Ten dedicated women to climb Mt Meru in support of rhinos

2013-11-01 00:00

NOTHING appears to stand in the way of 10 women from Durban already deep in preparations to climb Mount Meru in Tanzania early next year to raise funds for rhino protection.

The women, who are supporting the Celebrate Life SA non-profit organisation, have started hiking at several locations in the Drakensberg to get into shape for the mammoth task of climbing the 4 500 metre-high giant ahead of them.

Mount Meru is located 70 kilometres west of Mount Kilimanjaro. The group chose this mountain because it boasts the peaks Rhino Point and Wildlife Point, which they thought very apt for their mission.

The first leg of their training was a three-day walk from Bushman’s Neck going through to Lesotho, where they spent every night in a cave after the day’s hike.

The organisation’s founder and team member, Cherry Armstrong (54) from Umhlanga, said the three-day hike was gruelling. “We had to push ourselves to the limit, which was good.

“Not only was it a physical challenge, but it required mental strength as well,” Armstrong said.

Having been born in Kenya, the love for the continent took root in Armstrong as she grew up.

“I have a thing for Kenya. I think it’s the heart of Africa. Our heritage is very important and we should safeguard it at all costs,” she said.

Armstrong is not a novice to mountain hiking. In 2005, she and 12 other women participated in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise close to R500 000 for Hospice.

Malcolm Miller, who will be training the women in climbing techniques, said it was a pleasure to work with the group again. “They are a dedicated bunch of ladies who are willing to sweat in order to raise funds for their worthwhile causes.”

Armstrong said one of her biggest dreams is to build a rhino sanctuary in the north of the province.

“Adopting one orphaned baby rhino costs R100 000 and that’s a lot of money. I’ve appealed to businesses to help build the sanctuary. We want to protect vultures, lions, elephants and all endanged species,” she said. Armstrong said their focal point was to alleviate human and environmental suffering.

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