Join Adventure Alternative and the Moving Mountains Trust for a 4 week trip of a lifetime across Kenya, working on relevant, meaningful and hands-on projects developed by our charity in Kenya, Moving Mountains. Aside from the project work you will be helping to run a camp with street children and/or children who benefit directly from our work in Kenya. After the camp we climb to Point Lenana on Mount Kenya, Africa’s second highest trekking peak (4,985m/16,355ft) as well as finishing the expedition with an overland safari adventure to experience some more of Kenya’s diverse culture and abundant wildlife.
'Africamp' is a very well organised and well staffed school expedition; we are a professional and responsible adventure travel company providing personal development for the individual and international development for Moving Mountains in Kenya. It provides a genuine opportunity to work on long term relevant grassroots projects with a company that has its ethics in sustainable tourism and fair trade volunteering.
Africamp is designed for individuals and groups alike, the advertised dates are generally for individuals and small groups of friends so you can join the trip knowing that you will be travelling with like minded people. Any large groups from schools and youth groups are given their own trip which is not advertised on the website. If you are a teacher or leader of a youth group please contact us to arrange dates or to receive the school pack.
For schools and youth groups the itinerary can be amended to suit your needs, whether that is reducing the length of the trip or discussing the differnet options for the location of the camp, we are happy to work with you to build an expedition that that will give your team the same exceptional experience of the standard Africamp.
Have you ever wondered about how useful a school/youth expedition is to both the young people going, and also the community receiving them? As a parent or teacher, are you desperate for your son or daughter to go on a trip that genuinely teaches self-reliance, offers an adventure but also actually benefits another community? We agree, and this Africamp trip has changed little since it first started in 1991; it's still just as popular, but we continually see young people coming out who want to see their morals and values challenged, and who want to come home feeling they have 'made a difference'.
Africamp gives you a chance to see the flipside of life in Africa and challenge yourself in many ways, both physically and mentally. It's not just about the building project and the kids camp, you will work with an NGO in different areas of development work, interact with people from a different culture, and provide a boost to your CV for job or academic applications. Added to this there is a fantastic trek to Point Lenana on Mount Kenya with wild camping along the way, and a wildlife safari in one of our overland trucks specially converted for living in the bush.... The trip of a lifetime!
You can read some of our thoughts on responsible tourism on our blog.
Having been to Africa a couple of times before this trip to Kenya I had a pretty good sense of what to expect and I was still amazed by the experience. All of the staff in Kenya were wonderful. We could not have been welcomed or treated any better. They thought of everything. The entire group came back to Canada having taken part in one of the best life experiences. Many of the youth are talking about returning to Kenya. The experience was certainly life altering and many of the youth I have spoken to have changed what they want to do with their life or are at least questioning many of what they felt were truths. Both boys and girls were at time very emotional. In my experience boys especially don’t cry easily and certainly not publicly. A big thanks to everyone at Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains those in Kenya and in the UK for all that you did to make this a truly magical experience for all of us.
My son did Kenyan Africamp and came back saying it can't be described in words and photos, you'd have to see it for yourself. I did and he was right! The Kenyan staff are warm and welcoming and gave such an insight into their beautiful country. The work of Moving Mountains is awe-inspiring we visited Ulamba orphanage which is just a small part of the many projects they support. As well as helping with this project we had 2 safaris, cycling and rock climbing and two amazing journeys across Kenya all packed into a 2 week stay. Fantastic experience and supporting the charity too!
The best travel experience i have ever been on and i have travelled extensively throughout many 3rd world countries, feeling safe and secure during the whole trip with indiginous people around which makes the trip as a whole an extremely worthwhile experience
Dates and Itinerary
The dates sometimes alter slightly depending on flight availability, which are either bought as a group by a school or group or individually by team members. The start date is the date of flight to Kenya and the end date refers to the date of departing Kenya.
|18th July - 14th August|
We run scheduled dates that are designed to tie in with the academic calendar for schools in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. However most of the school groups we work with negotiate their trip dates with us, based on what is best for the school and also availability of flights. We are extremely flexible about this and are ready to discuss what will work best for you.
Since so many groups return year after year, choosing to concentrate on one particular area they have visited or choosing to run a slightly modified version of Africamp, we find that the tailormade option works very well for groups who already have some experience of our youth trips to Kenya. Please do contact us to discuss. But for first time trip we recommend the full scheduled itinerary to really get the full experience.
