About us
  Education Portal
  The Team
  Our Projects
  Our Score Card
  Media Coverage
  Media Kit
  Shopping Helps
  Support us
Supported by AKTAŞ Group
Onward across the Indian Ocean!

Climbing Kilimanjaro -- Stage 3 of the Six Summits Project

Completed: April 10, 2010 - June 22, 2011

Definition: What is Circumnavigation?
Learn about rowing on the oceans

The goal of this phase

The human powered circumnavigation made landfall on mainland Africa on 20 April 2011. There, Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters - 19,341 feet), the highest point in African continent which is located in northern Tanzania, was summitted on 14 June 2011.


Kilimanjaro has three separate volcanic cones one of which, namely Kibo, is still active emitting gas in its crater. Uhuru Peak is the highest point on Kibo's rim reaching 5,895 meters of altitude. Mawenzi and Shira are the other two cones which are extinct. Recent surveys according to Wikipedia, have concluded that molten magma is about 400 meters below the crater of Kibo. The most recent volcanic activity on this mountain was 200 ago.

Part of the Rift Valley fault line reaching all the way to the Dead Sea, Kilimanjaro began forming a million years ago. Wikipedia reports that the last major eruption has been dated to 360,000 years ago.


There are various theories on the origins of the name Kilimanjaro. Please see the Wikipedia article for details. Kilimanjaro became a part of German East Africa in the 1880's. The first reported climb of the peak was in October 1889 by Hans Meyer who named the peak "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze" (Kaiser Wilhelm peak). These German colonies were later claimed by the British in 1918 after WW1. When Tanganyika gained its independence from Britain in 1961, the peak was named Uhuru which means freedom in Swahili.

Route details

  • Circumnavigation route proposed
  • After descending Mt. Kosciuszko, Erden left Thredbo at the base of that mountain on a bicycle.
  • The journey continued west to Perth by way of Melbourne, Port Augusta and the Nullarbor Plains.
  • Erden spent the month of June in Fremantle area while preparing his boat for the Indian Ocean.
  • Bicycled north to Carnarvon then launched on the Indian Ocean on July 13, 2010.
  • Made landfall at Mahajanga on Madagascar on November 26, 2010 after 137 days at sea.
          (Third ocean to become the first person to have rowed three oceans)
  • After cyclone season rowed further for 26 days, landing at Angoche in Mozambique on 20 April 2011.
          (Concluded the first ever mainland to mainland row across the Indian Ocean)
  • Bicycled north to Arusha in Tanzania arriving on 5 June 2011 to join ten other team members, each fundraising for the Mateves Secondary School.
  • Visited the Mateves Secondary School on June 6th, proceeded to climb the mountain according to the team's preset schedule; summitted on 14 June 2011.
  • Patched the cycling section from Arusha to the walk-in point near Londorossi Gate on the west side of Kilimanjaro on June 22-23.
  •      If you have Google Earth installed on your computer, you can see the entire route here across the Indian Ocean and beyond.

    If you do not have Google Earth, download it here.

    On the globe, you will find a RED track with dispatch locations marked by date. This indicates the path that the human powered circumnavigation effort followed. On the opposite side of the globe is the antipodal circumnavigation track indicated in GREEN. Grey colored tracks indicate time in transit by ship between PNG and the Philippines. If any of the tracks appear broken, then try toggling to "OpenGL" in Google Earth's graphics preferences under Tools\Options.

         NOTE: Please spin the globe to navigate. Once you click
    anywhere on the globe to activate it, you can use:
    left-arrow-key   | spin the globe left
    right-arrow-key  | spin the globe right
    down-arrow-key  | roll the globe down
    up-arrow-key  | roll the globe up
    N key  | set north up
    = key  | zoom in
    - key  | zoom out


    Distances Covered in Stage 3      nautical
    Kosciuszko summit descent: 4:30 hours
          (completed on April 10, 2010)
         5.3 6.1 9.8
    Thredbo to Carnarvon
          (completed between April 10 and July 7, 2010)
         2,724 3,134 5,044
    Carnarvon to Mahajanga: 137 days
          (completed between July 13 and November 26, 2010)
         5,086 5,853 9,421
    Mahajanga to Angoche: 26 days
          (completed between March 26 and April 20, 2011)
         581 668 1,076
    Angoche to Arusha: 23 days
          (completed between May 2 and June 5, 2011)
         1,092 1,316 2,119
    Ascent of Kilimanjaro: 7 days
          (completed between June 8 and June 14, 2011)
         23.0 26.5 42.7
    Arusha to walk-in point near Londorossi Gate: 2 days
          (completed between June 21-22, 2011)
         86.5 99.5 160.0
    Total distance by human power:      9,598 11,103 17,873



    For Erden, the ascent of Mt. Kosciuszko on 10 April 2010 in the southeast corner of Australia with Nancy Board was the culmination of an almost three year effort invested toward this goal. Having concluded Stage 2, he could now turn ever westward toward the next summit on the roster: Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.

