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Photos from the climb

Photos and messages from the Chaeli Kili Climbers and supporters.

Videos from the climb

This is what it feels like to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

Are you ready?
Hiking through the dark on summit day with the real men of the mountain
Adam's highlights real from the trip
The porters sing for Chaeli and the Kilimanjaro climbers
Taylor checking in at 4705m just before summit night
Arriving at the airport ahead of the Kilimanjaro climb
Kilimanjaro porters singing and dancing
Chaeli celebrates her birthday on Kilimanjaro
Chaeli and Taylor chat about the short vs long days of climbing


The Story of the Climb

Most recent posts appearing at the top

Meet Chaeli and The Chaeli Campaign

Chaeli Mycroft has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user.

Chaeli Mycroft Image: Byron Keulemans

Chaeli is an ability activist who aims to change society’s perception of people with disabilities.

Chaeli begins her 7-day ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro on 27 August 2015 with a team of six committed climbers from South Africa known as the Chaeli Kili Climbers.

The purpose of the climb is to raise awareness and funds for The Chaeli Campaign – specifically for their Inclusive Education Programme and Chaeli Cottage Inclusive Pre-school and Enrichment Centre run from Chaeli Cottage.

The team's fundraising goal is R1 million.

We believe Chaeli is the first female quadriplegic to climb Kilimanjaro.

On 30 August, the second day on the mountain, Chaeli will celebrate her 21st birthday.

The Chaeli Campaign assists more than 5000 people annually

The Chaeli Campaign was founded in 2004 by Chaeli and her sister Erin, together with lifelong friends, Tarryn, Justine and Chelsea Terry. Their aim was to raise funds for Chaeli’s need for a motorised wheelchair.

They achieved this goal in seven weeks, raising R20,000, which convinced them to start a non-profit organisation and continue to help other children with disabilities throughout South Africa.

The Chaeli Campaign works towards inclusion and growing an awareness of the ability of people with disabilities. Chaeli has incorporated this into her own life and this Kilimanjaro climb is highlighting her ABILITY and not her DISABILITY.

About The Chaeli Campaign

Teamwork that becomes Dreamwork

Children with disabilities have to be conquerors every day. There are many challenges that need to be overcome to live full lives despite their disabilities. To live one’s life the way one wishes to, is to be a Conqueror. Being a Conqueror is a choice, a state-of mind. It reaches beyond your own personal circumstances.

Chaeli gathered a team of Conquerors to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in August 2015, with the aim to show how important it is to work together to attain a seemingly impossible goal. Their goal is to show that one’s physical disability places no limitations on what one is able to achieve.

Through this initiative, these Chaeli Conquerors will raise funds in support of the Inclusive Education Programme and the Chaeli Cottage Inclusive Preschool and Enrichment Centre.

What is the Kili team climbing for?

ECD Skills Development Community Project

The Chaeli Campaign runs an education programme in Masiphumelele, Khayelitsha and Phillipi. Our Community Worker and Occupational Therapist work extensively in the communities and provide the following:

  • Community outreach through therapies
  • Early detection of various barriers to learning
  • Essential ECD skills training to equip learners for Gr 1
  • Parents/caregiver capacity building to facilitate home carry-over
  • Educator capacity building

Chaeli Cottage Inclusive Pre-School & Enrichment Centre

On 19 February 2015 the Chaeli Cottage Pre-School and Enrichment Centre was officially opened. It is a place of belonging and learning for all children – irrespective of ability.

The Chaeli Cottage Pre-School and Enrichment Centre currently facilitates learning for six disabled children, five of whom have no functional language. We also have four non-disabled children who attend. The pre-school is growing organically through word-of-mouth and it is our goal to have 20 children enrolled by the end of 2015.

Chaeli Cottage Pre-School and Enrichment Centre


Meet the Team

Chaeli Kili Climbers

Michaela ‘Chaeli’ Mycroft Motivator

Michaela is an ability activist currently studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Politics and Social Development at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She is the winner of the 2011 International Children’s Peace Prize, the 2012 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Medal for Social Activism and the 2013 World of Children Youth Award. She is a motivational speaker and Conqueror. Chaeli will celebrate her 21st birthday on Kilimanjaro.

