Tag Archive for Trekking Blogs

5 reasons why trekking the Sahara Desert is an incredible experience

Why trek the Sahara Desert?

Is it to conquer the world’s largest hot desert? To try delicious Moroccan cuisine? Or to spend your nights under Africa’s star strewn skies?

Sahara Desert Group trek

Charity Challenge’s Adventure Travel Consultant, Alex, recently completed the Sahara Desert Trek. Here are the top reasons why she found it an unforgettable experience:

You really experience getting ‘off the grid’ – The Sahara Desert Trek is a real chance to escape everyday life and fully immerse yourself in the challenge. There is no Wi-Fi from the moment you leave the hotel and signal can be patchy as well. At some points you really feel like you are the only ones in the desert. This may sound horrifying to many of us, but Alex and her fellow trekkers said it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

Charity Challenge group trekking across the Sahara Desert There are lots of opportunities to interact with local Berbers and nomads – one of the best thing about the Sahara Desert Trek is the chance to speak to locals. The entire trek support team, including the leader, are Berbers and have in depth knowledge of the area. Whilst not all of them speak English, you can still communicate through smiles and the team will always be on hand to help you with anything you need. Local nomadic families also visit the camp to sell soft drinks and small gifts which you can take home to friends and family.

The night sky – this challenge will give you the chance to see some of the best stars/night time scenery you’ll ever see. The lack of light pollution in the desert means that there is nothing blocking your panoramic views of the stars. Prepare to be wowed! Your local guide will be able to point out constellations and watch out for those shooting stars – remember to make a wish!!

The outstanding scenery – the ever changing terrain and vistas of the Sahara desert will provide an incredible backdrop to your challenge. From the vivid sunrises and sunsets, to the seemingly never-ending plateaus, or climbing over mighty sand dunes and Jubels (Arabic for mountain) there really is something for everyone. The Sahara makes the perfect backdrop for those Instagram worthy photos, although we recommend putting down the camera and taking 5 minutes to soak up the views. Plus, some friendly Moroccan camels will accompany you on your trip. The perfect chance for a selfie!

Charity Challenge group trekking across the Sahara Desert A chance to make new friends – participants on recent Sahara Desert Treks all agree meeting a new group of like-minded people and spending the week with them was an absolute highlight of the trip. Experiencing a challenge together is a definite bonding experience and you will hopefully come away from the challenge having met some wonderful people who can be your trek buddies for life!

What are you waiting for? Book now to secure your spot on the Sahara Desert Trek for 2019.

5 Reasons to Visit Kyrgyzstan

We’re excited to introduce Kyrgyzstan as our latest challenge destination! A lesser-traveled part of the world, we asked Operations Manager Phili Newell for her top five reasons to visit this fascinating and beautiful country.


1) Its rich history

Life in Kyrgyzstan is still very much nomadic despite various countries dominating it throughout its history, making it a melting pot of culture in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan gained independence recently in 1991 with the breakup of the former USSR having previously ruled by Mongols; Chinese Manchus; and then Russia since 1876. Evidence of Soviet era is prominent in the giant statue of Lenin and the Soviet styled housing blocks of Bishkek, but as Central Asia’s largest mosque is completed and opens in 2017 you can feel the grip of communism slip away.


2) It has 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

A landlocked country, Kyrgyzstan is home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the Tien Shan mountain range; the network of trading routes making up the famous Silk Road; and Sulayman Mountain the most “sacred” mountain in Central Asia.


3) The scenery

Kyrgyzstan is a country less visited; the scenery is outstanding and as you trek through the rugged mountains you will wonder why you never thought of coming here before. Snow-capped mountains surround sweeping plains where herds of horses run wild and glacial rivers cut through the landscape, creating steep sided gorges where sheep and goats roam.


4) The food

Try Kyrgyzstan’s interesting cuisine, starting with the much loved fermented mare’s milk, Besk Barmak, lamb with noodles and broth; Samsy a tandoor cooked meat and onion filled pocket and found at the road side stalls for a quick snack; and dumplings known as Monty.


5) The challenge

The challenge itself will see you carrying all your own kit, including your tent, for the duration of your trek. You’ll be camping in gorges and trekking over mountain passes at an altitude of 3759m. Your average trek day will be about 6 hours before getting into camp where you’ll set up for the night, before gazing at the clear, star-studded skies.

Make sure you take a look at our Kyrgyzstan Trek challenge and maybe you could be ticking this exciting destination off your wishlist!

When Dreams and reality Collide Part 3 – Let the fundraising begin! – Laurie Sodomlak prepares for her Journey of a lifetime to Peru next year!

With the emails and letters sent to my friends and family, I started to see the donations come in.  With each donation came words of encouragement and energy. Sherry’s note reminded me of one of the reasons I was doing not only this challenge but the fundraising too!  Sherry is a survivor, and I will be carrying a pink ribbon for her.  I actually plan to carry a little box with items from a few people….people who want to be with me as I do this awesome challenge.  So far, I have Sherry’s pink ribbon, what else will be there with me???

Laurie, a challenge, a commitment and an adventure… go for it! Good luck and keep us updated, please. Hugs, Glenys

Way to go Laurie! Good luck on the Trek and please include us on your email list about your efforts. Connie & Ken

Way to go, Laurie. Carry a pink ribbon for me!  – Sherry

To my friend who dreams big, has the courage to follow through on those dreams and the strength of character to make great things happen. ~ Patti

I had a conversation with one of the fundraisers I work with through my job at the Foundation.  It was a young girl who hosted a garage sale.  She called it a Charity Garage sale, and told me she did not price anything, just asked people to make a donation.  I remember that she did very well with this concept and I decided to follow her lead.  Many of my friends and family made donations of items for the sale.

I had an article in the local paper  http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/herald/Headed-to-Peru-while-fundraising-for-breast-cancer-168506536.html  and I posted the article on Garage Sale day too.  I created pink posters and signs, made some pink ribbon cookies for the day, put an ad on Kijiji and my Facebook page too.

I will never forget the Friday as my friend Kathy and I opened the double garage door to start sorting items. The garage was FULL!!!  So many people had made donations of some very great items. With some skillful sorting we were able to be ready for our Saturday morning opening.

Saturday at 8am, the people started to come, we pinned a pink ribbon on their shirt, encouraged them to take a piece of literature donated from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, gave them a bag and asked them to find things they liked and make a donation to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  We were absolutely amazed at the generosity of the visitors.  They were visibly pleased to know their funds were going to a charity.  Many people shared their story of how they were connected to breast cancer.

I wish we would have kept track of the number of people who came through that garage on Saturday and Sunday and their stories.  It was a constant stream of kind, generous people who were pleased to support the Foundation.  I was so fortunate to have my good friends, Kathy and Rose to help plus my Mom, sister Barb and nieces Jenna and Kathryn.  It was an overwhelming weekend and I was able to add over $1470 to my fundraising.

If you’ve been inspired by to take on your own challenge of a lifetime whilst raising money for the charity of your choice, you can visit the charity challenge website at www.charitychallenge.ca where you can find lots of amazing challenges, including the Mt Kilimanjaro summit climb challenge, the Great Wall Discovery challenge and of course the Trek to Machu Picchu Charity Challenge based in Peru! You can also see more about my charity of choice, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation here