Kilimanjaro-every Nigerian kid that went through primary school knows this. It’s Africa’s highest peak and tallest moutain- 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level. The first persons known to have reached the summit of the mountain were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller in 1889. There is popular stereotype that black people don’t do life threatening adventures-Black lives matter lol. But the number of black folk you’ll find trekking in Nepal or scuba diving in Australia gets closer to 0. It even gets worse if you’re a Nigerian- we like our lives, in fact the saying “I can’t come and kill myself” says it all. But notwithstanding we have people who debunk this common stereotype- Meet James!
My name is James Amuta, I am a creative entrepreneur , filmmaker, writer, poet and publicist. I’ve always been a fan of creative adventure, which recently, expanded to include mountain climbing. I think creativity is a blank canvass to which you can paint literally anything you imagine, to help express your inner thoughts. Basically that’s who I am. An all–round creative guy.
Hmm, what am I scared of? I am definitely not afraid of heights or small spaces… or darkness and all those things. I think as a kid, I used to be a little scared of those loud, rickety, molue buses…But somehow, I later discovered that anything that made me afraid ended up stimulating me.
Challenges you faced up on Mt. Kilimanjaro
The challenges I faced were enormous. I literally almost died. I had to battle dangerous terrain, unpredictable weather, fatigue, exhaustion – honestly, I doubt if I can properly describe the physical and mental torture. You have to experience it, in order to understand. Everything seems to be against you on that mountain, you walk for eight to twelve hours every day with the hope of getting to the summit, and you do this every day for six consecutive days. It like everything on that mountain is designed to test you, and keep you from getting to the summit. The cold! Oh, it’s unimaginably cold close to the summit.I think when I got to the summit, the temperature was about minus 25 degrees, so it was really cold…then there is the mist, low oxygen and whole lot of other crazy things
How much will it cost?
Cost depends on a whole lot of factors – starting from the package you choose with your tour operator. But the ultimate price you must be willing to pay is your life. If you’re not ready to risk your life…you might not be in the right frame of mind to make it to the summit. Because your will power, an the sheer will to beat the odds to survive is the only factor that keeps your adrenalin levels up, and ultimately get you to the summit
You’re making a feature film set on Kilimanjaro, right?
Yes. it’s a film about adventure gone awry, as a mountain climber must struggle against all odds to hold onto love and let go of his humanity in order to survive being marooned at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Ramsey Noah is attached to the project and will play the role of the eponymous character in Mountain Man. It will be shot close to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro – on actual location, the cast and crew will actually be climbing to the summit before we can start filming. It’s a very daring and dangerous film to attempt to make… but the good news is that I’ve already successfully filmed a documentary film at this same location…and Ramsey is an adrenaline buff like myself so he saw the script as a challenge, something that will take him out of his physical and emotional comfort zones as an actor. He gladly jumped onto the project and we are working together to make this film an unforgettable one.
It’s a fictional story set on Mt Kilimanjaro with some stories loosely based on my first experience on Kilimanjaro.It will be the first of its kind in the continent-Africa. I remember telling Ramsey, this trip is a 50-50 thing, you might not survive and he just smiled. But nothing much to worry about, we will make things work to survive. It will be a small crew and we will be filming next year, so right now we are going through some training to get our mind and body prepared.
How many days to get to the summit?
It took me six days to get to the summit. It takes an average of 5-7 days to get to the summit depending on the route, pace etc. For me it took six days and the 7th day to climb back down
How many in your group?
My group was a small group of about 8 persons in total…but if you’re security conscious you can add an experienced security personnel.
Did you experience any altitude sickness?
There will always be a problem with altitude sickness when you’re climbing up to 20000ft. Such mishaps are definitely going to occur, but there will be measures to minimise your exposure, for instance you’d be required to take altitude pills, that help lower your heart’s need for oxygen before you commence the climb. Notwithstanding, I suffered a severe bout of Mountain sickness
Do you need some training to climb?
Amateur hikers or climbers can try it. Anybody can dare anything, just make up your mind. I think climbing Mt Kilimanjaro should be on everyone’s bucket list, it’s something worth trying before you die.The youngest climber recently was a girl (Keats Boyd) and she reached the summit as a seven year old. The oldest man at 85 years reached the summit on 2 October 2014. Even people with disabilities can, Kyle Maynard, who has no forearms or lower legs, crawled unassisted to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. So dare yourself!
Shout out to Naidrenalin! Keep the adrenaline pumping!
Share your thoughts! Will you try such daring act?
Origin of the word “Ajala”-
Ajala is an African version of what Europe had -Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan, James Cook, and Marco Polo, Asia had its Ibn Battuta and Zheng He and Africa had OLABISI AJALA. A very Nigerian man at heart and a proud African in soul, Ajala shattered all records of travel, voyaging into lands that no black person had ever seen not to talk of setting their feet there. Ajala had the world in hands, based on this we shall be naming this column in his memory. Watch this space!
Also read about our previous Ajala on the “Ajala stories” category