Cork School'sKenya Expedition
Cork School's - Kenya Expedition
The 'Charity Challenge expedition' to Kenya is specifically designed for schools from Cork in Ireland who travel to East Africa with us each year, for further information about tailor made itineraries for other schools, universities and youth groups to Kenya go to our Kenya School Adventure web pages. This particular trip will take you well off the beaten track and traditional tourist trail to experience and get involved with long term sustainable development projects through a hands-on children's camp and charitable development project that is identified, supported, built and maintained by local communities and Moving Mountains in Kenya, thanks largely to the support we can offer from funds raised through this trip.
After the camp and project we embark on a challenging 5 day/4 night climb to the summit of Mount Kenya (Point Lenana - 4985m) before finishing the expedition off with an overland safari to experience a bit more of the diverse culture and wildlife that Kenya is famous for as we travel to the world renowned Lake Naivasha, Hell's Gate National Park, and the Masai Mara Game Reserve.
The following promo video is from a similar expedition in Tanzania and was filmed, edited and produced by a former participant on that particular trip;
Now in our third decade running school trips to Kenya we have ample evidence and examples that the development element has changed lives and communities in Kenya. Most of our Kenyan staff are former street children and beneficiaries of Moving Mountains and attended the camps we ran in the 1990s when they were children and teenagers, those original kids are now grown up, many with children of their own or supporting a number of people themselves as the main breadwinner in their families.
We are founders of the Fair Trade Volunteering movement, and our projects and programmes are determined by the board of not just MM UK but also our board of local experts who run MM Kenya. It's really a case of personal development and international development given equal status, which is how we believe it should be. We don't entertain 'token' projects, everything that you undertake whilst on a trip to Kenya is bona fide and very much part of how MM tackles problems with solutions over a long term period. This trip has deep impacts and benefits for all involved from differing continents and cultures.
Personal development and international development
The Kenya school adventure, or 'Africamp' as people like to call it, gives young people a chance to see the flipside of life in Africa and challenge themselves in many ways, both physically and mentally. It's not just about the building project and the kids camp, but also working with a charity in different areas of development and interacting with people from a different culture and gaining key life skills. Of course it provides a boost to the CV for job or academic applications, but we believe it also is part of maturing and making decisions about what to do in life.
Sometimes people think that these benefits are for the visitors only, but this is not so. The Kenyan children who took part in Sisi Kwa Sisi (early 1990's) and more recently our Africamp school programs have given us many stories of positive growth and great achievement. Because of the opportunity they had to simply interact and camp and talk and share with people from other countries, they went on to work hard and become something in life. They went to school and college and into employment, they became parents and their children never suffered the same privation they did, and they look at Moving Mountains as a surrogate family which has given them long term support all the way through.
Do look through our projects, our history, our successes and our videos; there are so many heart-warming stories and so many lives changed for the better both at home and overseas. There already is a legacy of which young people continue to create every year as they venture out with us to Kenya, which is something that we are inordinately proud of.
Camp and project
The camp program is specifically designed to take in to account the skills and interests of the participants, and as such you will have a lot of input into how it will play out before you arrive in Kenya. For example, you might have a football coach/players in your group, in which case we'll incorporate some training sessions and arrange some friendly matches with local teams and the kids on the camp, or you might have some musicians in the team who could organise a talent contest in one of the evenings, for us it is about making maximum use of the participants skills and interests and providing the local kids and beneficiaries with an experience that they will cherish and remember throughout their lives.
It also gives you the chance to make friends with people from a different culture and to learn some new skills in a safe environment... And have a lot of fun too! We cannot even begin to describe the benefit that this part of the trip has, not just for the local kids but for everyone involved. It is a humbling experience to see children with so little in material terms be able to offer so much and our camps are a great way to encourage and reward children who excel in difficult circumstances.
The camp and project is followed by a challenging 5 day/4 night climb to the trekking summit of Mount Kenya (Point Lenana) and the trip finishes with an exciting and diverse overland safari which combines adventure, game drives, safari walks and cycling through National Parks with some R&R, swimming, boat trips and tourist attractions as we visit a number of National Parks, Game Reserves and Conservation areas.
