Dog found at summit of Kilimanjaro

Climbers found a dog at the summit of KilimanjaroFour climbers on Tanzania‘s Mt. Kilimanjaro had a surprise waiting for them when they arrived at the summit of Africa‘s tallest mountain last week. After making the long, and sometimes arduous, trek to the top, they were surprised to find a dog had arrived before them.

Antoine le Galloudec, Kristina Meese, Irina Manoliv and Monique Indino were climbing with a local tour company, when they approached the top of the mountain, known as Uhuru Peak. Galloudec said that he needed to heed the call of nature and stepped off to the side of the trail to take care of business. He was shocked to find the dog lying on a rock no more than a meter away.

The group was careful not to disturb the adventurous pooch, choosing to instead snap a couple of photos using a cell phone. When they later showed those photos to one of their guides, he told them that the same dog had been spotted at one of Kili’s lower camps ten years ago. Why the dog is still on the mountain, and how it has survived so long, remains a mystery.

High winds and cold temperatures are a common occurrence on Kilimanjaro, although it is the thin air that is usually the most difficult condition for people, and animals, to adapt to. If this really is the same dog that was spotted on the mountain a decade ago, he has probably become quite acclimated to life at altitude. Finding food is most likely a bigger challenge, although while I was there a few years back, there were plenty of small rodents, even high up, and I’m guessing the dog could find scraps left behind at some of the camps as well.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the top treks in the world, and while there are no technical requirements for completing the climb, it is physical demanding to say the least. The hike to the summit generally takes about 5-6 days, and the view of the surrounding landscape is spectacular, however. I’d recommend the climb to anyone looking for a challenging adventure, but be sure to cap the experience with a Serengeti safari afterwards.

Flying Kites Adventure Challenges: Give back on your next trip

Flying Kites Adventure Challenges offer great travel and the chance to give backTravelers looking to add a new dimension to their next journey may want to check out the Flying Kites Adventure Challenges, which are a series of great adventure travel opportunities that allow you to visit some fantastic destinations, while raising funds for charity at the same time.

Organized by Flying Kites, a non-profit that is dedicated to improving the standards for childcare in some of the poorest nations in the world, the adventure challenges are an intriguing prospect to say the least. The process starts with travelers selecting their adventure of choice from a list of five options. From there, they pledge to raise a certain amount of funds for Flying Kites, and once they reach that goal, the entire trip is payed for including airfare, guides, accommodations, and so on.

The list of challenges include climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, both of which require a $6000 fundraising goal. There are also two options for surfing in Nicaragua with an 8-day itinerary costing $2300 and a 10-day version requiring a $2500 commitment. Photographers and wildlife enthusiasts will no doubt be intrigued by the Kenya Film Expedition, which comes with a fundraising target of $7500, while runners and endurance athletes will want to compete in the North Face Endurance Challenge this May.

The fundraising goals are certainly reasonable, and attainable, for anyone who sets their mind to it. Most of those trips can obviously be done for less money on your own, but in this case, you not only get a fantastic travel experience, but also the added benefit of giving a little something back in the process. Great adventure travel combined with the chance to improve the lives of children in the places we visit? Sign me up!


Flying Kites – Adventure Challenges – Kilimanjaro/Nicaragua from Flying Kites on Vimeo.

Human-powered circumnavigator climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for Tanzanian school

human powered circumnavigationSeattle-based adventurer Erden Eruç has launched the next phase in his quest to circumnavigate the world under human power, for his charitable organization, Around-n-Over (AnO). The mission of the 501(c)(3) non-profit is to assist poor communities by providing basic educational aid, resources, and facilities as a means of guiding them into self-sufficiency.

Eruç will continue his Six Summits Expedition, to climb the highest summits on the six continents he reaches after approaching each by bicycle, on foot, and by rowing across three oceans. His goal in raising awareness about his journey is to instill in young people the values of selflessness, sacrifice, and perseverance in the tradition of historical adventurers and expeditions. In November, 2010, Eruç became the first person in history to have crossed three oceans (Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific) via rowing. He is also the most experienced ocean rower alive.

The next leg of AnO’s Six Summits Expedition takes Eruç to Tanzania, and the continent’s highest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro, to raise awareness for the Mateves Secondary School in Arusha. For this journey, AnO has collaborated with Mountain Madness, a Seattle adventure travel company who will provide guides and support for the climb. The goal is for AnO and participants to raise money to use toward the building of new classrooms and educational support. Mountain Madness will also donate a portion of the fees they receive from participants toward the school. To donate, click here.

Traveling from Africa’s lowest to highest point

Kyle Henning is riding his bike across Africa from its lowest point to its highestTraveling through Africa is always an adventure, but a British man, fresh from a stint in the Peace Corps, has found a way to add even more excitement to a journey through the wildest continent on Earth.

Last week, Kyle Henning set out on a journey that he has dubbed as Low2High: Africa. His adventure started at Lake Assal, located in central Djibouti, which has the distinction of being the lowest point in Africa at 508 feet below sea level. From there, he got on his bike and has started an 1864 mile long ride that will pass through six countries, eventually ending up in Tanzania at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. If all goes according to plan, Henning will then trek to the Kili’s summit, which is the highest point on the continent at 19,340 feet.

While this sounds like a fantastic way to visit East Africa and make one of the world’s great treks on Kilimanjaro, Henning isn’t doing it purely for the adventure. The young man is also hoping to raise funds for the New Day Children’s Center in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The center provides food, clothing, and education for children that would normally be left to fend for themselves on the city streets. Henning has set a modest goal of raising £2,500 (roughly $4000) and as of this writing he has already managed bring in about £888.

You can follow Kyle’s trekking and cycling adventure on his blog, where he is already sharing stories and photos from the road. While he’s been traveling for more than a week already, he still has a long way to go, and plenty to see and do. Judging from his early entries however, he seems to be having the time of his life meeting locals and seeing the landscapes. Can we ask for anything more out of our travel than that?

[Photo credit: Kyle Henning]

Gap Adventures introduces new trips for 2011

New trips from Gap AdventuresAs the final days of 2010 rapidly slip away, it is time to look to the new year for new opportunities and adventures. With that in mind, travel company Gap Adventures announced a host of outstanding new trips last week, offering up fantastic options for travelers looking for unique experiences.

Gap Adventures is amongst the top adventure travel companies in the world, offering hundreds of affordable trips to far flung places across the globe. These newly announced offerings are no different, giving travelers more than 100 new trips to choose from in 2011.

The new trips have been designed to offer a little something for everyone. For example, the Columbia Coffee Trails adventure is perfect for coffee lovers everywhere. They’ll visit some of South America’s top coffee plantations in search of the perfect brew, while exploring lush landscapes in Columbia, a country that his quickly becoming a top destination for travelers.

If coffee isn’t your thing, perhaps you’ll find an adventure more to your liking in Africa. New offerings to that continent will get travelers off the beaten path and into remote villages, where they’ll experience cultural immersion, spectacular landscapes, and fantastic wildlife. And if climbing Kilimanjaro has always been on your “bucket list,” Gap has made it easier and more affordable than ever with new options for that classic trek.

Gap has new adventures on every continent, ranging from the island of Sumatra to the deserts of Egypt, to the highlands of Guatemala and beyond. So whether you want to go to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, or somewhere in between, you’ll find plenty of fantastic opportunities in Gap’s back catalog or in their new offerings. To check out all the new trips, click here. But be warned, there are so many great trips to choose from, you may have to select more than one.