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Carly Rowena is a personal trainer and fitness blogger. Her body sculpting tutorials and positive attitude have seen her soar to success, and she now has a network of over 146k followers on Instagram.
After successfully setting up her own yoga and fitness retreats, last year Carly approached Exodus to plan something special for her channels. With the help and expertise of our Tailormade Adventures team, Carly organised the challenge of a lifetime: A trek to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Once the itinerary was confirmed, Carly invited 16 of her loyal followers to join her on this amazing expedition. Within two days the Exodus trip was sold out.
The CarlyRowena Challenge: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro followed the less crowded Rongai Route which approaches Kilimanjaro from the North. The group trekked through breathtaking farmland, forest and alpine moorlands, battling altitude sickness, freezing nights and a terrible storm to reach the summit.
On completing the trek, Carly says that Kili was the hardest challenge of her life, but the climb itself wasn’t actually that difficult. She says if you take away the weather and altitude sickness, anyone could do it!
We caught up with her after this awesome adventure to ask about the highs, the lows, and everything in between…
Q&A with Carly Rowena
Have you ever climbed a mountain before?
I’ve climbed several smaller mountains, certainly nothing of this scale – I’m addicted now though and can’t wait to climb my next one!
How much training did you have to do to prepare for the Kilimanjaro challenge?
I created a 3 month training plan for those joining me on the mountain, it consisted of long walks with a backpack, using the stepper at the gym and using weights to build full-body strength, training was mainly about endurance.
What was your favourite part of the trek?
It is impossible to choose one favourite part of the trek. Not only were the views breathtaking, but the support around us made it the most incredible experience.
I’ll always smile when I think of everyone singing Bon Jovi ‘Living on a Prayer’ as we tackled a really steep path on day 3, and I’ll never forget learning songs with our porters… plus the group peeing became a kind of tradition!
What was the biggest challenge you faced during your Kili climb?
Altitude sickness was something I really hadn’t taken into consideration but unfortunately, I was the first person to get it. Nausea, loss of appetite and an intense headache made the climb so much harder.
But it was made so much easier by the love of those around me, the porters singing, smiling and offering to hold my backpack and just the amazing mountain in front of me!
You invited 16 of your followers to join you on this awesome expedition. Why did you want to invite other women to join you?
I had always wanted to climb Kilimanjaro but realised I had no-one around me who wanted to take on the challenge. It made me wonder how many other people there were out there that wanted to do the same thing but had no-one to go with.
So, I decided to put it out to social media and see if anyone wanted to join me, I was so happy to see that so many people did!
What made you choose to book and plan your trip with Exodus?
The website is beautiful, the trip list is incredibly extensive and the staff so friendly and helpful, it was a no-brainer and I’m so excited to travel with Exodus again!
Carly on the summit of Kilimanjaro
Watch her Kilimanjaro Trek Youtube video:
View our trips to Kilimanjaro and plan your own adventure.