Tag Archive for Africa

Meet Ash Dykes

We’re thrilled to be working with adventurer Ash Dykes on an exclusive challenge in Madagascar this September. Ash was the first person to traverse the length of Madagascar, covering 1,600 miles in 155 days. Now he’s heading back, but this time with Charity Challenge, giving you the opportunity to join him on this incredible adventure challenge.

Ash Dykes

What inspired you to first visit Madagascar?
At first, it was the fact that I hardly knew a thing about the island, I was curious. I then started to do my research and I was hooked by not only the beauty and diversity, but equally by the fact that over 80% of all wildlife and plant life is found nowhere else in the world. I knew that this would provide such a unique and exciting experience.

What was the toughest part of your journey through Madagascar?
Hmm there were many tough sections, but maybe in the Northern section where I faced at times impenetrable jungle, as I used my machete to try hack my way through. I’d cover only 1.5 miles in a 12 hour day at times!

You’ll be returning this September with Charity Challenge, what are you most looking forward to?
I’m excited to be leading an expedition in one of the most beautiful valleys in Madagascar, to showing people the big landscape and different species of Andringitra National Park, some species that are found nowhere else in Madagascar. Pic Boby is beautiful and I truly look forward to returning.

What kind of training would you recommend for people preparing to join this challenge?
I’d recommend they work on their cardio, do a few treks with a backpack to help your muscles adapt to the endurance. I do a lot of calisthenics, where I use my own body weight to train, from push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups, it’s not for everyone, but you become more in control of your own body and feel not only physically stronger, but mentally stronger too, which is equally important.

Madagascar has a unique and diverse ecosystem, what can participants expect to encounter on the challenge?
They could expect to see wild lemurs, chameleons, different species of birds, bats, snakes and spiders (not venomous). Andringitra is known for its biodiversity, including 78 species of amphibians, 50 species of reptiles, 54 species of mammals, 108 species of birds, and more than 1,000 species of plants.

What kind of weather can people expect in Madagascar?
Overall, September is a great time to travel to Madagascar. The wildlife is rich and active, it’s warm and sunny – perfect temperature for walking, most probably with a cool breeze the higher up we climb. Night time can be cool and towards the peak, it will be quite possibly fleece and woolly hat weather.

Any key items you’d recommend people bring with them?
I’d recommend a (Water-to-go) filter bottle, which can be used on the go but also even used to collect tap water during travel days. Comfortable footwear, I personally just wear trainers, as they’re lightweight, breathable and quick drying. Sunscreen, mosquito repellent, blister plasters, a hat and shades.

Lastly, what’s your message to anyone thinking about joining this challenge?
This trek will be unforgettable and I mean that from the heart, you’ll love the country, the people, the wildlife and it’s beauty. It’s a country that features in many peoples mind, but very few actually go there. Be the few people that are fortunate enough to say “I’ve been to Madagascar”!

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Secure your place on the Madagascar Trek with Ash Dykes this September.

8 Places To Get On Your Bike In 2017/18

Cycling is well known to be the most efficient form of transport on the planet. We think it’s also one of the best ways to see a country, while burning a few calories too! But where, you ask, should you take to the saddle and pedal your way from A to B? To get you started, here’s a little inspiration, including two brand new cycling itineraries!

London to Paris Bike Ride

France is arguably the spiritual home of cycling, with Le Tour de France bringing a celebration of all things vélo to millions of fans worldwide each year. We think we’ve come up with the ultimate Tour de France experience. Come with us as we make our way to Paris from London on two wheels, arriving at the Eiffel Tower before catching the final stage in person!

San Sebastian to Barcelona

Want to up the pace and follow in the tracks of the Tour de France riders? This brand new challenge sees you depart the beautiful coastal city of San Sebastian in Spain, before crossing the border into France and tackling the famous Pyrenees mountains. Will you face the most gruelling climbs, or take the easier route? The choice is up to you.

San Sebastian to Barcelona

Iceland Fire and Ice Cycle Challenge

To cycle a landscape like no other, Iceland offers a volcanic ride through steams, hot springs and lava fields. The land of ice and fire is truly unique, but with a challenge grading of ‘tough’, you’ll have to work for those scenic views. It’ll be worth it though, and as a reward for reaching the finish line in Reykjavik, you can take a tip in the famous Blue Lagoon. There’s even a chance you might get to see the Northern Lights!

