December 6, 2018

Taking Diamox to reach the roof of Africa

Taking Diamox to reach the roof of Africa

In August and September 2018, Your African Safari surveyed over 150 Kilimanjaro tour operators and several climbers to solicit their feedback on Diamox usage for altitude sickness. Two-thirds of tour operators surveyed said they advocate the usage of Diamox. Jump to survey results. 

Kilimanjaro—Tanzania’s top tourist attraction

Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, attracts an increasing number of hopeful climbers each year. As of 2017, an estimated 60,000 people attempt to summit Kilimanjaro each year, making it Tanzania’s top tourist attraction(1). Technical climbing skills aren’t needed for most routes and, while the summit is at 59985m/19340ft, the trek commences at 4900m, for a total ascent of around 1,100m/3300 ft. Despite the short ascent, the summit is at extreme altitude. Each year, over 1,000 people must be evacuated (2) and an average of seven people die, mainly due to high altitude issues.  

High altitude sickness | Acute mountain sickness

It is generally agreed that going too high, too fast is a primary cause for altitude sickness. Symptoms of altitude sickness usually develop between 6 and 24 hours after reaching altitudes of more than 3,000m (9,842 feet) above sea level. These symptoms are not unlike those of a hangover: throbbing headache, nausea, dizziness, lethargy, a feeling of pressure on one’s chest, especially when recumbent and shortness of breath. As more people review their experience of Kilimanjaro, more of them mention the use of Diamox.

About Diamox

Manufactured by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, an Israeli company, and initially approved on July 27, 1953 (3), 125 mg and 250 mg Diamox tablets were originally created to treat patients with glaucoma. Diamox (acetazolamide) suppresses carbonic anhydrase, and it was soon discovered that these inhibitors have been shown to lessen acute mountain sickness symptoms. A slow-release version, called Diamox Sequels, was also marketed but has since been discontinued (4).

Kilimanjaro survey results

Your African Safari reached out to over 800 Kilimanjaro outfitters and had a response rate of just over 20%. Of the 150+ tour operators that participated, half said they noticed an increase in the number of clients that use Diamox. Two-thirds of tour operators recommend Diamox to their clients and more than 60% of them have been offering trekking for five or more years.

About half of climbers surveyed used Diamox

YAS surveyed mainly seasoned tour operators

Advice for those looking to summit Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro and safaris

Kilimanjaro’s proximity to some of Africa’s top safari destinations: Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Lake Manyara means a safari and a Killi trek holiday can effortlessly be combined into one. Are you considering trekking Kilimanjaro? Why not browse packages from over 250 tour operators.


Participating tour operators

Your African Safari would like to thank all tour operators who took the time to participate in this survey. Participants had the option to remain anonymous. Below are those who wished to be named.

Active Kilimanjaro

Adventure Savvy Africa Limited

Africa Starpal Safaris

African Breeze Tours

African Overland Ltd

African Route Adventures & Safaris

African Travel Tour

All About Africa

Altezza Travel

Bantu Pori Journeys

Bayango Tours

Beauty of Creation Tours & Safaris

Bless Africa tours and Safaris

Budget Safaris Tanzania

Cassiopea Tours and Travel

Chaz Tours and Travel

Chitu Safari & Services

Come and See Adventures

Costo Tours & Adventure Activities

Dallago Tours Kenya Tanzania Limited

Destinations Africa

Duma Explorer

East African Voyage

Eastland Adventures

Eco-Africa Climbing

Enosa Expeditions

eTrip Africa

Evarest-adventures ltd

Exclusive Wilderness Trails Ltd.

Experience Zanzibar Tours & Safaris

Genesis of Adventure

Gideon Tanzania Safari


Indigo Safaris

Infinite Safari Adventures

Jambo Kili Tours

Jiwe Adventures

Kenya Tanzania Trips

Kichaos Tanzanaia Safaris Ltd

Kili Treks Tanzania

Kilimanjaro Centre for Trekking and Ecotourism (KCTE)

Kilimanjaro Tanzanite Safaris Co.Ltd

Kilimanjaro Wonders Expedition Safari (KWESA TOURS)

Kubwa Five Safaris

Lappet Faced Safaris

Leading Expeditions

Leken Adventure

Maasai Wanderings

Marangu Treks & Safaris

Maryo Tours

Matea Tours & Safaris

Migration Venture Africa

Nature Bound Africa

Novi Travel & Tours

Nyange Adventures

Nyayo Tours and Safari

Pamoja Safaris

Paradise Safaris Africa

RA Safaris Limited

RajaTours Tanzania

Ringo Expeditions

Rondo Dwarf Safaris

Safari Bando Adventures

Safari Explorers

Safaribook Evolution

Selek Tours & Safaris

Selfmade expedition

Serac Adventure 

Simba Adventures

Summit Expeditions & Nomadic Experience

Summits Africa LTD

Tanzania Choice Safaris

Tanzania Serengeti Adventure Ltd

Top Cream Tours and Safaris

Trek & Hide Adventures

Unique Jungle Tours

Unique Pathways Ltd

Utalii Travel & Safaris

Voyageafricain Ltd

Wilds of Africa Tours & Travel

YHA Kenya Travel Tours and Safaris

Zanzibar Cholo Tours & Safaris


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