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On top of the World with Born Free!

May 9, 2023

Newton Simiya from Born Free Kenya joined us on our Mt Kenya trek with Olympian Sally Gunnel. Here is an excerpt from his blog about his travels:

mount kenya

Summit Day: We were all up at 2am, dressed in summit gear and ready to tackle the remaining 3km climb to Point Lenana, then 3km back down to Mackinder Camp for our breakfast. The climb started on frozen scree and continued on a rocky track with some minor scrambling.

We courageously manoeuvred our way up the steep snow-covered slopes in the dark for what seemed like an eternity. The cheery moods and enthusiastic spirits from team members seemed to have faded and all one could long for was to get to the peak. This is when the realization dawned on us that ‘no one conquers the mountain’ began to earnestly sink.

Mt Kenya 2022 13 c Sally Gunnell 500 wide jpg
(c) Sally Gunnell


The beautiful snow-covered slopes did not serve to distract us from the psychological and physical tribulations of climbing a mountain, the only energy left was for putting one foot in front of another, one step at a time.

Finally, the Born Free team made it to Point Lenana at around 7.30 am, the scenes we met were those of a spectacular view and utter awesomeness. Mount Kenya towers above puffy white clouds, in its magnificence. We spent a few more minutes enjoying the view and taking photos, whilst mentally calculating how we would manage the steep descent to Mackinder camp. We all held our heads up high after accomplishing what seemed like mission impossible at first.

Mt Kenya 2022 10 c Katharine Cordner 500 wide jpg
(c) Katherine Cordner


Soon after, we began descending the ridge of Lenana using the Naro Moru route. We trekked to the Austrian hut just below the summit. The ridge was quite narrow in sections, and we took our time with utmost carefulness this being a high-risk descent. From the Austrian hut, we continued down to Mackinder’s camp (4160m) for breakfast and had a chance to relax before continuing our descent down to the Teleki Valley via the infamous ‘vertical bog’ to reach Met Station banda where we stayed in for the night…

Newton 270 x 270
(c) Newton Simiya

As they say, “The man who goes down Mount Kenya is not the one who went up it.” Truly, the mountain changes you, and beats out your arrogance and your pride. You really look at yourself in ways you have not done before. It is a spiritual place. It will chew you up, punish you but you will love the mountain for it. It was an experience I shall never forget.




Note from Different Travel:

Thank you to Newton and the team at Born Free for allowing us to share this post. You can read the full blog here.

Born Free’s Climb for Conservation Challenge is just one of the many charity challenges that we organise. If you would like to talk to us about organising a bespoke trip for your organisation or charity, please contact us to discuss the options available.

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