The itinerary follows a tried and tested plan of spending time with the NGO Moving Mountains on a project or programme which is determined by the charity according to its long term aims and objectives. Traditionally we run summer camps for children who are supported in school, and we run a variety of renovation and building projects for schools that we have been working with for many years. Part of the fun of the trip is in discovering just how deep and meaningful the relationship has been between company and charity since MD Gavin Bate started both in the early 1990s when he was working and living in East Africa as a guide and aid worker.
The itinerary then moves to Mt Kenya for a four day guided trek to Point Lenana, followed by an overland safari for a few days and then some more overland travel to either the coast or the Rift Valley, ending up back in Nairobi for departure home. The travel is done in our our converted safari overland trucks and the groups always stay together, travelling with a rather large group of AA and MM supporters, staff and young people who are also on their own school holidays!
Time in Country
The whole Africamp amounts to a month away, which includes travel days.
|Days 1 & 2||Departing UK, arriving Nairobi, preparation for the project and meeting staff, and introduction to Kenya, the company there and also the charity Moving Mountains.|
|Days 3 - 13||Running the large MM summer camps for Kenyan children supported by the charity and/or renovation or construction work which is supervised by our staff. Also there are sports activities, teaching, crafts, and music and lots of activities while camping. During this time really get to know the work of an aid organisation, visiting homes and getting involved with all the work that involves.|
|Day 14 - 22||Central Kenya and trek up to the peak of Point Lenana on Mount Kenya. Includes travelling to Naro Moru, visiting the Mau Mau caves, preparing for the expedition (shopping etc) and training, followed by five days on the mountain itself and then a big party at the hotel we use near the park gate.|
|Days 23 - 29||Safari and coast or Rift Valley. Sometimes the groups split up here and meet up later on. This section of the trip is travelling through Kenya visiting National Parks, seeing wildlife and some of the amazing natural sights like Hells Gate, followed by a more relaxing time either on the beaches near Mombasa or near the Great Lakes.|
Every day is really quite different, and you will soon learn to operate to a different rhythm of Africa. There are long days and very active ones, either managing the camps or the projects, climbing a mountain or travelling through national parks to see animals. It is important to rest properly and stay hydrated! Meals are prepared every day, but everyone helps out, and there is always shopping to do, and always lots of time spent with the locals. The children especially are very keen and eager, they have waiting for their summer camp all year! There will be visits to all sorts of places, activities to organise and so much to do that sometimes the days don't seem long enough.
Private Group Option
We can adapt our standard programme to the requirements of indivual groups such as school or college initiatives or University Societies. We have also started running trips tailored for adult groups (called Adult Africamp), which are trips made up mostly of parents of students who have come back from our trips with glowing reports!
School Expedition to Kenya - 'Africamp' cost: £1,495.00
- Adventure Alternative UK expedition organisation
- Adventure Alternative Kenya staffing and ground logistics
- All internal transport, airport transfers and travel
- All meals and bottled water
- Accommodation provided in safari tents (mountain tents on Mt Kenya)
- Guide and Porter support on Mt Kenya
- All National Park fees and permits for Mt Kenya
- All tourist activities in the itinerary
- Medical back-up from Interhealth
- Amref ‘Flying Doctor’ support
- Moving Mountains fundraising - minimum of £500
- Return flight to Nairobi (~ £700)
- Travel Insurance (~ £50)
- Kenya Visa (~ £30)
- Travel vaccinations and anti-malaria tablets
- Personal spending for souvenirs, snacks, etc
Not all about money
Aside from the expedition cost paid to Adventure Alternative all participants are required to raise a minimum of £500 for the Moving Mountains Trust. This amount funds the costs of the kids camp, Moving Mountains Kenya staff, the developmental project which you will be involved with and all our other projects in Kenya. Visit our website for further information on the work that Moving Mountains is involved with across Kenya.
Fundraising for charity allows you to use sites like MyDonate and Justgiving where you can set up a personal fundraising page to take advantage of the Gift Aid scheme. Gift Aid adds 25p to every £1 donation from a UK tax payer.
NB: The expedition fee, which is payable to Adventure Alternative cannot be paid using MyDonate or Justgiving.