    Erden kept a fair pace across southern Australia, first visiting friends who were expecting him in Melbourne. From there, he bicyled through wine country toward Murray Bridge. It was already May when he reached Port Augusta. He traveled the arid Nullarbor Plain in the autumn of the southern hemisphere during all of the month May, reaching Perth on the first of June. All along, Erden had been depressed believing that, due to the additional travel time which was forced on the journey through Papua New Guinea, he had missed his April launch window out of Fremantle. The launch could have to be delayed until the following April in 2011...

    When in Perth, additional studies of the climatological data revealed that departure on the Indian Ocean could still be possible in July if Erden moved his launch point further north to Carnarvon. He could then aim for a November arrival to Mombasa with favorable seas. The journey could push on without another major delay.

    It took all of June for Erden to prepare his boat for the Indian Ocean launch. New solar panels, AIS and a wind generator were among new parts acquired and installed on the boat. LeisureCat in Fremantle opened their facilities to Erden, receiving his rowboat and helping with all labor. Steve and Simone Blom, friends in Coogee hosted Erden during the last couple weeks of June before he began his ride. Steve had introduced us to the manager of LeisureCat, Kevin Horsley who later towed Erden's rowboat to Carnarvon while Erden pedaled north the additional 900 km over a week's time. Kevin then turned Erden over to his friend Darren Baird of Carnarvon Tackle & Marine. Darren would secure the rowboat in his compound until departure.

    The launch on the Indian Ocean from Carnarvon was on 13 July 2010. Erden soon began to communicate from his boat with the maritime authorities about the piracy concerns on the approach to Kenyan shores. There had been the impression of higher security after an international naval force was assembled under the name Combined Task Force. The Turkish Navy was also participating in this operation with a modern frigate. The Maritime Liaison Office, MARLO for short, which monitors the merchant vessels around the Horn of Africa refused to provide information to Erden on the grounds that Around-n-Over was not an established maritime business. Instead the Turkish Naval Command at the highest levels was sincerely interested in his challenge; soon their Operations Center began to receive the position tracking data from the ARGOS beacon on Erden's boat. The Turkish Rear Admiral Sinan Ertuğrul took over the rotation in command for CTF in August through November. Erden received valuable advice on known piracy risks, counter measures and surveillance flights. Based on these email exchanges with R/A Ertuğrul, Erden weighed the options then received the nod before aiming for Mozambique. Passing close to Cap d'Ambre, Erden was to travel west then southwest toward the Comores.

    To reduce the piracy risk, the Turkish Navy favored Erden to pass between the Comores islands while his intentions had instead been to pass north of Grande Comore before turning south with the Mozambique Current. After navigating between the two islands of Moheli and Grande Comore, Erden encountered strong counter clockwise mesoeddies which pulled him away from Mozambique shores due east. Over the following two weeks, Erden struggled to regain control, then finally on day 137, he was able to bring his rowboat to the pier at Mahajanga in Madagascar on 26 November 2010, just ahead of the pending cyclone season. With this effort, Erden was declared the "first person to have rowed three oceans" by the London based Ocean Rowing Society.

    After the cyclone season, Erden relaunched from Mahajanga on 26 March 2011. Mahajanga office of SDV Madagascar had been a godsend in safekeeping his boat during the waiting period; they had helped move the boat then secured her in their warehouse. Erden was able to follow the coastline of Madagascar toward Cap St Andre near which he crossed the antipodal track to his circumnavigation route as well. The data on currents in the Mozambique Channel were unrelieable, they did not agree with what Erden experienced at sea. He had to observe the alternating daily sea/land breeze patterns and deduce the currents from the boat's behavior. The variable winds farther west made a choice of port difficult then he settled on Angoche after encountering strong southwesterly current paralleling the Mozambique shores. After 26 challenging days, Erden officially made landfall at Angoche on 20 April at midnight localtime. This additional 26-day effort concluded the "first ever mainland to mainland row across the Indian Ocean."

