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Climb Kilimanjaro for Kids: One Man’s Inspiring Tale

Story by guest blogger James Barnett. Photos Copyright © James Barnett.

TANZANIA IS A beautiful African country with a diverse tribal population speaking 128 languages. Mount Kilimanjaro towers above the opulent safari kingdom as the world’s largest free-standing mountain.

One summer ago I embarked on my journey to the Roof of Africa, privileged to absorb the beauty of Africa’s incredible scenery, wildlife and fascinating culture of welcoming people.

The journey began after a year of energetic fundraising for Childreach International Charity, reaching a personal milestone of £2,500 and a team achievement of £75,000. This allowed us to take on the phenomenal challenge of “Climb Kilimanjaro for Kids”: a quest to climb the snow-capped summit in five days, while contributing first-hand to the development of humanitarian projects in some of Africa’s most deprived regions.

Upon touching down in Tanzania it was clear there was little Western influence upon the country’s infrastructure or culture. The main roads were rock-strewn, the lunch cuisine was goat, and the T-shirts of the world’s sporting elite were not seen on market stalls in even the populated city areas.

We made our away across Tanzania to visit a school receiving the benefits of textbooks and water supplies from Childreach’s investment projects in the region. Teaching English was a highly rewarding engagement with the children, and I particularly enjoyed playing the Tanzanian youngsters at a game of football on their school’s savannah park.

James Barnett with Tanzanian schoolkids

Me and the kids

Climb Kilimanjaro for Kids group at a Tanzanian school

Our team with the kids

The day passed amid stifling African heat, and the following morning we began our ascent up Mount Kilimanjaro. The grueling climb required team bonding and enormous physical perseverance for the daily 10-hour stints. Watery soup and a vague slumber in the high-altitude rocky outcrops offered our only respite.

Entrance gate to the Mount Kilimanjaro climb

Entrance gate to the Mount Kilimanjaro climb

Trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro


The local porters and guides could not have offered more support for our team. The journey’s physical demands increased with each passing day, and signs of altitude sickness ebbed into the team morale and steely determination. Despite the hardships, the breath-taking views fed our souls.

Yoga on Mount Kilimanjaro

Yoga at high altitude

The opportunity to immerse one’s mind in the freedom of nature’s untouched beauty was an incredible feeling.

Barranco Wall grimaced at us with its vertical jagged slope as only our true traveler spirit pushed us forward. After this milestone was conquered we indulged in a spot of yoga to combat the effects of the altitude. This surreal yoga experience also fostered a deeper spiritual connection to the mountain.

Barranco Wall

Barranco Wall

On our fourth day of climbing we broke through the fog into the skies above the Roof of Africa, basking under the heavenly clouds and vibrant skies that felt a world away from the beginning of our journey. No words can truly describe the mysticism of our seclusion in the splendour of Mount Kilimanjaro’s peaks, untainted by civilization.

James Barnett on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

James conquers the mountain

James Barnett on Mount Kili

Sitting on the Roof of Africa

A midnight ascent to the recorded highest mountain point was our final challenge before a rapid descent to the jungle at the base of the mountain. Colobus monkeys—native only to this jungle in the entire world—were a welcome surprise and a fittingly down-to-earth end to the trekking excitement.



Climb Kilimanjaro for Kids

James Barnett

James Barnett


James Barnett is a writer on behalf of eShores Travel documenting personal travel experiences around the world. “I currently live in the City of Leeds although my heart comes from rural fields of Norfolk, where I grew up jumping over hay bales and relishing the country life.” James has traveled through Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam) and has also done all the major cities of Europe. Hobbies include literature, travel, media, economics and social politics.

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  1. I really liked reading about your experiences, James. What an experience teaching English in Africa must be. The photos are great; and the colobus monkeys do seem like very down-to-earth ending for the trekking.

  2. Hello James!
    It’s so nice to meet you through your great article here at MT’s.
    How awesome of you and your group to help these children. It also must have been very rewarding, and so uplifting to experience the “roof of Africa”. I have to admit I would never have made it to the top. I get tired out climbing the small mountain behind my house.
    Your pictures are beautiful, I especially like the one where you are “high five-ing” that cute little boy!
    Thank you so much for sharing, and I hope to read more of your interesting articles in the future!

  3. Congratulations on your summit!

    Mine was one year ago and seeing your pictures brings back memories. I wrote about my journey – there was so much surrounding it and tremendous lessons learned. I hope you’ll have a chance to read it and let me know what you think. It’s the true story about one woman’s solo journey to the roof of Africa and beyond.

    You can read about it here:

    All the best,


  4. Judith Shaw says:

    Wonderful expedition to the top of the world. From the title, I thought you were taking a group of kids up to the summit. As it was, your trip was pretty challenging. Congratulations.

    I was in Botswana a couple of years ago photographing wildlife, and I really agree: Africa and Africans are world treasures.

    Great photo of the mountain.

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