‘Youngest’ South African to climb Kilimanjaro

Guillaume Olivier Senior and Junior on training hikes to prepare for summiting Mount Kilimanjaro.

A 9-year-old boy from Fish Hoek has secured permission to climb Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro.

He plans to summit in August and be the youngest South African to do so.

Guillaume Olivier is a fit and friendly boy who loves sport, nature, hiking and fire-fighters. He has created a way to bring these all together, by deciding to summit Kilimanjaro in recognition the job firefighters do to save the lives of people, animals and fynbos on the slopes of Table Mountain during wildfires.

Whenever there have been wildfires, he has begged his parents to let him take snacks to the fire-fighters.

Guillaume Junior, who has been learning about great explorers at school, announced his plans to tackle Mountain Kilimanjaro to his dad while in church.

“He has been raised to believe that if you can dream it, you can do it,” says his mom, Zene.

The family have created a YouTube channel showing Guillaume’s hikes. There is also footage of him drafting a letter seeking special permission to summit Kilimanjaro as well and his delighted response upon getting that permission from the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).

The standard rule for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is that you have to be at least 10 years of age which is why special permission was needed for Guillaume to summit.

Guillaume’s Kilimanjaro adventure is planned for August 21 to 30, and between now and then he will be training for the trip. He and his father spend weekends hiking Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, Hout Bay trails and Constantia Nek.

The father and son plan to complete higher altitude training in the Drakensberg / Lesotho mountains in the upcoming months.

Dad films while Guillaume Junior shares his enthusiasm about the local trails with his viewers.

“Taking action is what separates you from watching other people’s dreams on television or making your own come true. I would really encourage you to climb Hout Bay mountain and to take the trails over the breathtaking Table Mountain. The views are beautiful,” he says.

The youngest person in the world to climb Kilimanjaro is Coaltan Tanner, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who reached the summit aged just 6 years, 1 month and 4 days on October 22, 2018.

Retshegofaditswe “Tshego” Hatang from Little Falls in the West Rand is the youngest recorded South African to reach the summit at 10 years of age in 2018.

Guillaume, who turns 10 just a month after his planned summit, has already set his sights on a much bigger mountain: Mount Everest.

“I told him I am proud of him and will support him all the way with this venture – but for my heart’s sake – he must wait until he has left home to tackle Mount Everest,” his mom laughs.

She says Guillaume’s commitment to his dream has also inspired his younger brother, Zanko, who is 6.

“For me what has been amazing is watching how his self confidence has grown. We are very blessed to live in this valley and he wants to honour the fire-fighters who give so much to us all,” Zene says.

Jermaine Carelse, spokesperson for the City’s Fire and Rescue Service, described Guillaume’s efforts as something special.

Guillaume needs to raise R100 000 for this trip and his fund-raising page, is at https://clickndonate.com/9-year-old-to-climb-mt-
kilimanjaro-goal-r-100-000/ and there is more information about his plans at: https://youtu.be/mDuUh1iBTAo

Zene says any of the money raised that is not used for the trip will be donated to the Fish Hoek Fire Station.