    SDV AMI based in Nacala coordinated the logistical challenge of moving the rowboat to their warehouse in Nacala and securing her. While his expedition bicycle, trailer and panniers took forever to clear Customs in Maputo, Erden pedalled north from Angoche on a borrowed bicycle following a sand track for 144km to a point near the town of Monapo. From there, he had to continue on toward Arusha to meet his team for a climb of Kilimanjaro and for a visit to the Mateves Secondary School, which is the charitable cause for Around-n-Over until the time that Erden launches from Namibia on the south Atlantic.

    Erden reached Arusha on June 5th, with barely enough time to join the ten other team members for a prescheduled visit to the Mateves Secondary School. With flights and climbing arrangements already committed for the team including his 78 year old father, Erden chose to proceed to the climb with them. The climb was completed between June 8-16; summit day was June 14, 2011. He later patched the remaining cycling section on June 22-23 from Arusha to his walk-in point toward the first camp.


    In Stage 1 of the Six Summits Project in 2003, Erden reached the summit of Denali (Mt. McKinley) by human power from his home in Seattle. He did this in the style of Göran Kropp as a tribute to his fallen friend.

    Later, between October 3rd and Christmas of 2004, Erden covered 3,980 miles across the Continental USA over 82 days. He achieved this again in Göran style from Seattle to Miami, towing his personal climbing gear. The original plan had been to move the ocean rowing boat around the world on a continuous path starting and ending in Miami. When further research discouraged the Miami departure, and the Panama Canal proved a barrier, Erden's human powered circumnavigation plans took a turn to leave from near San Francisco. Land phases would be introduced, and the boat would have to be shipped from one side of a continent to the other.

    Before continuing on with the Six Summits Expedition, Erden took a sabbatical, and rowed solo on the Atlantic Ocean. The row had started in Lisbon as a pair, arriving at Las Palmas in the Canaries on December 11, 2005. Erden later continued alone from Las Palmas until he crossed into the Caribbean Sea by the island of Guadeloupe, becoming the 33rd person to row the Atlantic Ocean east to west singlehanded.

      We hope that you followed along:
        92 days across the Atlantic solo from Canary Islands to the Caribbean, concluded at Guadeloupe on day 96!!!
        Reports from the boat -- Reported Location
        Ocean Rowing Society -- Home Page -- Maps by ARGOS Beacon

    Stage 2 began from Erden's home in Seattle with the goal of reaching highest point in Australia, Mt. Kosciuszko by human power. He bicycled from there first to Tiburon, then to Bodega Bay then launched on the Pacific Ocean in the same ocean rowing boat on July 10, 2007. His goal was to row to Australia but due to the stronger equatorial winds due to La Niña conditions which had developed on the Pacific Ocean after his departure, he was not able to cross south of the Equator. Erden reached the waters of Papua New Guinea and on day 312, with an already active typhoon season and no resupply, his rowboat had to be lifted off the water by Philippine fishermen. The same fishermen later dropped him at the same spot after the typhoon season, and he rowed south across the Bismarck Sea to land his boat at Finsch Harbor.

    Erden continued his Six Summits Expedition from Finsch Harbor to Bukawa village by beach walking over five days. From Bukawa village to Oro Bay, it was necessary to use a sea kayak along the Solomon Sea shores of Papua New Guinea. The difficult Kokoda Track which has historic significance especially for the Australians where they had pushed back the Japanese assault for Port Moresby during WW2, became the path of choice to walk from Oro Bay to Port Moresby. Erden reached Cape York by rowing from there to the mouth of the Escape River, then used a sea kayak to land at Cooktown further south. Paved roads began at Cooktown, allowing Erden to transition to his expedition bicycle all the way to Thredbo on the foothills of Kosciuszko. For Erden and his wife Nancy, climbing to the summit of Kosciuszko was a morning hike completed on April 10, 2010.

    Around-n-Over, P.O. Box 19662, Seattle, WA 98109-6662 • Fax: 206-709-3927 • info@around-n-over.org
    Web site design by Erden Eruç • Copyright © 2003 Around-n-Over • All Rights Reserved.