Fitness and terrain
You do not need to be super-fit for this trip, however the trek to the summit of Point Lenana on Mount Kenya is moderately demanding with a couple of long days of sustained walking with a backpack. The effects of heat can also further tax your body but it's great fun doing it as a team and enjoying the amazing feeling of standing on top of Mount Kenya at sunrise and looking over the vast plains and valleys beneath you.
On the project phase you will not be moving too far from the camp, most day visits and the project site are just a short walk or drive from where we'll run the camp. The camp can be in the grounds of a school, or the Ulamba Childrens Home or in a local Scout Centre. There are really no issues here at all, just keeping clean and hydrated and well rested since it's often very tiring looking after a kids camp all day! If you are also undertaking a building project then this can be hard work, especially under an African sun but we promise you that it leads to a good nights sleep. We do go on home visits and we have staff with you all the time but again they wouldn't be tough going, the opposite in fact!
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.
This trip, now in its 3rd decade, has successfully delivered a great and influential experience to thousands of young people from across the UK and Ireland, we have not diluted the adventurous nature of it and the whole experience of travelling to a new country and culture is as exciting now as it was back in the 1990's.
The safety aspect is unrivalled and we outsource the management and logistics of our groups to the tour company Adventure Alternative and do this as they are experts in their field and unlike Moving Mountains, they are an officially recognised, licenced & bonded tour operator. They have all the proper insurances, policies, assessments, bonding, qualifications, experience, equipment, vehicles and staff to ensure a smooth and safe transition from arrival in Kenya, throughout the journey at our projects or whilst being involved with the personal challenge elements of the itinerary and back to the airport again.
Adventure Alternative have passed the British Standard 8848 audit for overseas youth expeditions, and their staff have been running this trip for many years. The Kenyan staff are brilliant at their job, and in many cases attended the original trips as children themselves back in the 1990s.
Moving Mountains was originally born out of Adventure Alternative (AA) and many of their staff are former beneficiaries of the charity. They are the perfect guides to illustrate the realities of life in Kenya and with their intimate knowledge, alongside our western staff, they're the perfect custodians for our visiting groups.
Moving Mountains ensures that the trips are not over commercialized, or marketing on young people's desire to help others. We have serious developmental aims, well evidenced and documented over many years now, and we run this programme with an emphasis on the long term benefits.
Our partnerships with schools, communities, villages and the authorities span decades now; we are absolutely confident that this trip does not fall into the traps of short termism, or perpetuating damaging stereotypes of aid. Our experience is that this trip has only ever given all the young people involved a great adventure, lots of self esteem and lots of motivation to make something of themselves.
Cork School's - Kenya expedition itinerary
The itinerary is designed to give participants on the trip a great all round experience which mixes genuine charitable projects and a camp for kids who benefit directly from them with a climb to Point Lenana (4985m) on Mount Kenya before finishing the expedition with an overland safari adventure to explore some of the many National Parks and Game Reserves located across Kenya.
The first half of the trip is spent with Moving Mountains, following a tried and tested plan of organising and running a children's camp while at the same time building and working on the Moving Mountains project, which is decided upon consultation with the local communities and committees that we work with. Over the years we have re-built or established a number of schools across Kenya, the Rescue Centre for Street Children in Embu and our 'Ulamba' Children's Home and Community Village in Western Kenya.
The whole expedition amounts to a total of 22 days in Kenya and the standard itinerary is below;
Cork School's Kenya expedition - Basic itinerary
|1||Arrive in Kenya and either spend one night at a secure camp outside Nairobi (near Nairobi National Park) or transfer to Lake Naivasha or Lake Nakuru (the location of our first night in Kenya is dependent on the location of the camp and Moving Mountains project) or transfer directly to the project location.|
|2||If you're not already at the project location then this date is a travel day to the location of the camp and project. If you reached the project location on the day 1 then today we'll meet the kids joining us for the camp and visit the site of the project.|
|3-10||8 full days on our Africamp with children who are benefitting directly from the Moving Mountains project that you working on. Aside from the Moving Mountains building/renovation project expect the camp to include lots of other activities, including visits to the homes of some of the kids that are camping with us, organising games and sports days, arts and craft, teaching and health/educational talks with the kids, visits to local tourist attractions and other Moving Mountains projects in the area, buying and preparing food and camp fires in the evenings.
