With our tight focus on client safety, we’re thrilled a reliable, professional helicopter rescue service for Mount Kilimanjaro was established this year.
Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue is located at the foot of the mountain in Moshi. They specialise in helicopter evacuation services on and around Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru.
Kilimanjaro SAR’s CEO, Ivan Braun, says their mission is to “make Mount Kilimanjaro the safest tourist destination in Africa”. The company have two rescue choppers which specialise in high altitude flights and have even been landed at the summit of Everest (8,848m). The team also offer a high-altitude treatment clinic in Moshi.
2018 is their first year in operation but they’ve already made 50 successful evacuations, including rescuing three porters and two guides whose helicopter recovery and treatment was free.
In the past, helicopter evacuations were extremely rare on Mount Kilimanjaro because there was no locally-based rescue team and a helicopter sent from Nairobi takes over two hours to reach any rescue site on Kilimanjaro.
Having locally-based helicopters makes evacuation much faster as these rescue helicopters can reach rescue sites on Kilimanjaro within 15 minutes.
To further improve safety, Kilimanjaro SAR also has a medical clinic in the campus of St. Joseph Hospital in Moshi where rescued climbers can be treated by doctors who specialise in altitude sickness.
Travel and Rescue Insurance
When providing their evacuation service, Kilimanjaro SAR works with travel insurance companies across the globe to ensure vital services can be delivered efficiently.
Travel Insurance Policy Requirements
To be sure your insurance would cover you for a helicopter rescue, check your travel insurance policy includes evacuation up to 6,000 meters above sea level and any medical treatment associated with such an evacuation.
Some types of travel insurance aren’t suitable for this type of evacuation because they only cover evacuation after pre-approval. In most cases, that’s not feasible because the pre-approval process requires a consultation with a doctor and it’s unlikely a doctor will be present in the vicinity of an emergency on Mount Kilimanjaro.
In a true emergency evacuation scenario, ND’s emergency protocols closely follow the WFR protocols that we’re trained and certified to action, and an evacuation without a helicopter option has been the norm. Now with a helicopter option, in certain scenarios, it could be a life-saving option. Likewise, in that scenario, it could be potentially fatal to delay the rescue while seeking approval from a travel insurance company. Even if the climber has a non-life-threatening injury, such as a broken arm or leg, they could be subjected to a long, painful and uncertain waiting period while someone at the insurance company assesses and finally approves their evacuation.
A typical Kilimanjaro evacuation insurance claim costs around $6,000 including everything from helicopter evacuation to clinic admission and treatment. So, choosing the right travel insurance is crucial if you want peace of mind.
Before paying for any travel insurance, check the policy will cover you for evacuation up to 6,000 meters above sea level without any approval required or delay. If you’re not sure where to get started try:
More about the Kilimanjaro SAR clinic
The Moshi clinic is the only clinic in Africa that specialises in mountain medicine and treating altitude sickness.
It’s staffed by registered doctors and nurses under supervision from a team of international mountain medicine specialists. Professor Gerald Dubowitz, the medical director, is a UK mountain medicine specialist with over 25 years’ experience in mountain medicine who’s now working with Dr Ansbert Sweetbert from Tanzania.
As well as operating genuine rescue missions, Kilimanjaro SAR also offers ‘hero’ flights so anyone (even if you’re not sick or injured) can fly off the mountain from Barafu Camp or Kibo Hut, the high camps at about 4,600 meters (15,500 foot). That means climbers who’ve summited Mount Kilimanjaro can have a long-awaited shower and cold beer much faster than they would if they walked down.
Hero Flights cost $2,295 and can be paid for by credit card while on the mountain so climbers can decide after reaching the summit if they want to walk down or hop in a helicopter. The flights can take a maximum of two people costing $3,845 for both parties.
Don’t Miss the Walking Experience if Possible!
The rescue helicopter is a fantastic asset for our tours and the option of taking a helicopter off the mountain is amazing for anyone who can’t make it or is in a big hurry.
However, if you’re physically able – as most people are – we thoroughly recommend you take the journey down the mountain on foot and walk all the way to the gate.
Walking allows you to fully appreciate your experience and achievements on Mount Kilimanjaro.
It’s magical and fulfilling to descend rapidly through the five ecological zones that were a slowly changing backdrop during the five to nine days you spent climbing to the roof of Africa.
Book Your Mount Kilimanjaro Experience
To find out more about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or to book your once in a lifetime Tanzania safari or hiking experience contact us now.