Favourite saying: "My greatest strength is that I believe that I can do anything"

Adam ‘Captain’ Schäfer Troubleshooter

Adam served in the navy for a number of years and is now a ship’s captain with Smit Amandla in Mozambique. He is married and has two daughters. Climbing Kilimanjaro for a cause has been on his bucket list for as long as he can remember.

Favourite saying: "Team work makes your dream work"

Taylor 'Tay' Jackson Entertainer

Taylor is a third year student at UCT and the lead singer of the band ‘Forefront”. Although he is studying Politics and Economics, his passion for music is what gets him through the day. Taylor lived in Tanzania when he was younger and has always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro.

Favourite saying: "Sup homie"

Carel 'Ceeps' Verhoef Tour Leader

Carel is a bush child, born and bred. He previously worked as a safari guide and manager in East Africa for 10 years. He lived in the Serengeti for two years, documenting the movements and routes of the great migration. Carel has climbed Kilimanjaro once a year for the last nine years.

Favourite saying: “Lean forward... and breathe...”

Sally Grierson Team Carer

Sally, born in Zimbabwe and raised in Cape Town, has been gifted with a love of travel and nature. She trained as a physiotherapist at UCT and travelled extensively. Her love of Africa brought her back to Cape Town, where she now does inbound marketing for travellers visiting the city.

Favourite saying: "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." (African proverb)

Thembi Chagonda Mamma Bear

Thembi Chagonda is the Managing Director of Global Business Solutions, a labour law consultancy and training company. She is also a trustee for an Education Trust, as well as director of Khulisani, which provides employment and business opportunities to people with disabilities. Thembi is mom to three beautiful children.

Favourite saying: "Never give up!"

Anne Henschel Nurturer

Anne Henschel is the Managing Director of Nordex Energy South Africa. She has been in the Renewable Energy business and with the Nordex Group since 2000 and has served in various corporate and local functions throughout Europe and the World. Anne is an incredible mom to two sons.

Favourite saying: “Be calm and face the risk”

Johanna Gallego Adventurer

Johanna Gallego is an enthusiastic Colombian who has travelled the world seeking new adventures. At the age of 18, she went to Spain and then Denmark to study filmmaking, working with world renowned photographers and videographers. Johanna now lives in Cape Town and will be capturing all the special moments on the mountain.

Favourite saying: "Think positive and have a good attitude in life"

Preparing for Kilimanjaro


Altitude training

Altitude training

Carel usually prepares his climbers by doing free-diving four weeks prior to the climb. This helps to keep the body’s oxygen levels between 95% and 100% throughout the climb. However, it would have been difficult to get Chaeli to free-dive.

To help Chaeli and the team with the initial altitude gain from Cape Town which is at sea-level to 3000m in the short space of 48-hours, they trained at an Altitude Training Centre at BikePlus, which is a bike repair shop in Constantia, Cape Town. The goal was to see if Chaeli would acclimatize at an acceptable rate and she achieved this comfortably, giving her and the rest of the team the best chance possible to get to the summit of Kilimanjaro.

Mountain guides and the support team

Deciding who you climb with is one of the most important decisions to make before any climb. Usually, a group of seven climbers would have around 14 porters, one head guide and two assistant guides with camp support staff, giving you a 3:1 staff to climber.

Only the head guide and assistant guides would summit with a group of climbers from base camp (Kibo Camp). However, for this climb the formula was changed because the group required more support on the summit evening, which meant that the group needed more guides that could function above 5000m.

The team will be taking the usual complement of porters and camp staff up the mountain, but doubled up on altitude-abled crew as well as four more assistant guides. Within the team itself Sally and Carel are the only two altitude-proven members and they will provide sound decision-making and experience.

Ake Lindstrom, owner of Summits Africa has climbed Kilimanjaro 50 times, has done many rescue missions on the mountain in the past and will be on standby for the team in case things go awry. Summits Africa has huge experience in rescues on Kilimanjaro and the climbers are in the best hands possible.

Mountain guides at Gilman's point

Ake Lindstrom

About Summits Africa

Summits Africa is a specialist adventure outfitter created from a space where there is a respect for mountains, altitude, guides and support staff.

Summits Africa has played a lead role in providing training for Tanzanian mountain guides, porters and camp support staff and they are also the main provider of rescues on Kilimanjaro not just for their own clients but for all the operators on Kilimanjaro.