Travel Insurance - you will need travel insurance for this trip, and normal holiday travel insurance is adequate as long as it covers trekking. We advise you to get this insurance early on, so that if you have to make a late cancellation for some reason then you will get all your money back.
Company Insurance - we have full tour operators liability insurance which covers public liability and employers liability.
Financial Insolvency - we have full financial bonding in place which is both a requirement of membership of the Association of Independent Tour Operators and also of the European Travel Directive.
Adventure Alternative have invested in the set up of Adventure Alternative Kenya and provide the resources and training to enable the local company to continue to grow and compete at a higher level of safety and competency, it is a unique relationship which ensures the highest levels of professionalism on the ground.
All our trips provide the local company with a fair profit margin which represents our Responsible attitude to tourism, this profit share scheme ensures that Adventure Alternative Kenya can continue to run a successful company and provide proper salaries and training and new employment opportunities to staff (many of whom are former street children and beneficiaries of Moving Mountains).
Our Africamp trips continue to provide business, trade and income in all the areas of Kenya which we visit, the financial impact of a large group of ‘Africampers’ is huge and we always use the combined benefits of tourism and the capital investment of the charity to address the underlying causes of poverty.
This leads to beneficial wealth creation and we are extremely proud of our track record in this respect. We evaluate this social development constantly, and we don't breed dependency; many times we leave an area after some years to grow independently and organically. For the staff at Adventure Alternative, it is the most enjoyable part of our job to see villages, communities and regions change - all because of trips like Africamp.
Aside from the investment in Adventure Alternative Kenya, there are many more local providers who have benefitted from our model of responsible tourism, and they are not faceless corporations but small family run businesses like the Blue Line Hotel, our base for all our climbs and expeditions on the Mt Kenya, which continues to develop and expand as a direct result of the business that is provided through Adventure Alternative.
The Blue Line Hotel is one example, there are many more all over Kenya including other small hotels in areas off the tourist trail, local fruit or vegetable sellers, restaurants, hardware stores and local shops, builders, taxi drivers, local artists and curio art sellers, guides and porters on Mt Kenya, the list goes on...
Discounts are available for teachers and youth workers/leaders who help to put teams together, though these are entirely dependent on the size of teams.
You do not need to be super-fit for this trip, however the expedition element is moderately demanding with some long days of sustained walking with a backpack. The effects of altitude will also further tax your body. You will enjoy the trip all the more if you are in good physical shape having exercised regularly and eaten nutritiously over at least the 6 months leading up to the trip.
You do need to be in good health as we will spend some time in locations that are many hours from professional medical care. Any pre-existing medical or dental conditions should be fully appraised by a doctor and their nature fully disclosed to your insurer and to ourselves.
Type of Terrain
On the project phase you will not be moving very far from the camp which will be immediately adjacent to the project. The ground will be generally open and grassy and there will almost certainly be no roads or paths.
During the safari bit of your adventure, you will be entering reserves/parks usually consisting of dirt roads and sand tracks and not tarmac. If conditions are wet this can lead to adventurous driving but be assured that our drivers are well versed in safe and professional driving skills. If the weather is very dry then the terrain can be dusty so it's worth bringing a shawl or light scarf to cover your mouth and nose. The vehicles are well maintained and professional safari vehicles. It is important to remember that you are in the animals environments and you are not top of the food chain!
The terrain on Mt Kenya varies throughout which leads to an interesting and ever changing environment. In a period of five days you will go from cultivated farmland through equatorial forest and alpine heath, across a lunar-like rocky landscape up to a glaciated summit. Mt Kenya’s unique position just above the equator offers an opportunity to experience so much in one expedition.
Climbing Mount Kenya is not a technical climb and there are no precipitous drops along the way, no rock climbing or specialist equipment needed. The paths are in good condition and well trodden; some are steeper than others and it is much quieter than 'Big Brother' Kilimanjaro, you could spend five days on Mount Kenya and only meet the Park Rangers positioned at each camp. On summit day the path is mostly scree, which can be loose and unrelenting, especially on the descent when your knees will probably suffer.
The drive to the coast is on the main road from Nairobi to Mombasa. Albeit a bit bumpy in some parts, it is tarmacked all the way.
