We’ve all heard stories of infamous and death-defying ascents on well-known peaks such as Nepal’s Mount Everest. Yet, as these stories prove, Africa’s highest mountains have played host to some of its own courageous (and outrageous!) journeys.
The amputee who bear crawled Africa’s highest mountain
While he didn’t “defy death”, there are few more inspiring mountaineering tales than that of Kyle Maynard, a 27-year-old American quadruple amputee who scaled Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 2012 without prosthetics.
Uganda is rich in wildlife, mountains, forests, verdant national parks and natural resources. But this wealth is under threat from rapidly growing populations, development and businesses vying for the country’s resources. David Dulli, country director for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Uganda, is at the helm of it all. Rebekah Funk spoke to him about the issues facing Uganda, and what role tourism has to play in conservation efforts.
REBEKAH FUNK: What are some of your biggest concerns about wildlife conservation in Africa?
DAVID DULLI: I am most concerned when I see human encroachment in remote areas; when I see some of the weak policies to counteract those activities; when I see weak institutions. That worries me a lot, particularly when I put it in context with an increasing population — 3.5% in the Albertine Rift and a country average of 3%, which is really high.
Kenyan Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has conquered mighty Mt. Kenya – Africa’s second highest mountain – to showcase the diverse adventure- and eco-tourism opportunities Kenya has to offer.
“Mt. Kenya has long been underutilised and under-promoted,” said CS Balala of his hope to change this status quo by drawing global attention to this natural tourism asset via the 7 Summits Africa Challenge, presented by Great Migration Camps.
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.
Gorillas are the biggest primates in the world and although they share over 95% of their DNA with Homo Sapiens they’re pretty different from us in terms of disposition. If humans are the small, brash bullies of the primate world then gorillas are the big, chilled, sensitive souls; content to live and let live…as long as they are not disturbed.
If you’re as fascinated by these gentle giants as we are, then here are some facts about gorillas you may have missed.
As the leader of the 7 Summits Africa Challenge, Åke Lindstrom is marrying his two greatest passions: high altitude and African tourism development. Starting 4 November, the mountaineer who summits Kilimanjaro up to 10 times a year will lead a mixed-experience team attempting to summit seven African peaks back-to-back in seven weeks, to raise awareness of seven crucial causes.
There’s no shortage of memorable safari escape scattered across East Africa, but only a handful are worthy a place on your bucket-list. From the misty hills of Rwanda to the dramatic plains of the Serengeti, these remarkable destination lodges are not to be missed.
1. Primate Lodge Kibale, Uganda
Hidden away in the lush rainforest of the Kibale Rainforest National Park, Primate Lodge Kibale is the ultimate destination for viewing chimpanzees in the wild. That said, the Park is also home to 13 different species of primates!
The lodge boasts nine spacious luxury cottages with wonderful forest views, but for a close-up encounter book a night in the secluded Sky Tree House set deep in the rainforest!
Memorable for: its unique wildlife encounters and did we mention the tree house?
At least 8 rangers have been killed in the Virunga National Park this year alone, bringing the total number of rangers dying to save the park’s animals to more than 158 in the past decade (the exact number is unknown, as some rangers are reported missing and never found). The park is home to some of the last remaining 900 wild mountain gorillas in the world. These brave men and women fight off poachers and anti-government militia attacks in the under-resourced park on an almost daily basis. It’s a mammoth and often-deadly task, and they need more support.
How you can help:
Share our stories as we climb for the unsung heroes. Follow the #7SummitsAfrica Challenge, presented by Great Migration Camps: www.7summitsafrica.com
SupportThe Fallen Rangers Fund
The Fallen Rangers Fund was launched to provide a financial safety net for widows and children of Virunga rangers killed in the line of duty. A ranger’s greatest fear is not losing his/her life, but the impact their death will have on family members left behind. Until the creation of the Fallen Rangers Fund, widows received little to no financial support and their families invariably became severely impoverished and destitute. These unsung heroes deserve more after giving their lives to protect the Virunga National Park.