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Ballito couple to tackle Kilimanjaro in aid of North Coast orphans

The McDaniels hope to raise R10 for every metre completed in the 62 000m trek up the mountain. All proceeds will go to the Orphan Fund.

Rain Farm Game and Lodge’s owners Chris and Cara McDaniel will conquer Mt Kilimanjaro in aid of The North Coast Courier Orphan Fund this July.

The couple said they were inspired by Ballito residents Father Steven Tully and Dwain Swiegers who completed a 1 000km walk across four southern African countries last year.

The mountain challenge is also a pilgrimage for them, symbolic of what they had to overcome as business owners during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Self-funding the R120 000 expedition, the McDaniels said they wanted to use the challenge to help children in need.

The McDaniels hope to raise R10 for every metre completed in the 62 000m trek up the mountain. All proceeds will go to the Orphan Fund.

They began training for the journey in January.

Chris said he would be relying on hiking experience he gained while he lived in China for six years, while Cara has a history of trail and marathon running.

“The first two days are expected to be reasonably easy, but after that we could face snow and gale force winds,” said Chris.

Cara said they needed to plan carefully for the summit as they would only be allowed to carry up about 12kg in supplies.

They will be joined by nine other hikers, including Father Tully and Swiegers.

Packing and planning is made all the more difficult owing to the constantly changing elements when summiting.

The duo will take on the ‘Coca-Cola’ Route over six days.

Also known as the Marangu Route, the trip requires one to be in prime physical condition.

The route is the oldest and shortest one up the mountain, but that also means hikers have less time to acclimatise to conditions.

“Couple this with difficult sleeping conditions, one really needs to have a strong mindset to be able to take on a challenge like this,” Cara said.

Sleeping bags need to cope with temperatures as low as -10°C, with temperatures falling as low as -20°C at the summit.

Sustenance over the six days is made up of mostly popcorn, dried eggs and water, but fortunately each hiker is assigned three porters, as required under Tanzanian law, who will undertake the journey with them.

“In the event of an emergency, these are the people who will carry you down the mountain,” said Chris.

To donate to the cause via Zapper, scan the QR code accompanying this article or visit: https://zapper.com/url/uotElY4Xml

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