Iceland Cycle

Cycle Burma

Cycle Burma

One of South East Asia’s best kept secrets, Burma is still a relatively new destination. Uncover this beautiful part of the world by cycling from Mandalay to Inle Lake through rural countryside, stopping at temples, farms, villages and towns along the way.

Atlas Mountain Bike Challenge

Morocco might not be an obvious cycling destination, but the High Atlas Mountains provide a magnificent backdrop for our 8 day cycling challenge. From the busy streets of Marrakech you will ride into the Mgoun Massif, passing remote Berber villages between dramatic, changing scenery.

High Atlas

Saigon to Angkor Wat Bike Ride

Want to explore South East Asia and tick off a few of the region’s most famous landmarks? Cycle 450kms over 11 days, through Vietnam and Cambodia, following the Mekong Delta. You might lose count of temples and pagodas along the way, but you won’t forget the amazing Angor Wat complex, bustling Saigon or Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city.

Cycle Saigon Angkor

Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater Bike Challenge

Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is well known amongst trekkers, and provides a backdrop to this incredible cycling challenge. Make your way 450kms from Kilimanjaro to Ngorongoro Crater, passing Maasai villages in the Great Rift Valley, be prepared for hot weather and amazing scenery.

ITALY – new!
Italian Great Lakes Cycle

Like the Tour de France, Italy hosts its own annual grand cycling tour, the Giro d’Italia. This prestigious cycling event pedals through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery, and now we have a brand new challenge dedicated to visiting some of these well ridden routes. With a leg-aching 400km between Lake Como and Lake Garda, this is no easy feat, but it will be so rewarding.

Italian Lakes

Feeling inspired to jump on your saddle? Take a look at our website for a full list of our cycling challenges, and sign up today!

Responsible Gambling Trust summit Kilimanjaro

A team of ambitious fundraisers from the Responsible Gambling Trust have climbed their way to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. All thirty trekkers scaled the mountain and reached the summit, raising funds to help minimise gambling-related harm in the UK.

Fundraisers from William Hill, Coral, Genting UK, Praesepe, SG Gaming, The Bingo Association and Inspired Gaming were all represented on the challenge, and the Responsible Gambling Trust are already underway with organising their next challenge; a trek to Machu Picchu.

Congratulations everyone!


Meet the Locals!

At Charity Challenge we are lucky enough to have friends in some of the most remote corners of the globe. We pride ourselves on promoting responsible tourism though supporting and working with nomadic communities, in particular by employing local guides and support teams. The challenges are not only physical but can be emotionally challenging and it is often the generous, welcoming nature and knowledge of the local people that really makes the experience.

Below are some of our friends and where you can find them…Maasai

Mingle with the Maasai communities of Africa on our African Bush Trek

The Maasai, known as the fiercest of warriors and perhaps the most revered of the great African nomadic tribes originated in the Nile basin and migrated south through Ethiopia to Kenya and Tanzania in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, today they struggle to retain their modest lifestyle.

Our African Bush Trek takes you to the foothills of the 2,590m tall Mt. Longido, a sacred Maasai mountain, you can trek across the floor of the Great Rift Valley right to the foothills of the visually stunning Crater Highlands with the Maasai as your guides.

En route, you will also have the chance to visit Mt. Kitumbeine, the game-filled plains of Nagarirat, Gelai Village, and the escarpment of the Great African Rift Valley. Expect to be captivated by the beauty of this region, which is known as “the Cradle of Mankind”.

Get your Poncho on with the Andean communities of Peru – Trek Machu Picchu 

This unique alternative to the extremely busy Inca Trail is far off the beaten track, and you will see diverse and spectacular scenery as you glimpse a way of Peruvian life that has remained untouched for centuries. As you walk through these endless stunning valleys, youAndean community will meet Andean farmers dressed in their traditional brightly coloured ponchos tending herds of Llamas and Alpacas. You will get to meet the local communities and visit a local school supported by Charity Challenge.

The region is also home to the Baños Del Inca, probably the best hot springs in southern Peru. Situated at an altitude of 2,667m, the springs offer spectacular views of snowy peaks and glaciers such as Mounts Veronica, Chicon and Pumahaunca. As you continue along your route, you will also take in the dazzling sights of glacial blue lakes. You will eventually have some time to explore the ruins at Machu Picchu, the ‘lost City of the Incas’. These breathtaking pre Columbian ruins are nestled high in the Andes between two peaks. The ruins were rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham and are one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world.