- 65-75Litre Rucksack (put in duffel on plane)
- 80-120L duffel (not hard backed)
- 45Ltr Day Pack
- Stuff sacks, waterproof, various sizes
- Waterproof Rucksack Cover
- Waterproof shell jacket (breathable)
- Waterproof shell trousers (breathable)
- Warm insulated jacket
- Fleece / softshell jacket
- Wool/microfleece top x1
- Trekking Trousers x2 Sunthetic material eg Polyamide NOT 100% cotton (zip off legs are useful)
- Trekking Shorts (optional)
- Long sleeved Trekking Shirt or Polyester baselayer x1
- Base layer top x2 (Synthetic material eg polyester)
- Base Layer Leggings/tights x1
- Long sleeved thermal top x1
- Underwear x4
- Warm hat to cover ears x1
- Buff or Light Balaclava x1 (optional)
- Wide brimmed Sun Hat or cap with neck veil x1
- Sun glasses cat 2-3 UV polarising
- Thermal liner gloves (optional)
- Very warm insulated Mitts or Gloves
- Warm spare gloves/mitts to be carried in case of loss of first pair
- Thin liner socks x2 (optional)
- Trekking socks x2
- General socks x4
- Trekking Boots
- Trainers/Approach shoes
- Crocs/Sandals/Flip flops
- Walking Poles (optional)
- Working clothes for project, old but lightweight trousers & long sleeved top, may get very dirty or worn
- Smart casual outfit for evening meals. Eg summer dress/shirt (optional)
- 3-4 season sleeping bag (comfort temperature approx -5 deg C)
- Compression sacks for sleeping bags
- Silk / cotton sleeping bag liner (optional)
- Can use by its self in hotter areas
- Thick closed cell foam mat x1
- Inflating sleeping mat x1 (optional)
- Sleeping mat repair kit
- Head torch (LED) & spare batteries
- Watch with light and alarm
- Camera, memory card & batteries (optional but recommended)
- Solar charger (optional)
- MP3 player (optional)
- Old mobile phone unlocked for use on any network (optional)
- Gaffer/Duct Tape (small roll or wrap a few metres around water bottle)
- Super glue
- 4mm string/paracord ~2m
- Needle + extra strong thread
- 1 litre drinks bottles x2
- Lightweight insulated bottle cover x1 (optional)
- Insulated mug
- Spork or Knife Fork & Spoon
- Lightweight plate & bowl
- Toilet roll in zip lock plastic bag
- Ear plugs (wax)
- Passport & 2 photocopies
- Student Card (where applicable)
- Insurance policy Number & emergency telephone number
- Money, Credit/Debit Cards
- Plane Ticket confirmation & numbers (where required)
- Waterproof pouch for documents
- Books, Cards, Games
- Diary & Pencil (in zip lock bag)
- Photos of family, house, area. Local postcards etc to show to Kenyan kids
- Antibacterial hand gel ~100ml
- Wet wipes (optional but advised)
- Toothbrush with cover
- Toothpaste (small/part used tube)
- Roll on deodorant
- Shaving gear & small mirror
- Shower gel/shampoo ~100ml
- Personal Medical Kit
- Antiseptic Wipes
- Adhesive Plasters
- Blister Plasters
- Zinc Tape
- Insect Repellent
- Antihistamine tablets
- Sunblock Cream
- Water Purification Tablets
- Rehydration Sachets
- Personal Medication as required:
- eg. Anti-Malarials, Asthma Inhalers, Insulin, Epi-Pen etc
Additional Kit Info
Possible Additional Personal First Aid Items
Note: you must check with your GP for your personal suitability to all medicines and their possible side effects and interactions. Please inform us of the details of all regular medication that you intend to use though the course of your trip and any relevant allergies and medical history related to them. You also need to check the requirements and regulations of the airline and all countries visited in relation to medications. For example; laws governing transport of some pain control medication and the need keep insulin at a suitable temperature, ie not in the cargo hold.
- Make sure hiking boots are leather (fabric boots should have a waterproof lining) and broken in.
- Clothing for the mountain needs to be synthetic and quick drying in case we get wet. Cotton teeshirts and hoodies are not suitable. Make sure that you have two changes of synthetic trekking trousers and base-layer top and a micro-fleece top as well as a warm coat. It can be well below freezing at night on Mt Kenya and on the forst half of summit day.
