Carly Rowena’s Kilimanjaro Challenge

Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief 2019

It’s been a decade since the first Red Nose Day Kilimanjaro Climb. This year, nine new celebrities returned to Kilimanjaro to take on the challenge – and we were glued to our screens…

The Comic Relief Return to Kilimanjaro trek was a tough, inspirational piece of television history – resulting in an emotional summit with the whole team of nine celebrities, all of whom managed to make it to the top, a decade after the first time round.

If ever there was testament to the wide appeal of Kilimanjaro, the line up for this years’ Comic Relief Kilimanjaro team was it. Strictly Come Dancing Head Judge Shirley Ballas, former MP Ed Balls, broadcaster Anita Rani, Love Island’s Dani Dyer, BBC Breakfasts’ Dan Walker, Pointless host Alexander Armstrong, NFL star Osi Umenyiora and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock all took on the challenge to raise money for Comic Relief in 2019.

 Comic Relief Instagram Post

It was this diverse group of sportspeople, MPs, reality TV stars, presenters and journalists and musicians who came together for the Return to Kili, all drawn by the lure of this magnetic mountain. The moments when they supported each other - with tenderness, with distracting laughter, with joy and unexpected friendships - is what climbing Kilimanjaro is all about, and it resonated with those of us who have experienced this unique mountain.

What Comic Relief shows us is the power Kilimanjaro has to bring people together, the power of that comradery to pull you through the tough days. Somehow, Kilimanjaro has the power to bring out the best in us.

For many the most moving part of the documentary was Shirley Ballas, who dedicated her climb to the memory of her brother, who lost his life to suicide. Mental illness is increasingly a topic that people feel able to talk about and seeing Shirley’s honesty and struggle as she ascended the mountain was a powerful story that resonated with many viewers.

“I think my brother would be proud of me,” she said. “So, I’ll do this for him. If it means sleeping in a tent and being disorganised, I’ll do it. I’ll do my very best for sure.”

Sunrise on Kilimanjaro

Raising awareness of mental health issues, especially amongst men (who are three times more likely to lose their lives to suicide than women in the UK), Shirley was just one of the triumphant team who all successfully summitted the highest mountain in Africa at 5,895m above sea level.

“We couldn’t have done it without the amazing team around us,” said Danni Dyer on Instagram. And she’s right – without the dedicated work of porters, leaders and guides on the mountain very few would be able to make it to the summit.

Exodus Porters on Kilimanjaro

Want to climb Kilimanjaro?

Whether you’re raising money and awareness for a good cause, or just looking for a physical and mental challenge, Kilimanjaro is a phenomenal mountain to climb. If you want to climb with expert guides and porters who have high staff welfare standards and are paid fairly for what they do, then see our options below. We offer two routes, chosen for being quieter and more scenic, and on Lemosho route we’re proud to boast a 96% success rate for summit day.

Conquer Kilimanjaro with the experts