Bunk with the Buddhists in Burma on our Burma Trek

Famed for its regal history, unique culture and magnificent temples, Burma (Myanmar) remains one of the last unexplored countries in Southeast Asia. This challenge will take you to the beautiful Inle Lake through the Shan Hills where you will trek for five days through mountainous tribal villages staying in Buddhists monasteries on route.Buddhists Burma

The route will take you from the modern, bustling city of Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon with its colonial architecture and the golden Shwedagon Paya (pagoda and stupa) the most sacred site in the country for Burmese Buddhists. You will have a full day to explore the city with its fabulous mix of architecture and religious sites. The streets are filled with historical buildings many of which have a faded colonial charm not seen elsewhere in Asia.

Burma lakeAbsorb yourself in the life of the tribe’s people still practicing the same traditions as their forefathers finishing the challenge at Inle Lake, Burma’s most beautiful site. You will spend a day exploring the lake on a private boat, and pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles.

Make like the Mongolian’s on our Mongolian Horse Trek

Ride like a Mongolian, your challenge begins in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar where you will spend a day visiting the Gandan Monastery and Bogd Khan Palace before heading to the homeland of Genghis Khan. Genghis Khan was the founder and Great Khan (emperor) of the Mongol Empire. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia. After founding the Mongol Empire and being proclaimed “Genghis Khan”, he started the Mongol invasions that mongolian horsesresulted in the conquest of most of Eurasia. By the end of his life, the Mongol Empire occupied a substantial portion of Central Asia and China.  Mongolian horses are renowned for their speed, strength and dexterity. This outstanding challenge will take you through partly forested, partly mountainous landscapes, interrupted by streams and rivers, being crystal clear, if not swollen from the summer rains.

Your horse riding adventure heads out to an engirdled and secluded region, for the most part untrodden as yet by tourists, though still within a few hours’ journey from the capital. You will ride along with your pack horses, starting from the Baga Khentii Mountains and ending at the Bogd Khan Mountain just south east of Ulaanbaatar. On the way you will see nomadic life at its finest. Being “Nomads” ourselves, we will experience their hospitality and mongolian childrenlearn about their lives.

You can hike along the forested hillsides or visit a local village to find out about traditional ways of life. A stranger is immediately a friend and the comfort of the ger is remarkable, making Mongolia a true gem for the intrepid traveler.


Share secrets with the Sapa Hill Tribes in Vietnam

sapa hill tribe 1

Trek into one of the most densely populated hill tribe areas of the country, with a natural, wild feel about the region.  Sapa is a typical rugged northern Vietnamese area with lots of terraces, large rolling hills, deep valleys and rice fields.  Your trek takes you along scenic trails and off the beaten path, through remote hill tribe villages of Nam Ket, Red Dao Village of Sin Chai, Nam Cum village, Thanh Phu and  Seo Mi Ty village of the Black H’mong.

sapa hill tribe 2










Live life like a local in Little Tibet

Isolated for many months of the year by snow, Ladakh remains one of the best places to experience the unique culture of the high Himalaya.  With its snow covered peaks, remote villages, and ancient Buddhist monasteries, Ladakh truly is like being transported to another world!

little tibet 1

Your flight from Delhi to Leh, or ‘Little Tibet’ as it is commonly known, takes in many of the Himalayan peaks. The peak of Stok Kangri stands out in the mountains as it turns from crimson to sparkling white on the skyline of Leh. Leh is the product of various cultural influences, today it is a Buddhist refuge, and in the past a trading post on the ancient silk route.

A walk to the Shanti Stupa will give you fantastic views of Leh, the Indus Valley and River, and the beautiful surrounding snow-capped peaks. You will be invited for tea at the Lingshed Area Project, a children’s home project based in Ladakh.

little tibet 2

This wildly beautiful desert region high in the Western Himalayas is a place of few resources and an extreme climate, yet it has been home to a thriving culture for more than a thousand years. Trek through picturesque and ancient villages with a lifestyle unchanged for centuries.

This trek is one of the most varied and beautiful treks that we offer, the route passes through terrain which changes from incredibly narrow valleys to wide-open vast expanses! It is made all the more interesting by the ancient form of Buddhism that flourishes in the many monasteries that dot the landscape.