Ake Lindstrom, the owner of Summits Africa, is a true mountain person who has had to endure the failure of summiting Everest due to avalanche. He accepted his fate gracefully and returned to Nepal to help after the most recent set of earthquakes that hit the tourism dependent country. This is exactly the type of operator you need for a climb like this.

Safety on the mountain

Ake Lindstrom, founder of Summits Africa, talks mountain safety.

Why the Rongai Route?

There are seven popular routes up Mount Kilimanjaro. Why the Rongai Route?

Gentlest Route

It gives the climbers the easiest gradient up the mountain, with the least amount of topographical obstacles in our way.

Quietest Route

The climbers may need some space for our camp and some low pressure days early on where they can focus on acclimatizing at their own pace.

Time to Acclimatize

To prevent altitude sickness, the ‘walk high, sleep low’ method is achieved at the crucial altitude of between 4000 and 4500 meters. The climbers will spend an extra night at 3rd Cave, which will help those who are acclimatizing slower.

Clear, Dry Weather

The eastern rain-shadow side of Kilimanjaro is almost guaranteed to be dry. The climbers didn’t want to start off slip-sliding away through the forest. Starting on the sunny side of the mountain is a much better choice.

A four year journey from idea to summit

The seed was first planted in July 2011. Four years later Chaeli commences her greatest physical challenge to date.


Video from an overnight training hike.

Chaeli's Big Challenges on the Mountain

Every aspect of daily care has been considered and planned for, to reduce any discomforts or health risks on the mountain.


Chewing and swallowing can be difficult so meal planning with soft foods and liquid sustenance is important. Motor skills such as holding a cup, using cutlery or transferring food to your mouth are difficult and assistance is needed. Medication cannot be in tablet form as it cannot be swallowed.


The muscles that open and close the mouth, lips and tongue for eating also affect speech, making communication difficult to understand. Time and concentration makes interaction easier, but we don’t know if altitude could affect the ability to express.

Getting Dressed

Dressing someone with limited range of movement at key joints, tight muscles and uncontrolled movements can be challenging. Loose, oversized clothing makes it easier to get an item of clothing on properly.

Personal Hygiene

Dealing with bladder infections or a frozen catheter on a mountain could cause major complications. Urinary catheterization is easier at home however it does pose some risks at altitude.

Staying Warm

Ensuring that Chaeli maintains her core internal temperature is very important. For example, during a training hike on a warm day in Cape Town, it suddenly became cloudy and a light breeze created a chill in the air. Not long after the weather changed, her temperature dropped and her team had to immediately find a beanie, blankets and a jacket to warm her up.


The whole team will help Chaeli with her personal hygiene and getting dressed. Teamwork, good communication and planning every step of getting dressed will be important in ensuring that there’s very little exposure to the elements.


The Kili Climbers help Chaeli into her Kilimanjaro 'onesie'.

See beyond ability

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu gets behind Chaeli and the Kili Climbers.

Messages of support

Messages of support for Chaeli and the Kili Climbers. Leave your own message.

This could be you

Show your support

Leave your very own message of support for Chaeli and the Kili Climbers on Facebook and Twitter using the buttons below.

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Please also 'Like' or 'Follow' The Chaeli Campaign so that we can keep you posted as Chaeli and the Kili Climbers make their way up Kilimanjaro.

Zelda Mycroft Mom to Chaeli and CEO of The Chaeli Campaign

"Good luck as you embark on this epic adventure. This is going to show people what amazing things can happen through teamwork."

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Rob van Vuuren Comedian, actor and more

"Chaeli, you're an absolute inspriation. You're always doing amazing things. Best of luck for your trip. You are awesome."

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Vanessa Haywood Sandes Actress

"You guys rock. Chaeli, you truly are an inspiration!"

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Helen Zille Western Cape Premier

"You go Chaeli. Another horizon, another peak to reach."

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Dieter Schroder DueSouth

"We wish you all the best. You have our full support."

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Di Schafer Adam's wife

"Best of luck. We know you can do it!"

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Rob Vember KFM Radio Presenter and Patron of The Chaeli Campaign

"We cannot wait to see the pics of you summitng that mountain. We wish you strength and courage."

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Mark Boucher Ex wicket keeper for The Protea’s

@ChaeliCampaign good luck!!! Will be tough, but a great adventure! Will follow with interest!