Our hope is that the trip will show you a new world and give you the chance to live and work with children from some of the harshest and poorest backgrounds. Perhaps for the first time, many of the team will come face to face with poverty and witness first hand how hard people work just to get by. They will also see how people are so happy and friendly - it's a humbling and wonderful experience to help run a camp, work on a sustainable development project in an area of Kenya that truly needs the support and to see first hand what it means to really tackle aid in Africa.
On the afternoon of day 10 we'll have a closing ceremony with the local community in the morning before the kids return home in the afternoon. We'll have a bit of a farewell/celebration meal in the evening and the final prep for the next leg of our journey across Kenya.
|11||Transfer to the Blueline Hotel on the lower western slopes of Mount Kenya where we'll meet our guides, porters, check weather, kit and put in the final preparation for the 5 day/4 night climb the following day. The Blueline is a local hotel run by a lady called Nyokabi, who against all the odds has developed a successful business which promotes and supports local women's groups and is run with a similar ethos to Adventure Alternative, where she invests in and provides employment for people who would otherwise not be given the chance.|
Mt. Kenya is an ancient volcano, much older than Mount Kilimanjaro and the plug which remains has been eroded into the complex jagged outline of central peaks which is visible today. From a distance it dominates the surrounding slopes and valleys. Elephant, buffalo, colobus monkey, and many species of antelope and giant forest hog can be seen in the foothills of the 228 sq. mile National Park.
We start the trek to the summit on day 12 using the Sirimon route, just after the 50km drive around to the Sirimon gate where we will have a picnic lunch to allow the staff to register everyone into the National Park. Today's trek is just over 4 hours along a path through the forest to reach our first camp at the Old Moses Hut (3300m). A clear evening will reveal the tips of the peaks.
Day 13 is a reasonably early start to make the most of clearer morning conditions as we cross the alpine heath and moorland and traverse around and over a couple of streams and ridges before dropping into the MacKinder Valley. We'll have lunch en-route before continuing up Mackinder valley towards the main peaks and Shipton's Camp (4230m - 8 hours).
Day 14 is an acclimatisation day and summit preparation day before an early start on the morning of day 15 to reach Point Lenana (4985m) for sunrise, a clear day offers views of Kilimanjaro in the distance and after the successful summit we drop all the way back down to Old Moses Camp, stopping off at Shiptons for breakfast.
Day 16 is a couple of hours back to the Sirimon gate where the overland safari truck will be waiting to transfer us back to the Blueline for welcome hot showers and some R&R and farewells to the porters and guides. We'll also have a chance to visit Tigithi Primary and Secondary Schools which are a short walk from where we stay; past rural farms and over the Tigithi River to find the school grounds which have been renovated and developed by Moving Mountains and on a clear day there is great views of the Mt Kenya summit.
|17||Transfer to Lake Naivasha where we'll set up camp on the shores of this vast freshwater lake and enjoy some R&R and swimming before taking a boat trip on to Lake Naivasha to search for the wallowing Hippo and swooping Fish Eagles. This is also a day for reflection and to discuss the previous project, camp and children that the team have met and of course summiting Africa's second highest trekking peak; running an Africamp is an emotional experience and participants get very attached to the kids so our staff will be on hand for support and advice. It helps that many of our Kenyan staff are former beneficiaries or street children who were once the same kids on our camps, and as such can relate to the feelings of the team.|
|18||Day in Hell's Gate National Park where we can cycle alongside giraffe, zebra, warthog, gazelle, buffalo and much more before exploring Hell's Gate gorge with its steaming waterfalls and hot streams.|
|19-21||Three day/two night safari to Kenya's premier Game Reserve, the Masai Mara, which is one of the few places in the whole of Africa where you have a good chance of seeing the 'Big 5' in one day. We'll return to Nairobi on the afternoon of day 21, arriving in the early evening for our final night in Kenya.|
Depart Kenya (late afternoon/evening departures allow for visits to the Giraffe Centre and Sheldricks Wildlife Trust in the morning).
Accommodation throughout will be provided in comfortable and spacious safari tents.
Food will be plentiful and of a high standard, provided by Adventure Alternative Kenya staff (with your help and the kids camping with us). On travel days it tends to be lighter pic-nic lunches but dinners will be cooked, and a mix of both local dishes and western dishes. Expect to try the stable diet of ugali with vegetable stews, lots of potatoes, rice and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Bottled water will also be provided throughout the trip, as well as tea, coffee, juice, etc.