- A sleeping bag is only as good as your rollmat. Make sure it's a thick closed cell mat. A sleeping bag liner made out of cotton (or silk) is useful too and helps to keep the bag clean or can be slept in if it gets too hot. Make your own sleeping bag liner if you want from an old sheet sewn into a mummy shape. Don't make it too tight around you.
- You will be able to wash clothes - handwash in washing powder, that is. The problem is trying to dry things so you may only have the opportunity to wash smalls. On the mountain there is no real opportunity to wash clothes at all.
- Carry OLD CLOTHES to wear for the project and camp, they will get very dirty, and covered in paint quite possibly. You need travel clothes which are clean for the travelling home bit, and for safari & coast, but on the camp and project it will be pretty dirty. A lot of people just leave stuff behind because it’s not worth taking home!
- Choose your clothing based on usefulness and durability, not for fashion statements. Some clothes you may want to give away or swap at the end for souvenirs.
- If you wear contact lenses take plenty of saline and comfort drops- it can get dusty.
- Mosquito nets are optional. The tents have inbuilt nets and people in the past have generally not had a big problem with insects.
- Do not bring porcelain plates - bring plastic and a few spare spoons - they always go missing. Make sure that plates and bowls are of a generous size so that you can fit the food in; you will be hungry!
- Girls will have to dress conservatively in shanty towns and in public. You will draw unnecessary attention to yourself and maybe cause offence if revealing clothing is worn. Shorts must reach the knees and you must have tops that cover your shoulders and have a high neckline. If you do not bring appropriate clothing you will either have to buy more when you arrive or risk not being able to take part in many activities.
- Keep your money somewhere safe in a bumbag. Do not bring large wads of notes with you. If you take sterling cash with you make sure they are Bank of England notes, not regional notes, eg Northern Irish notes or Scottish notes.
- For the mountain, work on a layering system which gives you versatility - Tshirt or thermals, shirt or warm top, fleece, waterproofs. Gloves and hats are vital - remember spare socks can double as mitts in emergencies.
- At the coast, snorkelling gear will be provided.
You can rent equipment in Nairobi directly from Kelly Kioko or in Naro Moru from our guides. We do have some equipment in our Nairobi store, and there are a couple rental shops in Naro Moru town and neighbouring Nanyuki town which can provide you with all the main items needed to climb Mt Kenya. Prices vary, and our local team can help you bargain and purhase what you require.
With all equipment and clothing you do not need to buy the expensive brands. Most highstreet camping shops have their own brands which will be more than adequate for this trip. Only consider buying more high-end equipment if you plan to use the equipment again and again over a number of years.
It is likely that a large number of you will be buying similar (if not identical) items. If so, get together and visit a shop together, speak to the manager and say that you have a potentially big order and negotiate a discount. Tell them about the trip and that you will be doing charity volunteer work. Most companies are fairly flexible in this regard.
Links to Retailers
- We do not contract out our trips, and we employ full time staff in Kenya, offering job security and good benefits, and we are continually improving our quality service year on year.
- Africamp offers genuine personal development but is equally determined to promote genuine projects and programmes towards long term sustainable development, which are run by our charity Moving Mountains Trust.
- We are passionate about Responsible Tourism and our company supports sustainable development in Kenya in a real way, and has done since 1991.
- Adventure Alternative underwrites the charity Moving Mountains and Africamp financially supports and benefits many beneficiaries and allows the charity in Kenya to grow.
- We have all of the required paperwork, insurances, bonds and memberships to legitimately run an outstanding school expedition programme, adhering to all the correct laws and heath and safety requirements.
- We are members of Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
- We are registered with Kenya Association of Tour Operators and the AMREF Flying Doctors tourist evacuation scheme in the event of an emergency.
- All of our staff are not only experienced and qualified in adventure trips and mountain trips, but also youth work, teaching and social welfare.
- Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains were both started by Gavin Bate who has spent a lifetime working in adventure travel, international development and is high altitude mountaineer.
- We don't run dozens of school trips, we work with a small number of schools and build up long term meaningful relationships which go beyond the school expedition itself.
- Africamp is just the start. Our schools programme offers similar trips in the Himalayas and Borneo, gap trips and professional sabbaticals, apart from school links with Kenya, teacher exchange programmes, online peer exchanges, and the chance for career training in youth expeditions.
- We are professional, friendly, flexible and very knowledgeable about our trips and about Kenya and about international development.