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Travel Advice What Vaccinations Do I Need for Kilimanjaro?

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Vaccinations, Immunisations and Medications Needed for Climbing Kilimanjaro

Climbing Kilimanjaro is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that is prominent on the bucket lists of many keen trekkers from around the world. Mount Kilimanjaro, commonly known as Kilimanjaro or ‘Kili’ is the tallest mountain on the continent of Africa, tallest freestanding mountain in the world and one of the world’s seven summits. So, it’s fair to say that the appeal of attempting this epic peak is obvious.

Located in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park in northeastern Tanzania, Kilimanjaro is a popular destination because it is considered a trekking peak, requiring no technical mountaineering, or climbing skills. There is still a lot of preparation to consider before travelling to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, including choosing the best route to climb Kilimanjaro, making sure you have all the necessary equipment to climb Kilimanjaro, having a solid Kilimanjaro training plan in place and ensuring you meet all the vaccination requirements for Tanzania.                                 

In this article we discuss the medications, immunisations and vaccinations required for Tanzania as well as some general Tanzania travel advice.

Please note we are not medical experts. The advice on this page is provided as an information only resource and should not be relied on for any diagnostic or preventative measures. We strongly advise you to seek professional medical advice at least 6-8 weeks prior to your departure.

Tanzania Required Vaccinations

With the exception of Yellow Fever vaccination, which is compulsory for any traveller entering Tanzania from any country that is considered a risk zone, there are no mandatory vaccination requirements for Tanzania. We have covered this in more detail in the section below.

If you are planning on spending a long period of time travelling Tanzania after your Kilimanjaro trek, it’s a good idea to spend some time considering vaccinations, immunisations and medications to protect your health while you are out there, making your Tanzania trip as enjoyable as possible.

Tanzania Recommended Vaccinations

Yellow Fever

Spread by the bite of a female mosquito, Yellow Fever is a viral disease in many parts of Africa. Tanzania is not a high-risk zone for Yellow Fever but, if you are travelling to Tanzania via another Yellow Fever country, you may be required to present your Yellow Fever vaccination card. High-risk countries include Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo, Uganda.

If you are simply staying in an airport in one of these countries on transit, then this won't be required but in the case of flight delays, this can become a problem. The rules state that if you’ve been in there for more than 12 hours, you’ll need proof of vaccination. You need to be vaccinated 10 days before your scheduled date of travel. If you plan on staying in Tanzania for a considerable amount of time, then we would recommend getting the Yellow Fever jab as mosquitoes are certainly common in the lower regions of the country.

Vaccinations for Kilimanjaro - Yellow fever

Hepatitis A & B

Getting both Hep A and Hep B vaccinations before travelling to Tanzania is a good idea as it is better to be safe than sorry. Both diseases can be transmitted in a number of ways, including contaminated food or water - particularly uncooked foods such as fruit that you don’t peel, shellfish, ice in drinks and salad etc. You are at highest risk of Hep B if you work in healthcare, require medical treatment when out there or are sexually active with the local population. We recommend you talk to your doctor about Hepatitis vaccinations for more detailed Tanzania travel advice.


Tanzania is a fairly low risk rabies zone and your chance of exposure to rabies is low, especially if you aren’t planning to travel Tanzania after you climb Kilimanjaro. However, if you plan on staying for a longer period, particularly in the rural parts of Tanzania, then getting a rabies jab is probably a good option. Rabies is usually transmitted by a bite from an infected animal such as a dog. Please consult with your doctor for more detailed advice about shots needed for Tanzania.


If you have not had these injections in the last 10 years then it is highly recommended you get a booster for each.


Food hygiene standards in Tanzania can be lacking, and it is not uncommon to be exposed to typhoid it is spread via contaminated food and water. Getting a typhoid jab is therefore highly recommended as typhoid can be transmitted by ice in your drinks, eating street food, poor hygiene, eating raw food or travelling rural areas of Tanzania.