There will be electricity in most locations, and we'll have generators for back up but be aware that we will not be able to provide for lots of people with different gadgets, phones, ipads, etc. In Western Kenya in particular they experience frequent power cuts and the generators cannot charge at the same speed as normal sockets.
Cork School's Kenya trip - minimum fundraising target £2195.00
- Kenya staffing and ground logistics including transport, transfers, tents and meals
- Moving Mountains project and camp
- Mount Kenya - park permits, guides and porters
- Amref 'Flying Doctor' registration for emergencies
- Return flight to Nairobi
- Personal travel insurance
- Kenya Visa
- Travel vaccinations and anti-malaria tablets
- Personal spending for souvenirs, snacks, etc
Travel Insurance - you will need travel insurance for this trip, and normal holiday travel insurance is adequate as long as it covers trekking to 5,000m. 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.
Accommodation throughout will be provided in comfortable and spacious safari tents.
Food will be plentiful and cooked by everyone on the site, our staff with your help and the kids camping with us. On travel days it tends to be lighter picnic lunches but dinners will be cooked, and a mix of both local dishes and western dishes. Expect to try the stable diet of ugali with vegetable stews, lots of potatoes, rice and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Boiled water will also be provided throughout the trip, as well as hot drinks and juice.
There will be electricity in most locations, and we'll have generators for back up but be aware that we will not be able to provide for lots of people with different gadgets, phones, ipads, etc.
Groups on a Kenya school adventure
We really like to establish long term relationships with schools that come out to Kenya and support us because a lot of the Kenya school trip happens at home, with presentations and lots of preparation. Clearly there is fundraising to be done, but just as importantly we provide a long lead-in time for the students and teachers and parents so that we can cover pre trip training and ensure that everyone has prepared properly and most importantly whilst enjoying the experience.
We have been working with various schools from all over the world for many years and we also have teachers and youth workers on our staff team who constantly help us deliver what we feel is the most productive experience possible for the students that travel with us.
Importantly we're there for teachers and parents and always available to help. We've been organising educational and personal development school trips to East Africa since the early 1990's. We specialise in providing safe, exciting and worthy experiences for all involved and that includes the schools, teachers and parents at home! We are there to help you from the very first initial enquiry, through the build up, training & trip preparation and throughout their time in Kenya. We will help make this possible and support you so that it's also fun and enjoyable for you too!
Young people tend to apply early to get a place and for many of them the experience of planning, training, fundraising and of course the trip itself forms the basis for their personal portfolio. Some of them go on to do internships with us, and even volunteer again in Kenya, Tanzania, Borneo or Nepal.
The level of preparation that we provide is unusual in our experience. We teach a wide range of personal development skills prior to the trip, which has great relevance to modern society and our place in it. Those involved sign up and the day that they do their journey starts, really the finale is stepping on the plane to reach Africa. Global citizenship and social responsibility are promoted, as is personal self esteem and in particular stereotyped attitudes to aid, race and development.
Safety on the Kenya school expedition
Our Kenya school trips are very well organised and well staffed and very safe; our track record speaks for itself. We have such a deep and comprehensive understanding of the country and now, well into our third decade working there, we have a long and successful legacy and a remarkable network of support, which is a very protective and reassuring element of our operations in Kenya.
Perhaps most importantly our programme and itineraries are in beautiful, peaceful, rural regions; our groups never see nor hear anything which might be construed as dangerous. Schools and children's homes in remote western Kenya, small communities and villages, the glorious uplands of Mount Kenya or a National Park are all amazing and safe places to visit and explore. We have our own bases at all these locations where we are well known and respected and just by being with Moving Mountains the local people have such high appreciation of our work that they treat you as one of their own. Of course with every group we have our own qualified and experienced staff from both Kenya and the UK / Ireland too. Plus we also welcome teaching staff from the schools and parents too join us and can easily organise a taster trip so that you can come and see exactly what we do, meet our team and see where and how we run our trips, so that when you come out with your students that you feel relaxed and happy.
The vehicles and staff are either our own or those of our partner organisation Adventure Alternative and every trip attracts a large following of supporters and stakeholders. Local villagers, teachers, Doctors, government authorities, local police, tribal elders, village committees, social workers and many children all take part in these trips, and in all our years of running this trip we have simply never experienced any sort of security issue or problem. We always stick to the places we know so well and where we are so welcome.
