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January 22, 2013

A Kilimanjaro Bike Adventure

By Ingrid Skjong | Travel


Courtesy of Werner Public Relations, Inc.

Most wilderness adventures follow a leave-nothing-behind philosophy. But in the case of WorldServe, a mountain-bike trip down Mount Kilimanjaro led by Trek Travel, making a mark is the ultimate goal. Led by Doug Pitt, goodwill ambassador to Tanzania (and, yes, Brad Pitt’s brother), the venture will donate 90 percent of trip fees to water projects.

“[You will] have your own sponsored water well that will provide a lifetime of water to thousands, saving lives, reducing suffering and giving people a future,” says Pitt, who aims to provide clean water to 150,000 Tanzanians.

Twenty participants will climb the mountain before embarking on a two-day ride down; the trip marks the first time that bikes have been allowed on the loftiest peak in Africa. Along the way an initiative called Clean Up of Kilimanjaro will enlist the help of 100 porters to pick up trash. The fundraising donation levels vary: a hike-only option, including a gear package and one bore-hole well ($25,000); a package encompassing one solar-powered pump project, a Trek bike and gear ($55,000); and the sponsorship of two solar-powered pumps, plus bike and gear ($85,000). (One bore-hole well, for instance, will give 1,200 Maasai a generation of drinkable water.)

Needless to say, going in unprepared is not an option. “Kili is not a technical climb but arduous at 19,340 feet,” says Pitt. “Fitness is important and training is essential. The biking is rated intermediate to professional, flowy in parts and extremely tough is spots, but it should be—it’s Mount Kilimanjaro.”

Other highlights include a visit to a Maasai village and a hot-air balloon ride over Serengeti National Park, and the lasting memories are sure to endure for as long as the fresh water flows. February 22 through March 5; from $25,000; 1-866-464-8735; trektravel.com.