Mt. Kili Madness, Cricket and Elephants

More people have been into space, or sailed single-handed around the world without stopping than have managed to play a competitive game of cricket above 5,100 m.

The warm friendly wash of early morning will offer a bright promise of a brand new day. The day, 20th September 2014 is a day that the cricketing world will never forget. A day that the world will remember as two teams of intrepid ‘cricketers’ will start their seven day hike up Mount Kilimanjaro where they will take ‘cricket to new heights.’

Mount Kilimanjaro is not only the highest peak on the African Continent, it is the tallest free standing mountain in the world. In isolation it rises up and beyond the clouds. This breath taking mountain towers over the savannah below. Reaching a commanding height of 5 895 m, it is a paradise empty of modern trappings.

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These cricketers, over seven days will ascend through a virtual climatic world tour as they leave the warmth of the tropics, climbing heaven wards and into arctic conditions. They will climb through five vegetation zones on their ‘Kili Madness quest.’

At the start of their journey, they will pass through the cultivated zone (800- 1000m). Here the liquid murmur of rivers echos as merging streams are formed from the glacier run off on the mountains. Coffee is grown on the foothills of Mount Kilimajaro.

From 1800 – 2800 m they will meander through the deepening glades of forest where they will enjoy the pulpy damp: a smell that reeks of age. Surrounded by huge wooden giants, their knotted arms reaching skywards towards the light as they battle for survival, the two teams will wend their way along a well kept trail. Blue monkeys, colobus monkey, olive baboons, civets, leopards, honey badger, porcupines,and other small furry animals remain elusive and are seldom seen, but their presence will be felt as small urgent footfalls scamper out of sight into the deep undergrowth. Their cricket bats could come in handy when defending themselves against the honey badger!!! This critter is not as sweet as it’s name implies and has a reputation, like these cricketers for being the most fearless on the block. Folks beware, make sure the cricket balls are safely out of sight !!! Use the cricket box for protection as these animals are renowned for their habit of going for the balls.

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The striking black and white colobus monkeys will feel your presence as you walk below. They live in the tree tops in small groups and because they eat mainly leaves, they seldom leave the safety of their skyscraper branches. If the cricketers are lucky, they might be privy to a spectacular gymnastic display as these monkeys leap from tree to tree, their white capes and tails streaming. Mystical vines, hidden eyes and the braying call of a silvery cheeked horn bill or cheerful chatter of the mouse birds will stay with them as they climb through the lush rustling foliage and past the magnificent watchful sentinels of the forest: the trees. They will also be lucky enough to remember the guttural purring roar that echoes through the green forest, a distinct territorial call of these magnificent animals and a reminder that the black and white colobus monkeys, although not seen were there.

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From 2 800 – 4000m will take these adventures into a different world. A world where heather, wild grasses and a rocky trail will replace the pulpy softness of the forest. The many grasses that grow here are as beautiful as they are useful in protecting the soil and conserving the moisture.

The two teams may see two types of buzzards cruising the empty air pockets overhead. The Angur Buzzard is a large hawk with curved wings reddish tail, and an underside that is either predominately white or black.  The Mountain buzzard is similar in appearance to the Angur buzzard in shape and size but it is brown. They might also be privileged enough to experience the aerobatic display by the Lammergeyer. The Lammergeyer is a rare vulture with long wings and a wedge tail. The Lammergeyer has a habit of soaring to a great height and dropping a bone onto the rocks below to break them.

At this height delicate clouds will drift past at eye level. At the upper end of this zone, the dark night will be hung with a myriad of spectacular twinkling stars turning this world into a surreal and peaceful place.

Zone 4 (4000m – 5000m) will lead them through a strange and quiet place. This Alpine desert region receives little rain and plants find it difficult to survive. A dry and desolate landscape where they will be buffeted by strong winds and steaming day temperatures. They will be surrounded by signs of volcanic activity as they fight their way through small volcanic rocks and huge boulders for as far as the eye can see. They will now be close enough to see the vast glaciers that cling with tenacity to the deep barren gorges on the slopes and the breaches in the crater rim.  This visual is a reminder of where molten lava once bullied its way through during ancient volcanic eruptions. Here woolly caps, mittens and arctic sleeping bags will be needed as night time is ushered in with plummeting temperatures.

As morning ghosts into view, the intrepid climbers will ascend to the summit (5000 – 5895 m). Which ever route is taken, they will feel a sense of awe being in that spectacular space between earth and heaven. Glaciers will greet this team of adventures who have a reason for being on the highest mountain in Africa.

They will descend into the crater which is 360 m across and 120m deep. Here ‘Mt Kili Madness’ will take place.  In the crater’s lunar like landscape a Flicx pitch donated by Richard Bhegin from FlicxUK ltd will be rolled out. Stumps set up and the T20/20 match will begin.

 

To qualify for World Record status, the two teams must play a game of T20. Both teams will have to do so after a challenging seven-day climb, risking altitude sickness – a feat which 30% of climbers fail.

Organiser David Harper added: “Playing at the top of Mt Kilimanjaro will bring a world record to Africa, raise significant sponsorship for three very worthwhile charities, and help raise awareness of the harm that poaching is doing to wildlife across the continent…as well as allowing me to indulge my fantasy of playing against some high quality international cricketers.”

What has this got to do with Elephants? I can hear the questions. Well today’s  blog is about celebrating the human spirit. These two teams of cricketers have set themselves a huge task… an ask that will take cricket to new heights: all in aid of raising funds and awareness for three amazing charities. They will also be breaking a world record.

Tusk: a dynamic organisation with over twenty years of experience initiating and funding conservation, community development and environmental education programmes across Africa. 100 elephants are being killed a day in Africa, and time is of the essence. Rhino are also being slaughtered at an alarming rate and now is the time to act. Please have a look at their Just Giving Page to raise funds.

Cancer Research: A cause that should be close to all our hearts.

Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation (RCSF)
Building a future for cricket in Rwanda, fundraising on a not-for-profit basis, the first dedicated international cricket ground in Rwanda on the outskirts of the capital, Kigali.  This year is the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan Genocide. It is hoped that the ground will look towards Rwanda’s future, providing a venue to help build bridges between individuals and across communities, in a country that still bears the scars of this most tragic and divisive period in its history.  Cricket is the fastest growing sport in Rwanda, all teams, all ages, all backgrounds.

Virgin Money Giving is dedicated to raising funds for all three charities

Please like their face book page  Mt. Kili Madness and help them to raise the awareness on this massive undertaking. Follow the lead up to this event and help to celebrate in the human spirit by sharing the links with friends.

Currently the world record for the highest recorded game of cricket stands at 5,100 m which took place at Base Camp 2 of Everest. We plan to play at 5,785 m which will be a huge physical achievement and will undoubtedly raise much interest, coverage and support. The expedition will set off on Saturday 20th September for a 7 day hike to reach our chosen pitch. The wicket will be laid, the stumps will be set up and the cucumber sandwiches will be cut in preparation for a game of 20/20 in the crater of one of the most magnificent mountains in the world – Mount Kilimanjaro.

 The victors of this match will be crowned the ‘King of the Mountain’ and the losers….after pulling their hair out, will hang their heads in shame before been made to carry all the kit down!!  The Flicx pitch will then be donated to a Tanzanian school or club to help further this amazing sport in this country.  Please like their face book page and help them to spread the awareness on this massive undertaking. Follow the lead up to this event and help to celebrate in the human spirit by sharing the links with friends.

One thought on “Mt. Kili Madness, Cricket and Elephants

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