Guide To International And Overseas Charity Treks

If you are itching to go to some far-flung destination to tackle a particular challenge, then a charity trek may be for you. Charities offer a wide range of trekking challenges that enable you to take on the experience of a lifetime combined with fundraising.

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The Inca Trail, Kilimanjaro and Everest are probably the most high profile of the overseas treks, and understandably so, but there are plenty of others that are equally exciting. The principle behind an overseas charity trek is that you raise an agreed level of sponsorship to cover both the actual cost of the trip incurred by the charity and a contribution towards fundraising.

There are two options on charity treks; one is to join a trek open to anyone (where you could be joined by supporters of many different charities) and the other is to join one only open to supporters of one particular charity. Both types of trek are operated by professional tour companies, with the charity responsible for ensuring the costs are met.

Your accommodation on the treks can differ considerably so if you have a problem with not staying in a hotel, you need to check the tour details carefully before you commit. Most tours are a combination of hotels and campsites, with meals generally included throughout, but again it’s best to double check with your specific trek as this can vary.

The variety of destinations has increased significantly over the last few years and whilst there are the old favorites in most charity schedules, new options all around the world are being added constantly. Make sure you take a thorough look at all of the options available so that you can choose one that appeals to you the most.

Before you sign up to a particular trek, take a good look at the itinerary to make sure you’re up to it. If you’re not, look for another challenge or start a fitness programme. The more you put into your pre-trek training the more enjoyable your overall experience will be.

Why participate in an overseas charity trek?

  • If you are already someone who enjoys a good hike, then why not put your skills in the hobby towards raising funds for charity?  
  • If you are not a hiker, then become one! It is the most simple of things to do, requiring little in the way of initial outlay, although a good pair of boots and waterproof clothing are a must.  
  • Trekking is a very sociable activity and you can get out and train with others, and meet new people when you take part in your chosen challenge.  
  • You get the chance to see places you have not been to before as any treks go to strange and exotic locations.  
  • Your trip needn't cost you much (or could even be free), provided you raise the minimum required amount of funds for your charity.  
  • Trekking burns fat and helps improve fitness by working the cardiovascular system.  
  • Trekking is an excellent form of stress relief and can give you a real sense of freedom.  
  • Trekking is for people of all ages. Many people decide to take on a charity trek as they approach a particular landmark like a 50th birthday.  
  • Achieving a goal makes you feel amazing. By signing up to a charity trek, you will give yourself a challenge with purpose.  
  • A charity trek is a once in a lifetime experience!

Popular charity trek destinations

So you fancy doing your bit for charity and heading off on the trek of a lifetime? To help you choose, we've selected a few of our favourite overseas treks to point you in the right direction.

Trek to Mount Everest Base Camp

For the ultimate challenge, trek to the base camp of the world’s highest mountain. Many charities offer this experience which takes in some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery imaginable. The challenges are normally taken at a relaxed pace, yet are strenuous and still require a good level of fitness to reach altitudes in excess of 5,000m – Everest being still a fair distance away, standing at 8,848m.

Trek the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall has to be seen to be believed, as it zig-zags its way along 6,000km of china. Treks along the biggest man-made wonder of the world take in some of the fascinating watch-towers and battlements as well as remote villages rarely visited by foreigners. Some expeditions even offer a chance to lend a hand repairing sections of the Great Wall, carrying the bricks which will be placed in the wall under the watchful eye of an expert. The treks are a real physical and mental challenge, giving an opportunity to experience the 'real' China.

Trek the Inca trail in Peru

This trek is a chance to immerse yourself in ancient Peruvian culture, taking in diverse scenery; tropical Andean rainforests, snow-capped mountain ranges of the Andes and the lost city of Machu Picchu. Anyone with a passion for history and a sense of adventure will love this trek. You sleep under the stars throughout the trek, before finally getting to your destination of the lost city of the Incas. The lost city has lain abandoned to the forest for 500 years until being re-discovered at the beginning of the 20th century.

Trek in Vietnam

Beautiful scenery, unspoiled hill villages surrounded by spectacular mountains lie in wait for trekkers, giving you a real chance to get away from it all. The treks provide a great opportunity to experience first-hand the everyday life and culture of the Thai and Muong people as you stay with them in their picturesque villages. You still have the opportunity to explore the surrounding rich forest, magnificent caves and dazzling rice terraces. The trekking can be varied and tough in parts, making for a rewarding challenge.

Trek Kilimanjaro

Climbing to the summit of Kilimanjaro (5,895m) – Africa’s highest mountain – is an extreme test of your physical and mental limits. The peak is permanently covered with snow, and the climb provides spectacular views for the successful trekker and a real sense of satisfaction on conquering the mighty peak. The expeditions are usually carefully planned to ensure that participants acclimatise as much as possible to the altitude during the ascent. The final day’s climb is likely to be the toughest participants will experience, getting up around midnight to climb to the peak and then descend, but the 12-hour trek is totally worth it.

Trek in Kenya

Treks to Kenya provide a great opportunity to visit areas totally off the beaten track and really become a part of the natural surroundings. There are opportunities to absorb spectacular scenery; the Great Rift Valley or even climb some of the dormant volcanoes of Suswa and Longonot. On top of all this, the National Park has magnificent array of wildlife including giraffe, zebra, gazelle, cheetah and flamingo.

Trek in Cuba

A trek with a difference and as a reward for all your hard work you usually end on the beach relaxing in Trinidad. Most trips will start in Havana before heading to the northern foothills of the Sierra del Escambray Mountains. Trekking can be difficult, with up to eight hours a day spent going deep through the Cuban countryside. The effort is worth it though, with spectacular sights including limestone canyons, forested hillsides, coffee plantations, orange and mango orchards and crystal clear tropical waterfalls along the way.

Saharan desert trek

If you witnessed Michael Palin’s trek, then you will have some idea about the landscape that will confront you. The Sahara is the world's biggest desert, larger than the entire United States, yet there are many that wish to pit themselves against the unforgiving conditions. Trekking with the feel of the desert underfoot can be a strength sapping experience and temperatures can be stifling, yet the mesmerising landscapes and dramatic sand dunes make it an unbelievable experience.

Iceland trek

The appeal of trekking here in ‘the land of fire and ice’ lies in its diversity of natural features: glaciers, bubbling hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, snow-capped peaks, vast black deserts, rivers, waterfalls and green valleys. A trek will take in elements and give you a chance to relax in some soothing waters or even indulge in a spot of whale watching.

Argentina Trek Patagonia

Considered Argentina’s stunning Lake District, this is a trek through the snow-capped Andes and ancient forests, visiting crystal clear lakes, crashing waterfalls and spectacular glaciers. This is a chance to experience some of the most remote and wild scenery and immerse yourself in local culture by experiencing the local food and customs and if you want – the tango.