1. Climb Mount Kenya

Kilimanjaro might be the highest peak in Africa, but it’s also the most popular. If you want to experience serious altitude without the traffic, head for Mount Kenya.

This majestic massif consists of a jagged range of peaks and ridges, and is one of the only spots so close to the equator to experience snowfall. From its safest achievable peak, Point Lenana, you could be able to see Mount Kilimanjaro, which is 320km away.

As with most destinations in Kenya, getting there is half the fun. According to Summitpost.org: “Apart from the superb climbing potential on Mount Kenya, its tarns and alpine meadows; exotic, equatorial, high-altitude vegetation; sunbirds, hyrax and soaring eagles make the walk around the peaks one of the most beautiful expeditions in the East African mountains.”

It’s a six-day trek to get to the summit and back, but you can begin and end your expedition in luxury at the Serena Mountain Lodge, which is situated on the slopes of the mountain. At first you will enjoy its distinctly wooden structure, views over the canopy and underground tunnels to hides, but on your return what you’ll really be looking forward to is a bubble bath.

*Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala joined the 7 Summits Africa team for the Mt. Kenya climb. Watch their live broadcast from the Mt. Kenya summit here.

2. Help save elephants

When 7 Summits Africa’s expedition leader, Carel Verhoef, was a boy, his father was involved in elephant conservation in the Kruger National Park. There was a big problem with elephant numbers in the Kruger at the time. One day, a ranger friend from Tanzania came to visit them and told them that the same problem didn’t happen there because the elephants were free to roam without fences. It was an event that sparked Verhoef’s love affair with East Africa – a region he now calls home.

Today the situation has changed quite significantly, and East Africa’s elephant population is increasingly coming into contact with farmers and their fields. Kenya is a hotspot for these clashes, while poaching remains a threat.

Photo by Casey Allen

 

 Space for Giants protects Africa’s elephants from immediate threats, like poaching, while working to secure their habitats forever in landscapes facing greatly increasing pressures. The non-profit organisation uses innovative, proven interventions to confront acute issues like the ivory trade and long-term challenges such as balancing the needs of wildlife and growing human populations.

Space for Giants seeks solutions rooted in the wisdom of the people who understand wildlife best, because they study it or live alongside it, or both. And they understand long-term success depends on creating economic and social benefits for the people who share their environment with wildlife.

The 7 Summits Africa team climbed Mt. Kenya to raise awareness of the work Space for Giants does. You can help too: support Space for Giants by following their work, sharing it and, if you’re able to, donating here.

3. See the last White Rhino

What would you feel if you saw the last northern white rhino male in the world? Relief? Hope? Despair? Wonder? Shame? Pity? Inspiration? All of the above?

One of the reasons why we travel to places like East Africa is its ability to elicit these powerful and complex emotions in us. We are given a glimpse of ourselves through the splendour before us. We expand our minds and our horizons. We begin to understand.

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino. Photo Twitter/@biolgistdan

There are only three northern white rhino alive in the world today, and they are all at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Visitors can stay at the Porini Rhino Camp for an opportunity to come face-to-face with these creatures at the camp’s Endangered Species Boma, where you will discover exactly what it is like to see a species on the cusp of extinction, and be at the threshold of a global effort to save it from the worst.

4. Get up close to the Great Migration

The migration of East Africa’s wildebeest is one of the great spectacles and experiences in the natural world, and the pinnacle of this epic phenomenon is their crossing of then Mara River in Kenya’s Masai Mara region.

One guaranteed method of witnessing the migration, and getting properly up close during the river crossing, is by booking a mobile tented camp. These are nimble, tented camps that sleep as close to the herd as possible, minimising travel time and maximising your connection to the bush. Great Migration Camps , title sponsor of the 7 Summits Africa expedition, is one of the youngest and most versatile mobile tented experiences in East Africa.

5. Help boost conservation

Kenya experiences regular disruptions of its tourism industry. The latest was in 2015 after its general election. But each time the dust settles, Kenya emerges as a jewel in the global tourism crown.

In October 2017, 105,241 tourists entered Kenya. That’s a 15% increase from last year, and proof that Kenya is still one of the most sought-after destinations for eco-tourists and adventurers in the world.

Kenya tourism
Photo by Sho Hatakeyama

 

Eco-tourism is a vital part of the industry, and essential to conservation efforts in the region. Without tourism revenue, East Africa’s governments and their partners would have a tough time protecting the region’s diverse habitat, wildlife and natural resources. This is why the 7 Summits Africa Challenge’s driving ethos is conservation through tourism. It’s the only way.