Although not common, tuberculosis (TB) has been contracted by people visiting Tanzania. Contracted through airborne sputum, TB is higher risk for people under the age of 16 who are staying in Tanzania for an extended period of time. TB is also a higher risk to people under the age of 35 working in healthcare, or for anyone staying in Tanzania for long periods of time.


Trekkers travelling to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro should be fine without a cholera injection. However, if you are working in Tanzania in healthcare or with an emergency relief agency, a cholera injection is highly recommended.


Measles is a disease that is spread through inhaling airborne sputum, therefore anyone who is planning on living in Tanzania for a prolonged period of time, or working closely with Tanzanian people should get a measles jab.


Caused by the bite of the anopheles mosquito, Malaria is a real problem in Tanzania, especially in the lower jungle and coastal regions where mosquitoes thrive. Coastal towns such as Zanzibar have the highest risk, but inland towns such as Moshi and Arusha are still vulnerable.

Tanzania is determined as a high-risk malaria zone and every precaution should therefore be taken in order to avoid the disease. It only takes one single bite from a mosquito to contract the disease. The only fool-proof way of avoiding malaria is to take anti-malaria drugs or prophylaxis.

The good news for trekkers is that anopheles mosquitoes are not found at high altitudes. Over 2,000 metres, the anopheles mosquito is rarely seen and the only point which you are likely to get bitten is just before and after your trek when you are at sea level. This is particularly true at night when the anopheles mosquito is most active.

There are a number of ways to reduce your chances of getting bitten:

  • Wear mosquito repellent - the best repellent contains a high concentration of DEET
  • Stay indoors when the sun goes down
  • Apply mosquito repellent not only to your skin, but to your clothes and bedding also
  • Use a mosquito net at night to protect your bedding
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and trousers - try to make your clothes as light a colour as possible as mosquitoes are attracted to darker shades
  • Take anti-malarial drugs - see your GP for this
Map for Malaria risk zones

Anti-Malarial Drugs

There are a number of anti-malaria drugs on the market and it is always best to consult your doctor as to which one is best suited to you. The type of anti-malaria drug you use will depend very much on your age, length of stay and how a particular type of drug fares in different regions. When considering anti-malarial drugs, there are three main drugs to consider: Malarone, Doxycycline and Mefloquine.

  1. Mefloquine has a number of brand names including Lariam, Mephaquin and Mefliam. Of all the drugs mentioned above, Lariam is probably the most popular (although many people complain of side effects such as hallucinations and nightmares when using Lariam). Lariam is taken once a week and a full course of the drug is needed to make sure it is fully effective. It is always recommended to test the drug several weeks before leaving to make sure you don't suffer any side-effects. Research has suggested that taking Lariam increases a person's likelihood of getting Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), however, this is not conclusive. The side effects of Lariam will often emulate mountain sickness which may be the cause of this belief.
  2. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that can also be used to prevent Malaria and is available in the United States by prescription only. Both adults and children should take one dose of doxycycline per day sarting a day or two before travelling to the area where malaria transmission occurs. They should take one dose per day while there, and for 28 consecutive days after leaving.
  3. Malarone, although more expensive, seems to have fewer side effects and may be a good option for people concerned about Lariam. As always, we recommend seeking professional medical advice before taking any of these drugs.

Medications to Bring with You

  • Antimalarial
  • Diamox to prevent symptoms of acute mountain sickness (AMS)
  • Ciproflaxin or a similar antibiotic to treat bacterial diarrhoea
  • Ibuprofen

General Medical Check-up

As well as taking care of yourself during your Kilimanjaro climb, it is important to make sure you are fit and healthy before climbing Kilimanjaro by seeking advice from a professional. We strongly advise that you see your GP for a general medical check-up before traveling to Tanzania and prior to attempting climbing the mountain. A medical check-up is particularly important for anyone suffering from pre-existing medical conditions and will give you piece of mind whilst you are in Tanzania.

References: 1. CDC Website