A group of 11 climbers have made history as the first ever all-black American expedition team to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. Located in Tanzania, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a legendary adventure that attracts climbers from around the world.

The unique group, ranging in age from 25 to 60, met through Outdoor Afro, a national non-profit organization founded on creating a network that inspires black connections and leadership in nature. With groups located in 30 states around the U.S., the organization has helped connect black nature lovers.

The training to climb Africa’s tallest mountain took the group a year. “I would go on 6.5 to 10.5-mile hikes carrying packs with weights on my back once per week,” said Olatunde Gholaha, a father of two from Austin, Texas. Olatunde was the only man in the group to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, along with four women.

The team climbed four to six hours each day for five days, climbing through the south-western slopes of the mountain. They embarked on the summit at 11 p.m. and climbed through the dark, walking up a 45-degree incline. Out of the 11 climbers, only five made it to the top.

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“I’m going to make it, the sun will come up– I just kept repeating that to myself. I had to make it to the top for my family, my support system, the people back in Boston — I’m doing this for my team,” says Chaya Harris, one of the five to reach the top and make history! 

If you’re a nature lover and would love to connect with others, check out Outdoorafro.com

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Roman Debotch is a filmmaker, photographer, and co-founder of blackexcellence.com. Through the platform that is Black Excellence, she has been able to marry her passion for story telling with her passion for issues affecting the black community. Roman earned her B.A. in Film and TV Studies and ventured into the world of video production after college. She produced music, corporate, and event videos for years before co-founding BlackExcellence.com. Since then, she has been working as a contributor to the platform as well as continuing her video production business. The very limited time Roman is away from either writing or shooting a video, she can be found hiking or enjoying one of Southern California's beautiful beaches.

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