FW De Klerk Former president of South Africa

"Chaeli’s ambitious goal of becoming the first female quadriplegic to summit Kilimanjaro is yet another example of how this remarkable young woman has chosen to live a full life, despite her disabilities."

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Nik Rabinowitz Comedian

"Big up to The Chaeli Campaign. I wish you well to the top of Kilimanjaro..." (and then he starts singing...)

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Achmat Hassiem Shark Boy

"I wish you guys all the best of luck. It’s an amazing feat. See you in the gym when you get back."

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Marc Dullaert Founder of KidsRights Foundation

"I'm really deeply impressed and amazed with the expedition you're going on with your team. As an ability activist, you show that no mountain is too high. "

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Chaeli's past achievements


2011 International Children’s Peace Prize

The International Children’s Peace Prize is an initiative of Marc Dullaert, Chairman and Founder of the Dutch KidsRights Foundation, and is awarded annually to a child, anywhere in the world, for his or her dedication to children’s rights.

Chaeli was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize for her work as an ability activist.

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2012 Social Activism Medal presented by Nobel Peace Laureates

On 24 April 2012, Chaeli was awarded the Social Activism medal at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Chicago, Illinois. Former president, FW De Klerk, presented Chaeli with this medal.

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2013 World of Children Youth Award

The Youth Award recognizes a young person under the age of 21 who has made significant contributions in the lives of other children.

The award assists extraordinary young people to expand their impact and ensure more children’s lives are inspired, improved and changed forever.

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2013 Completed 1st Cape Town Cycle Tour

Chaeli completed her first Cape Town Cycle Tour with her cycling partner at the time, Grant Kruger. Chaeli was in a buggy attached to the back axle of Grant’s bicycle. While Grant pedalled, Chaeli tweeted! They crossed the finish line in 5 hours, 29 minutes and 43 seconds.

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2015 Gold in Latin American and Ballroom at the Wheelchair Dancing World Cup

This year Chaeli and her dance partner, Damian Michaels, competed in the annual Wheelchair Dancing World Cup which took place in The Netherlands in April 2015. The couple won gold in both Ballroom and Latin sections and are now Double World Champions.
(Photo: Jacek Reda)

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We are very grateful to our sponsors

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Press Enquiries

The media and press can help by spreading Chaeli's message

Simon Mukasa
Chaeli Campaign Communications Coordinator

South Africa: 021 761 4326
Mobile / International: +27 82 507 4108
Email: simon@chaelicampaign.co.za

We look forward to hearing from you.

Did You Know?

Interesting facts about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Highest free-standing mountain in the world

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain on the African continent and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.

Source: World Wildlife Fund

Minus 18 C at the peak

Temperatures at the peak can be 0 degrees F (minus 18 C), and if the winds are blowing, the wind chills reach dangerous levels.

Source: Live Science

82% of its ice cap lost

At one stage the whole mountain summit was covered by an ice cap, probably more than 100 meters deep. However, since 1912 Kilimanjaro has lost 82% of its ice cap and since 1962 it has lost 55% of its remaining glaciers.

Source: Climb Kilimanjaro Guide

Fastest ascent and descent

The fastest ascent and descent of Mount Kilimanjaro is held by Swiss mountain runner, Karl Egloff, who ran to the top of the summit and back in 6 hours and 42 minutes in August 2014.

Source: Climb Kilimanjaro Guide

Altitude sickness

Out of the approximate 25000 people who attempt to summit each year, about one third don't make it due to altitude sickness.

Source: Stand with Stan

Three volcanic cones

Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones: Kibo 19,340 feet (5,895 meters); Mawenzi 16,896 feet (5,149 meters); and Shira 13,000 feet (3,962 meters).

Source: About.com


96% of all rain on Kilimanjaro falls below 3000m. The average yearly rainfall at Kibo Huts (highest hut on Marangu route) is less than 200mm.

Source: Mount Kilimanjaro Guide

Ecological system

Almost every kind of ecological system is found on the mountain: cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, alpine desert and an arctic summit.

Source: World Wildlife Fund

Successful summit depends on days

The chances of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro is highly dependent on the number of days taken to trek the mountain. The more days the higher the probability of success as your body has more time to adapt and acclimatize.

Source: Climb Kilimanjaro Guide

First ascent in 1889

In 1889, German geographer Hans Meyer and Austrian mountain climber Ludwig Purtscheller were the first to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Source: Stand with Stan