Most couples celebrate their first anniversary with a romantic dinner, a bottle of wine, or a weekend at a quiet bed and breakfast. My husband and I don’t exactly fit the ‘most couples’ definition… in 2013 we spent our first anniversary in Tanzania climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as part of a group dedicated to raise funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer Canada.

This is one of those trips that stays with you forever – and despite our making plans to go back again at some time in the near future, a trip that you can never recreate!

First I’d like to say how pleasantly surprised I was by flying with Ethiopian Airlines. When we booked our flights we hesitated to go that route only because no one we knew was remotely familiar with them, but the price was so much lower than every other option so we couldn’t turn it down! The staff were AMAZING, the food was the best in flight meals I have personally ever had, and there was an incredible amount of leg space in the plane even without opting to fly First Class.

Before and after our climb we stayed at the Springlands Hotel in Moshi, which is a property owned by ZARA Tours. Both our accommodations and our climb were booked through ZARA, and we would recommend them to anyone interested in going without hesitation!

Our group came together from across Canada, all united in the cause. Among the group were 5 Ovarian Cancer survivors along with family members and friends of those who have been affected. This unifying cause made the trip SO much more meaningful, it can’t even be put into words!


Our crew – including our group from Canada as well as the crew that joined us from ZARA

There are a number of different routes that can be taken to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, each with their own pros and cons. We climbed up the Rongai route which was a beautifully scenic route which included tenting all the way up (there is a route that offers huts at each stop, the Marangu route).

The climb itself isn’t an intense scaling of mountain walls, or something overly physically demanding like that, but don’t let it fool you! The higher you get the less oxygen is available and it will definitely test whether you are in shape to keep going. That being said, with the right amount of preparation it is totally a workable goal!

If you are remotely adventurous and physically active, this is a great item to check off your bucket list! I will honestly say climbing with a group made it that much more fun – so poll your friends and find out who else is up for the trip!


Our camp each night – Tents were either individual or shared with one other person of your choice


Our group during our climb


My husband and I at the summit with the banner we brought with us, signed by everyone that we knew we had supporting us back home

Have you also climbed Kili at some point? Share your experiences, I’d love to hear your stories!