Mt. Kilimanjaro Charity Climb 2004

Short Story - Long Summary - Group Photos - KVEP Charity - Participants - MOVIES - Next 2005 info


  Father and Son  team successfully!

"Me and my Dad" [link]

  Brian Whittaker, a Boeing 747-400 pilot, climbed 19,330 ft. Mt. Kilimanjaro with his retired father, John, in March 2004. It was all to support KVEP [more], a charity benefiting local Tanzanian villages on the south-east flanks of Africa's tallest mountain [map]. The Kilimanjaro Village Education Project (KVEP) is building a "Nursery" from the monies raised during this single trek to the summit. Altogether a team of 8 climbers contributed in excess of their single minimum contribution of £2200 GBP each. Brian raised money by receiving donations for a limited-production prototype CD containing interesting aviation scenes and images. He also participated in a 40 pound weight loss pledge [weight].

My collections have concluded. Thank you for your donations.


Kilimanjaro Victory!

Thanks for your support.



Our "Short" Story

[ Long Story ]

We did it! Our group raised enough money to build the Nursery and we triumphantly climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Two amazing objectives, about a year in the planning, completed all thanks to your help and support. Thank you.

The Nursery project will be successful thanks to the entire group's efforts of raising a total of £18,000 GBP (just above our target). In fact, the construction has already commenced! Our group had a chance to stand on the siteís foundation rapidly getting underway. The structure will be built with a sturdy enough foundation and primary walls to allow for future expansion up to three stories, as local inheritance laws mean there is actually a shortage of land that can be purchased. The Kilimanjaro Village Education Project helps the local employment situation by using manual labour, hence spreading the benefits throughout the community. Fortunately I had a chance as well to dig out a few shovels of soil, an opportunity I took in principle on behalf of all my contributors. We met many young happy school children and are convinced that the community will positively benefit from this additional KVEP initiative. (More)

From the beginning we could see Mount Kilimanjaro standing proud at 19,330 feet (5895m) as Africaís highest mountain and our new challenge. Itís difficult to judge the true size of a mountain that defies common perspective, but soon we would fully appreciate its enormity. The distant specks of snow on the narrowing mountain summit visibly so far away, would soon become gigantic glaciers spread across a colossal plateau soaring almost 4 miles into the sky. Remember, that the base of this mountain is larger than the circumference of the M25 Motorway (outer ring road) circling beyond all of greater London, England.

Impatiens Kilimajari

Soon our six-day trek would have us to the top and back, the group starting as metropolitan strangers and finishing as mountaineering comrades. We were slowly and willingly converted from our artificial, pampered ways by each night of new, tiring discomforts . The great outdoors allowed things to become simple and the extraneous responsibilities of urban life vanished. We ate, we slept, and we enjoyed each otherís conversation while walking closer to our goal. We also were spoiled on this trip, having a total of 25 porters and guides that made sure our trek was pleasurable. Words cannot express the joy of ending a dayís walk and finding your tent already up, a warm cup of tea in your hand, and the smell of dinner in the air. Guerba donated us a great trip! (more Guerba).

All eight of us made it up to Kibo Hut (15418 feet, 4703m), only 341 feet shorter than the elevation of Europeís highest peak, Mt Blanc. This is extremely high! Of the seven that made it to the crater rim at Gillmanís Point, already well above both the Mt. Kenya summit and the Everest Base Camp height, four (including me) went on to the actual Kilimanjaro summit, Uhuru Peak. As a personal memento for Jim's gallant effort so close to Kilimanjaro's top, we all held a card showing his name (photo above left). The climb will no doubt go down as one of our greatest accomplishments ever, and well worth the effort.

My Father and I had a wonderful time together. Please see our photos and text below (below). He started his trip from Victoria, BC, Canada and was lucky enough to be able to spend some additional time with my family in England.  He has climbed many high peaks in the Rocky Mountains as recently as last year, but had realistically all but given up on the idea of climbing Kilimanjaro. I can only imagine that itís everybodyís desire to climb this mountain, as it had always been a (now achieved) childhood dream of mine as well.

Kniphofia (Thomsoni)


Brian Whittaker, Participant,   Charity Website and CD creator.


>> Me and my Dad <<

I had a really really great trip with my Dad! From flying him (as pilot) over to England from Canada in the jumbo, to standing on the top of the highest peak in Africa, to returning him safely to Mom in Victoria (as passengers) in a floatplane, this trip was one to remember. We both felt at home in this foreign land, with our feet on the cool mountainous terrain, while trekking our way up the slopes. We also both shared an impending excitement of climbing our highest mountain, with thoughts filled with exploration and adventure. My Dad just loves climbing mountains. At age 65, it is the one place everyone knows he is happiest! I managed to capture one of his innocent adventurous grins on film (below). This is where my Dad becomes as happy as a schoolboy, a trait that he's managed to pass on to me.

(Dad "like a kid in a candy store")

The realities of family, career, and the 7600 km between us now have meant that we no longer routinely do these activities. With hind sight, I can see that all our many hikes together have actually faded into many years gone past. In fact, I realise that a lot of my fresh memories of hiking larger peaks with Dad are actually now old memories and quite distant, when I was a shorter, smaller, young child or teenager. This might help explain why I felt very happy and comfortable on this climb, as I had all the familiarities of the past, but was no longer the little straggler. My Dad didn't quite make the extra little bit to the very top summit of Kilimanjaro that morning as I did, but he will be forever triumphant that he made the crater rim, the traditional "Top" with the Certificate to prove it. Congratulations Dad. Trip nickname "Babu".



The Kilimanjaro Village Education Project has an KVEP Official Site with lots of information available. Some of their information pages have been erased with a recent website update, which sadly meant that I had to remove some 2002 and 2004 project hotlinks. 

Please see my "Interested?" page [link] above for information on the 2005 Kilimanjaro fundraising event for  Almani Children's Home.

The sponsors, "Guerba, adventure & discovery holidays", also have a commercial website where their numerous adventure holidays are detailed.



  Where is Mt. Kilimanjaro and these Tanzanian villages that KVEP supports? (Maps)


    Mt. Kilimanjaro is just south of the equator in East Africa. Although often associated with Kenya, the summit is actually in Tanzania. Map  
    The Marangu Village area of Tanzania, on the south-east flanks of Mt. Kilimanjaro, is benefiting from the 2004 KVEP project. Map