Yesterday, millions of people around the world tuned in to watch nine celebrities take on the ultimate challenge for Red Nose Day. To raise funds for Comic Relief, the famous faces attempted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in North Africa.
The determined group of climbers consisted of Jade Thirwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock from Little Mix, Love Island winner Dani Dyer, TV presenter Dan Walker, Alexander Armstrong of Pointless, TV star Anita Rani, Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas, ex-MP Ed Balls and NFL player Osi Umenyiora.
Their endeavour marked the ten-year anniversary of the first Kilimanjaro climb for Comic Relief, and was aired in the programme, Kiliminjaro: The Bigger Red Nose Climb.
Over the years, climbing Kilimanjaro has become one of the most popular fundraising challenges in the world, with thousands of people each year heading out to Tanzania to raise money for various charities by reaching the Roof of Africa. Actually, over 40,000 people per year attempt to climb Kili!
But why is climbing Kilimanjaro such a popular choice for charity fundraising? We thought we’d explore what makes climbing Kili so special – and impressive – that it prompts people to donate millions to charitable causes each year.
It’s a trekking peak
When people think of mountain climbing, they will usually picture one of two things: either a mountaineer kitted out with ice axes scaling some vertical ice face, or someone trekking with poles up a somewhat less sever mountainside. Kilimanjaro is the latter, but its height of 5,895 metres makes it one of the highest trekking peaks in the world.
At this altitude, reaching its summit is still an incredibly impressive feat. This is therefore the perfect mountain to climb for people who want a real physical and mental challenge – one worth donating for – but who perhaps don’t have any technical mountaineering skills.
Climbing Kilimanjaro, you don’t need to know how to walk in crampons or perform an ice axe arrest. You just have to be able to hike up steep faces, at a high altitude, for several hours a day. Well, we say “just”…
It’s won’t cost you the Earth
Ok, so climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is going to cost you more than a day trip to Snowden, but it’s still very affordable for what is one of the highest mountains in the world. You don’t have to worry about the extortionate permit costs of Everest, or the expense of highly specialised gear, plus Tanzania, the country Kili is located in, is very affordable to travel in.
Plus, when you climb Mount Kilimanjaro with The Bucket List Company, your flights, accommodation and food are included, so you don’t have to worry about any unexpected expense. You can even spread the cost over monthly payments. This makes Kili a very affordable option for those who want to achieve big, bucket list challenges on an achievable budget.
It’s easily accessible
Kilimanjaro is unique in that it’s a mountain in a remote part of the world that is actually very easy to reach. This is because of the development of Kilimanjaro International Airport. Today, you can fly from more or less anywhere in the world straight to the town nearest Kili, take a jeep to Kilimanjaro National Park and you’re away! This is a far cry from mountain climbing in many parts of the world, which often requires days of hiking just to reach base camp.
It doesn’t take too long
So you want to climb a mountain that really pushes you. You don’t want it to be over in a few hours – it has to be difficult, test your limits, and be an experience in of itself. But you don’t have unlimited time to wait days for weather windows or spend weeks reaching base.
If this sounds like you, then Kilimanjaro is the ideal candidate. Kilimanjaro typically takes 6-8 days to climb, including acclimatisation. This makes it well-suited to those who want a real expedition experience, but only have their allotted annual leave or holiday to spend trekking. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro also gives you an immersive experience, camping out each day and living on the mountain for a week.
Climbing Kili, you don’t need to worry about where you’re going to sleep at the end of each day, or carrying all of your kit on your back. Along the main routes such as the Marangu route, there are regular sleeping huts stations, with comfortable camps and great food.
You will also be trekking with porters who carry the tents and any other facilities you will need, making the trek easier on you – and your back! At Kili, the area around basecamp is also well-equipped, with several good hotels, restaurants, gear shops and transport systems.
It’s one of the Seven Summits
If you were ever looking for an achievement to shout about, it’s climbing to the top of one of the Seven Summits. As the highest mountain in the continent of Africa, climbing Kilimanjaro qualifies in this elite mountaineering category that only a select few people can claim to have achieved.
Its status as one of the Seven Summits makes the gravity of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro easy to explain. This, of course, helps fundraisers in persuading their loved ones to donate to their particular cause, but whatever the reason for attempting to climb Kilimanjaro, its Seven Summit status shows just how impressive this feat is.
And after all, who wouldn’t want to say they’ve stood at the highest point in Africa?
It’s a real experience
Sometimes, climbing a mountain is simply a case of getting to the top and back down again – simple as that. Kilimanjaro, however, is an all-round experience, and this makes it very attractive to climbers – charity-driven or not. When you climb Mount Kilimanjaro, you’re not just experiencing the mountain itself, you’re also seeing Tanzania’s incredible wildlife, the fascinating and contrasting landscapes of the mountain as you gain altitude, the villages by basecamp and so much more.
For example, when you climb Mount Kilimanjaro with The Bucket List Company, we often organise cultural experiences to enrich your trip, such as traditional performances by Maasai people and local fire shows. These cultural interactions really add something special to your Kili experience – it’s not just about a physical achievement, it’s about connecting with the people, the land and with yourself.
It supports the local community
Did you know that tourism from people climbing Mount Kilimanjaro contributes $20 million per year to the local economy? Climbing Kilimanjaro helps provide jobs for mountain guides, porters, hut staff, cooks, hotel employees, trekking agencies, shops, restaurant owners and so much more.
This is so important for the local area, in a country where many people struggle with poverty. Through sustainable tourism, Tanzania can benefit hugely from the visitors that Kilimanjaro draws in. Particularly for the charity-minded, this is a big tick when it comes to choosing a challenge to attempt.
One of the main things that gets our Bucketlisters through the challenging moments of the Kilimanjaro trek is the beauty of the natural landscape. Mount Kilimanjaro – and the surrounding National Park – is a truly spectacular part of the world. Here you have a majestic, snow-topped mountain right on the equator, rising out of the savannah. It seems like it should be impossible – but it is not.
On Kilimanjaro, you will experience everything from plains to jungle, alpine desert to sub-zero, snowy summits. It’s a phenomenally diverse environment, with some fascinating life forms.
Also, unlike some other popular mountains, the trail is very well-kept and clean. This helps keep Kilimanjaro feeling like the wilderness it should. Whenever you’re feeling a little tired, just stop to enjoy the view and all the hard work will feel worth it.
It’s a life-changing experience
Whether you’re thinking of raising money for charity or not, the aim in taking on that big bucket list challenge is always going to be that you will learn something from it and grow as a person. This is certainly the case with climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.
Climbing Kili is a truly transformative experience. You will test your limits, both physical and mental. You will share the testing times and the rewards with others, and learn invaluable new skills – be it how to adjust to altitude or simply the most effective way to use nature’s toilet facilities. But overall, you will discover an inner strength that could change your whole perspective on life.
As Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock said after their Comic Relief summit, “Climbing Kilimanjaro was the hardest most gruelling thing I’ve ever put my body through but I have to say I have learnt that I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was.”
If you’ve been thinking about taking on Kili for yourself, give us a call today on 07169 309 007. Whether it’s for charity or just for your own bucket list, Kilimanjaro is the ultimate challenge, and it’s calling your name…