Kilimanjaro News January-March 2013

Ten-year-old girl reaches Gilman’s Point!

Posted March 20, 2013

I’ve just received a lovely email from a Katrina Yoder who has written in to ask if her daughter, Noa, has set a record by climbing to the Crater rim at the tender age of just ten years and 44 days.

Unfortunately, Noa just misses out on the record; according to a news bulletin we posted back in 2009, Silipa Swai of Moshi, Tanzania was just a few days younger when she summited 20 August of that year at ten years, and thirty-two days. Thus Silipa, the daughter of trekking agency Ahsante Tours’ owner Cuthbert Swai, remains, to the best of our knowledge, the record holder – and she also reached the actual summit of Uhuru Peak (rather than just the crater rim).

Nevertheless, just because Noa hasn’t set a record shouldn’t detract from the scale of her achievement. Furthermore, Noa actually continues something of a family tradition, being the fourth generation of her family to climb Kili – a tradition started by her great-grandfatherin the 1940s. As her muym Katrina goes on to say, “When her grandfather climbed it was the tradition to be rewarded with a garland of flowers afterward. He still has his and gifted it to Noa after her climb.”

Congratulations Noa – that’s some effort!

Youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro – has the record been beaten?

Posted March 11, 2013

There have been a few reports over the weekend of a successful climb to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain by a seven-year-old Indian boy. The child, who has been named as Aaryan Balaji, a Grade 2 student of Mahatma Gandhi International School in Port Blair, is the son of an Indian Naval Officer who is also a bit of an adventurer, having been on expeditions to Everest and both of the poles. On this occasion, however, Aaryan was accompanied by his mother, Mrs Riki Balaji, who said she wants other mothers worldwide to take their children out for constructive outdoor adventures instead of letting them play video games and television.

The pair’s climb on the Lemosho Route began on 25 Feb, and they took with them an Indian flag to unfurl at the summit. Nor is this Aaryan’s only acheivement. According to newspaper reports, the boy already holds the record as the youngest to go to a depth of 80 metres while sea diving, and the youngest to reach the summit of Mount Kalapattar (5554m) in May last year.

The only question that remains is: is he actually the youngest to make it to Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru Peak, for another seven-year-old, Keats Boyd, already holds the record which he set in 2008. We will need to look at their birth certificates before crowning one of them as the rightful holder of the record.

But until then, it just remains for us to congratulate Aaryan Balaji for his incredible acheivement – great work Aaryan!

Wings of Kilimanaro – an Update!

Posted February 27 2013

Last month we told you about a planned attempt by paragliders to ascend Kilimanjaro en masse – then fly down to the ground. The expedition was notable not only because this is the first time in many years that the park authorities, KINAPA, have allowed such ‘adventure sports’ on their slopes, but also because of the sheer number of people who were going to be part of the expedition.

In the end the record attempt enjoyed mixed success. On the negative side, due to strong winds only one member of the party managed to take off from the summit as planned – Sano Babu Sunawar, who was voted Adventurer of the Year by National Geographic in 2012. But though the others had to take the usual pedestrian route back down the slopes, the team had (perhaps unwittingly) probably set a new record due to the fact that all 94 of them who started out on the trek up Kilimanjaro actually made it to the summit – a feat which we believe has never been equalled before. They also have managed to raise an eye-wateringly huge US$500,000 for charity.

As Wings of Kilimanjaro’s Australian organiser Adrian McRae stated, “It was not about setting records. It was about raising money for charity and giving some of the most accomplished adventurers in the world, one of the biggest and coolest adventures they will ever have.”

We do of course offer our hearty congratulations on an incredible attempt and do hope that they aren’t put off by the slightly disappointing end to their expedition and will be back on the slopes of Africa’s highest mountain before too long.

You can keep up to date with the group’s fundraising on their facebook page at

Climb for Village Education Project Kilimanjaro and meet Kaddy-Lee!

On 13 September 2013 a group of hardy individuals will leave London with only one thought on their mind: to reach the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. Amongst their number will be all-action former weather-girl Kaddy-Lee Preston – a name that’s unfamiliar, perhaps, to most of our readers, but for those who live in the south-east of England it’s a name that will be instantly recognisable for her bubbly personailty, sunny demeanour and hair of pure spun gold.

Kaddy and chums will be climbing in aid Village Education Project Kilimanjaro, based in Marangu and Sussex, which aims to mprove education in primary and pre-primary schools in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania by providing in-service training, providing books and materials and liaising with government officials at all levels. VEPK also run an educational computer/community centre with internet access, a vocational training school and a village crafts shop.

You, too, can join in the fun by signing up to the trek. Visit for more details.

Mass paraglide attempt off the Roof of Africa for charity

Posted 17 January 2013

On January 27, 2013, a group of adventurers will gather at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain with three goals in mind. The first is the goal that just about everybody who gathers on the mountain has: to reach the summit. The second, however, is rather less common, for if and when they reach Uhuru Peak the plan is to then paraglide off it back to more normal altitudes. Oh, and the third goal? Thata is to raise the grand sum of US$1 million for charity in doing so.

The event is being organised by a small bunch of Australians called Wings of Kilimanjaro who have spent much of the past two years persuading the Tanzanian authorities to lift their ban on ‘adventure sports’ on Kili for this one-off attempt. Luckily, the new boss at KINAPA, Mr Lufungolu, is looking at ways of ‘exploiting’ Kilimanjaro and is looking at these more off-beat activities as a way of doing just this.

In addition to the 100+ ‘adventurers’ there will also be a back-up crew of over 1000 porters, guides, cooks etc to help them achieve the summit in the first place.

To read more about team and their lofty ambitions, please visit

Ten-year-old becomes youngest Brit to climb Kilimanjaro

Posted January 10 2013

A ten-year-old schoolboy from Jersey has become the youngest Brit to reach the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. Oisin McDevitt, together with his father Fergus, managed to reach the summit in just four days – quite remarkable, given that not only do most people take 5-7 days to summit (if they summit at all, of course) but also because the weather last month was appalling and led to the deaths of at least one climber and a couple of porters.

We do, of course, extend our warmest congratulations to Oisin – nice one son!

Irish ‘hero’ killed by lightning strike on Kilimanjaro

Posted January 4 2013

It has been reported that an Irish climber and expedition leader, Ian McKeever, has been killed in a lightning strike at Lava Tower, to the west of the Kibo summit. Mr McKeevor was leading a party of 20, mostly from his native Ireland, on a trek up Kilimanjaro when disaster struck, after days of unusually torrential weather. Others in the party suffered minor injuries from the lightning strike.

Ian McKeever was something of a local celebrity in Ireland, having once held the record for the fastest conquest of the so-called seven summits – the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. He had also helped his godson, Sean McSharry, become the youngest person in Europe to climb Kili back in 2008 when Sean was aged just ten.

You can read more about the tragedy at the following address:

Dog seen at the summit of Kilimanjaro

Posted January 4 2013

Sorry for the long absence – been running around, up and down Kilimanjaro for the past couple of months preparing for the next edition of the guidebook. In the meantime, here’s a story that you may have missed. Apparently, a dog has been living atop Kilimanjaro. Nobody knows what the dog was doing there – or what it ate – but tourists were advised to give it a wide berth, with the authorities believing that it could well be rabid.

You can read more about the pooch at the peak by following this link:

Kilimanjaro news April-June 2013 >>