Test Thai hospitality in our Thai Jungle Trek

This expedition takes place in western Thailand’s Kanchanaburi Province, location of

thai jungle trek 1 the infamous Death Railway and Bridge over the River Kwai. Kanchanaburi is inhabited by a mixture of Burmese, Karen, Mon and Thai peoples. The challenge will take you through the rugged jungles in remote parts of the province close to the border with Burma.

You will spend six days trekking, rafting and kayaking through the forests and mountains of the Thung Yai Nareusan Wildlife Sanctuary. The Thung Yai area is home to the Karen people who traditionally live in small villages and forest communities. They know the region better than anybody else and will be your hosts and guides for the challenge. You will stay overnight in a Karen village consisting of bamboo stilt houses and at a campsite on the banks of the river. Once the challenge is complete, you will return to Bangkok, home to the Royal Palace and Wat Po.

thai jungle trek 2












Spread smiles for miles in our Saigon to Angkor Wat Cycle

This challenge entails cycling 450kms past plantations, across waterways and through villages deep in the heart of the lush Mekong Delta in Vietnam, to the dry lands and contrasting sights of ancient Cambodia.

saigon 2 angkor wat 1

You will pass temples and countless colourful pagodas, havens of calm and tranquility and bustling markets. Few locals will have seen foreigners cycling past, and their interest and hospitality will spur on even the most tired cyclist.

Your final destination is the town of Siem Reap, from which you can explore the ancient city of Angkor. Built from 879-1191AD by the Khmer civilization, Angkor represents one of humankind’s most astonishing architectural achievements, becoming a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

If all this has got you in the mood to make some new friends, head to the Charity Challenge website and begin your challenge now!

saigon to angkor wat 2

Jack Dee talks on ‘the last leg’ about the ‘BT Red Nose Challenge: Hell and High Water’ – reminiscing about the Crocs, Dara’s misadventure & “Tarzan” Zambezi river guide Sven!

Take on the Zambezi River Challenge yourself!

Follow in the Paddle strokes of the Celebrity Comic Relief team, and take on the Zambezi river challenge! Itinerary includes white water rafting and taking on the rapids at the foot of the awe inspiring Victoria Falls, check out the brand new challenge here!

If you want to learn more about this challenges and the many other amazing challenges we offer, you can visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com. To keep up to date on all Charity Challenge news, please enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

25 years of Red Nose Day

The wrapping up of the ‘BT Red Nose Challenge: Hell and High Water’ neatly correlates with a big day at Comic Relief, the 25th anniversary of the very first Red Nose Day!

As it states on the Red Nose Day website, it’s been 25 years since Red Nose Day first burst onto our screens, and thanks to the generosity of the British public since 1988 – over £600 million has been raised through 13 Red Nose Days.

Whether it’s at work, at school or at home, the money raised is used to transform the lives of countless people, both here at home in the UK and across Africa. During day 3 of the Hell and High water challenge, the team visited a local Zambian school and found out just how necessary every penny raised is.

Once again, the nation is gearing up to put on their Noses, pull out all the stops, and get fundraising. The ‘BT Red Nose Challenge: Hell and High Water’ documentary, which shows what went down on Zambezi, and what the team went through to earn your sponsorship of £570492 for Comic Relief, will be aired during Red Nose day 2013, on March 15th.

So let’s make the 25th Red Nose Day the most successful ever!

To keep up to date on all things Hell and High water, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our Blog, YouTube account and mailing list.

If you’ve been inspired and want to take on your own experience of a lifetime, then check out our amazing and global range of treks, bike rides and mountain climbs here. You can even take part in our exclusive Zambezi challenge. Click here to receive details once the challenge is complete.

The BT Red Nose Challenge: Hell and High Water – day by day video diary!

The challenge saw former Spice Girl and current solo artist Melanie Chisholm, Waterloo Road actress and Strictly Come Dancing runner up Chelsee Healey, Radio 1 DJ Greg James, Olympian Phillips Idowu and top comedians Dara O’Briain and Jack Dee battling the rapids and dodging the crocs and hippos as they canoed and white water rafted over 100kms down Africa’s mighty Zambezi River… all in the name of raising vital funds and awareness for Comic Relief!