We outsource the management and logistics of our groups to the tour company Adventure Alternative and do this as they are experts in their field and unlike MM, they are an officially recognised, licenced & bonded tour operator. They have all the proper insurances, policies, assessments, bonding, qualifications, experience, equipment, vehicles and staff to ensure a smooth and safe transition from arrival in Kenya, throughout the journey at our projects or whilst being involved with the personal challenge elements of the itinerary and back to the airport again. MM was originally born out of Adventure Alternative (AA) and many of their staff are former beneficiaries of the charity. They are the perfect guides to illustrate the realities of life in Kenya and with their intimate knowledge, alongside our western staff, they're the perfect custodians for our visiting groups.
We have never had to cancel a trip, and we have very close links with the Kenya Tourist Board, the Foreign Office and many other charities and tour operators who all share knowledge and experience.
Is there a role for a teacher or parent?
We are happy to work as closely or remotely as required. Some schools jump in with both feet and offer the opportunity to an entire year group and create a private school team; then depending on the numbers we offer a free place to at least one teacher or parent - possibly more, if they're keen to come along.
Other schools offer the opportunity to their students and they sign up and join one of our Open Groups as individuals. This means that a student will travel with a team made up of others from different areas / schools. In this case we do a lot of online training over Skype and by emailing resources and chatting to the students on a one to one basis. If there is a collection of students in a more localised area then we can also put them in contact pre-trip and if possible for some training. In this example we tend not to work specifically with a school but we can do so if requested and we always welcome teachers or parents involvement.
There is of course also a support role in the build up to travelling to Kenya be that helping organise fundraising, buying / borrowing kit, organising flights, insurance, visas etc. all of which we hands on assist with. Despite clear advice and instructions these tasks, being an important part of the process, can at times become the concerns and stresses of parents! We're here to help you too and we fully appreciate that you also go on a parental journey, which is more emotional and less exciting than your children's actual journey! It's a coming of age, a maturing that we watch and nurture and support - and we know that's not easy! So do please lift the phone and give us a call, or if possible let's meet up and have a chat.
The following are a number of relevant links to the provider organisation, Adventure Alternative. All give detailed information to help with your preparation and organisation, it is a lot of reading but well worth going through each of the links to get a better understanding of the trip.
General information on Kenya;
- General Information
- National Parks
- Practical Information
Fundraising and trip preparation;
- Volunteer fundraising guide
- Travel vaccinations
- Travel Insurance
- Kenya school trip kit list
- Sleeping bag guide
- Trekking Boot Guide
- Kenya volunteering activities
- Kenya volunteer training
- Kenya trip preparation
- Expedition provider standards
Camp and Project;
- Volunteer Ethics
- Volunteer providers
- Volunteer preparation
- Volunteer guidelines
- Avoiding malaria
- Personal health
- Mount Kenya altitude profiles
- Mount Kenya food & lodging
- Mount Kenya books & maps
- Health and altitude
- Acclimatising safely
The following videos give a valuable insight in to what this trip is about, not just for the students on it but for everyone involved - staff, children who benefit from the trip and the local communities;
Above: Video which shows the sorts of projects that the fundraising supports and where some of the Kenya school expedition teams visit.
Above: Video showing the progression of the project in Solio villages, and how the trip contributed to our long term vision.
Above: Arriving at the project location for the first time
Above: Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains founder Gavin Bate explains his vision of the Africamp trips
Above: Highlights from the camp, showing some of the activities that students get involved with
Above: We use a lot of sport and games to help kids, but we also have the technology to reach out to young people at home too, this video shows how a Canadian/Kenya football game became a phenomenon that was shared with thousands of school kids over the net
Above: Students thoughts on how the trip changed their lives, recorded the night before going for the summit of Mount Kenya
Above: Personal journey of the 2017 Cork School's group who ran a camp in Western Kenya, helped on an international development project at 2 x schools and climbed Mount Kenya before finishing the trip with the classic East African safari to Lake Naivasha and the Masai Mara
Above: Day 1 on Mount Kenya (Gate to first camp - Met Station)
Above: Day 2 on Mount Kenya (Met Station to Mackinders camp)
Above: Summiting Mount Kenya
Join us by choosing a date below and submitting an enquiry to register.
- Duration 3 weeks
- Numbers 10-25
- Challenge Moderate
- Comfort Camping