Climbing Kilimanjaro: an unforgettable experience

What’s it like to climb the world’s highest freestanding mountain for a great cause?

In 2014, Danny Della Vedova embarked on the adventure of a lifetime: he climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise funds for UNICEF's work. In his words, here's what it was like.

The experience of trekking to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro can’t really be put into words.

From having planes pass by at night, to waking up to see the clouds and African savannah below, to the euphoria you experience when you and your team finally make it to the top together - the UNICEF Kilimanjaro Climb was one of the most life changing challenges I’ve ever undertaken.

After a challenging year of training and fundraising to support the incredible work UNICEF does in eastern Africa, the trek was an amazing feat.

So what’s an average day like on the trek?

Since I was walking all day, I always had great quality sleep each night and woke up early each day to watch the sunrise. How often do you get to wake up above the clouds and watch the sun come up over the African savannah?

After enjoying the view, it was time to eat breakfast, pack up camp and head off. What is really amazing is that on the trek, we climbed through five different climatic zones! Some days we trekked through cultivated farmlands and other days through rain forest, alpine meadow and across barren, lunar-like landscapes all the way to the summit.

The experience was completely unreal - especially as someone who grew up in the flattest state in Australia. The weather changed as we went through the different climatic zones, but most days I got away with wearing a t-shirt and long pants. The closer we got to the summit, the more we had to rug up - using layers was the best way to go as I could remove or add another jumper or jacket as the weather changed.

But the best part? My life literally changed when I was on the summit of Kilimanjaro at Uhuru peak. I had never felt more proud of myself.

UNICEF Mount Kilimanjaro Trek for Kids UNICEF Mount Kilimanjaro Trek for Kids
UNICEF Mount Kilimanjaro Trek for Kids

Join us on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure

Don't let this incredible opportunity pass you by - sign up for UNICEF’s 12-day Kilimanjaro Climb for Kids 2017 now!

  • “A truly challenging experience and an eye opener to the power of the mind and the human spirit.” Marc Booth, 2014
  • “It was life-changing.” Paul Pirie, 2014
  • “It made me believe I can do anything.” Christine Burrow, 2014         

While trekking, there were days when I wondered if I could really do this. Could I really climb to the top of the highest freestanding mountain in the world? Whenever I had moments of self-doubt, I would try and shake the feeling by remembering that I’d come this far, and there was no way I was giving up now.

And then when I finally got to the summit? Well, it was a pivotal moment where I was overcome with a sense of achievement. I realised that if you are passionate enough and persistent enough, you really can achieve anything. It definitely altered the rest of my life and how I went about making important decisions from then on.

I experienced so much personal growth from taking on this adventure.

I learnt so much about myself and what my boundaries are. I also learnt how determined I can be when it comes to working towards something I am passionate about. I was really proud of my efforts and knowing how much work I did to be able to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. And knowing that each dollar I raised was going to support women and children in eastern Africa really kept me going every day.

The desire to constantly improve myself through training to climb Kilimanjaro meant that on both an emotional and physical level, I was engaged throughout the whole experience.

Would I do it again? One hundred and ten percent.

Don’t miss your chance to climb Kilimanjaro

Inspired by Danny’s story? You can climb Kilimanjaro while raising vital funds for children through UNICEF’s 2017 Climb for Kids.

By taking part in this incredible adventure, you'll be funding programs that will help provide clean water, education facilities, health support and vaccinations to children who need it the most. Download an information pack and learn more about the trek today.