Day 1

The team started their journey by paddling in the traditional dugout canoes used by local fisherman on the river. They had to get to grips with poling and paddling these hollowed-out tree trunks, whilst navigating their way through busy ferry crossings.

Day 2

After spending their first night in the wilderness, day 2 saw the team tackle a series of upper Zambezi rapids in inflatable two-men canoes, often referred to as “divorce boats”. They to be careful to keep an out for the pods of hippos and resident crocodiles that call the Zambezi their home.

Day 3

On Day 3, the celebrity team joined children from a local village on their daily 2 hour walk to their nearest school. This is where the team truly began to understand the importance of their journey – to help children in Zambia go to school. These is also the day where the team had a couple of encounters of the wild kind…

Day 4

On Day 4, the team made their way towards the top of Victoria Falls in an inflatable raft, here they learnt the real importance of team work as if they don’t paddle together they simply won’t go anyway. The day finished on Livingstone Island, on the edge of the falls.

Day 5

On day 5, the challenge culminated on the awesome white water beneath Victoria Falls. They team had to brave 16kms of some of the most treacherous rapids in the world, such as the “Gnashing jaws of death”, “Oblivion” and the “Overland Truck Eater”!

To keep up to date on all things Hell and High water, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our Blog, YouTube account and mailing list. You can also find out all about the challenge and see the latest news here.

If you’ve been inspired and want to take on your own experience of a lifetime, then check out our amazing and global range of treks, bike rides and mountain climbs here. You can even take part in our exclusive Zambezi challenge. Click here to receive details once the challenge is complete.

Comic Relief celebrities complete ‘Hell and High Water’ Zambezi challenge for Red Nose Day

Celebrities including comedian Dara O’Briain, singer Mel C and Radio 1 DJ Greg James have successfully completed their ambitious to travel along the Zambezi river to raise money for Comic Relief.

Traveling for 100km over five days, they completed their epic mission this afternoon after a final day of battling dangerous rapids.

Greg James said after finishing: ‘Let me sum up how I’m feeling in one phrase – I’m over it. It’s been really tough. But we’re here, we’ve been doing this challenge and we all look like idiots, but the point is to raise a lot of money for the people we’ve been meeting out here.’

Dara O’Briain added: ‘Huge thanks to everyone who supported and donated the Zambesi challenge. Finished this afternoon after a hairy day on the rapids. Exhausted.’

The official Red Nose Day page said the team – which also included comedian Jack Dee, athlete Phillips Idowu and actress Chelsee Healey – was ‘exhausted, exhilarated and very soggy.’

The challenge proved to be one of the more dangerous tasks attempted in the name of Comic Relief, with fears raised on day two after Idowu and O’Briain were unreachable for an hour after taking a wrong turn.

The final stages of the challenge saw the team clambering down a 200ft gorge on a ladder, known locally as ‘the steps of doom’.

During the final stages the rapids were so fierce that their support team were thrown into the water.

The ‘Hell and High Water’ challenge hopes to raise £1million to help children in Zambia go to school.

If you want to donate, head to rednoseday.com.

Source – The Metro – http://metro.co.uk/2013/02/01/comic-relief-celebrities-complete-hell-and-high-water-zambezi-challenge-for-red-nose-day-3378049/

To keep up to date on all things Hell and High water, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our Blog, YouTube account and mailing list. You can also find out all about the challenge and see the latest news here.

If you’ve been inspired and want to take on your own experience of a lifetime, then check out our amazing and global range of treks, bike rides and mountain climbs here. You can even take part in our exclusive Zambezi challenge. Click here to receive details once the challenge is complete.

And that’s job done! Congratulations to the Red Nose Team Zambezi! Nearly £400,000 raised for Comic Relief! now that is worth going through Hell and High Water for… Thank you to everyone who donated!

A massive well done to Melanie Chisholm, Chelsee Healey, Greg James, Phillips Idowu, Dara O’Briain and Jack Dee for surviving Hell and High Water and going above and beyond for Comic Relief!

To keep up to date on all things Hell and High water, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to our Blog, YouTube account and mailing list. You can also find out all about the challenge and see the latest news here.

If you’ve been inspired and want to take on your own experience of a lifetime, then check out our amazing and global range of treks, bike rides and mountain climbs here. You can even take part in our exclusive Zambezi challenge. Click here to receive details once the challenge is complete.