. Most gear can be rented locally in Tanzania (except for cross-over climbs starting in Nairobi), which is a cost-effective and environmentally friendlier alternative to buying new gear. Please check with us for a full list of items available locally.

9. Understand how to minimize the risks of altitude sickness

The biggest risk for Kilimanjaro climbers is altitude sickness. Read our detailed article about the dangers of altitude sickness and how to minimize your risks. Ideally, you experience the effects of increased altitudes above 3,500 meters before climbing Kilimanjaro. However, for most climbers this is not feasible, nor is it required. Even if you have the opportunity to pre-acclimatize, benefits usually only last a few days and disappear by the time you climb Kilimanjaro. So make sure you understand the risks, but don't worry about pre-acclimatizing.

10. Carefully read all your Tour documentation

Please carefully read all information provided under the Preparing Your Trip section where we have put together all essential information for you. To know more, check our comprehensive Travel Tips with answers to over 300 frequently asked questions of Kilimanjaro climbers. If in doubt about any information, please don't hesitate to contact us.

About the author

Janine is a travel content writer and blogger, with a background in marketing and journalism. She loves travelling and uses her writing to share her passion for responsible travel with others.