Every year, more and more people set off to Africa in the hope that that they will stand on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. But climbing Kilimanjaro is not easy and many people fail to make the summit. They fail for a variety of reasons. Altitude sickness is the leading cause. However, there are other reasons such as not being fit, not having the right equipment, illness, and injury.

Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue helicopterNot making the summit due to poor training should not be a reason to fail. There is a lot of information on what to expect on your Kilimanjaro climb. Peak Planet even has a suggested training program.

Despite the information provided, some people still do not prepare adequately. This failure rate has created another problem on the mountain. Many people are now choosing to use a Kilimanjaro helicopter evacuation—which is reserved for emergencies—as a way to come down off the mountain quicker. This is a completely irresponsible way to get off the mountain. The helicopters need to be available for patients requiring emergency evacuations. If the helicopter is unavailable because people are using them like an Uber, then someone could risk getting sicker, or worse, die, while waiting for the rescue helicopter to arrive.

Ivan Braun, chief executive officer of Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (SAR) has recently ordered a second helicopter due to the increase in traffic. “The demand for our services is going up,”  he said. Kilimanjaro SAR is a helicopter-based search and rescue company operating on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kilimanjaro Search and Rescue (SAR)

Kilimanjaro SAR crewSo how does this apply to Peak Planet clients? Peak Planet offers Kilimanjaro SAR Evacuation Insurance free of charge on all of our Kilimanjaro climbs. Simply put, Kilimanjaro SAR will be called if you require an airlift for emergency purposes. They will take you to the appropriate hospital based on the severity of your sickness or injury.

Who is Kilimanjaro SAR?

Kilimanjaro SAR was established in 2016 as the first and only helicopter-based search and rescue company in Tanzania. Committed to saving lives, Kilimanjaro SAR provides the most innovative and effective search and rescue service on Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, and Tanzania’s National Parks and runs the only High-Altitude Medicine Clinic in Africa. Kilimanjaro SAR holds a world-leading response time in civil search and rescue companies of a 5- minute response after receiving a distress call.

In order for our clients to use this service, we do require everyone climbing Kilimanjaro to have travel insurance. Read more about travel insurance here: https://peakplanet.com/need-travel-insurance/


In rare situations, where evacuation on foot or stretcher is insufficient, our guide will contact our staff in Moshi using the Garmin InReach satellite communication device to begin the Kilimanjaro helicopter evacuation procedure immediately.

Our staff will then dispatch a Kilimanjaro SAR helicopter to one of the two landing zones on the mountain. Meanwhile, our guide will bring the injured or sick person to the landing zone. Depending on the severity of the sickness or injury patients can be flown to several locations. For minor issues, they will be flown to a hospital in Moshi or Arusha. For more severe issues they will be flown to a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. If the injury or sickness requires a more advanced team of doctors they will be flown to the hospital in South Africa.

For this reason, it is important that all of our clients pay for travel insurance and fill out their client form including their passport photo page. In order to protect you in cases of emergency, we require these items. To avoid any delays during the evacuation, we preregister all of our clients with Kilimanjaro SAR.


In addition to Kilimanjaro SAR, Peak Planet is also partnered with IFREMMONT, a European-based high altitude medical training organization. IFREMMONT has been training guides in the Alps since 2005. The organization is highly respected in the mountaineering community. They are the best high-altitude medical doctors in the world. Our medical training, evacuation procedures, and safety protocols are based on IFREMMONT’s established guidelines for first aid and mountain medicine.

Our guides learn how to treat specific illnesses that can come from high-altitude conditions. They know how to handle all types of emergencies on the mountain, including rescue and evacuation.

Wilderness First Responder

And finally, our guides are all Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certified. They are basically doctors on the mountain. Our guides have been guiding Kilimanjaro for many years and have seen every possible situation. Their training has made them able to respond swiftly to any emergency.

For these reasons, the odds of you needing a medical airlift while climbing Kilimanjaro with Peak Planet are almost nonexistent. With our highly trained guides and daily health checks, we will know that there is a problem well before you need to be airlifted off the mountain. If however, you do, climb with Peak Planet you will have the peace of mind that you are in good hands.

Although I am a physician (off the mountain), your chief guide is the physician of the mountain. Follow his advice.”

—Dr. Little,
Surgeon In Chief,
McLane Children’s Hospital

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