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Sheila Macdonald – The First Woman to Summit Kilimanjaro Mountain

In 1927 September 30th, it was recorded that a London girl by the name Sheila Macdonald had become the first woman to reach the summit of the Kilimanjaro at the age 22.

She has hiked with a group of male friends. It is reported that the male friends gave up on the way but she continued to the summit.

It is also reported she was sipping Champagne while to supported herself to the summit.  She had come by board to east Africa earlier that year in the month of July.

They arrived on July 21st 1927. She was in the company of her cousin Captain Archie Ritchie and another male friend.

After her hike, she later got married to Harold Percy Combe but the marriage didn’t last and she decided to go to India where she worked in the hospital before she retired to the Lochaber Highlands, close to Ben Nevis.

She died in 1987 after collapsing and was buried in the foothills of this area.

Who was the first Person to Hike the Kilimanjaro?

Germany was among the European powers to Colonize East Africa. This probably explains why the first person to climb the Kilimanjaro was German.

The first attempt was made in 1887 by Samuel Teleki who was of Austro Hungarian Origin. He however did not reach the summit.

Later on the American Dr. Abbott whose interest was the Flora and Fauna made another attempt but was constrained by an illness.

He had a companion, Ehlers Otto of the German East African Company who pushed on and claimed to have reach an altitude of about 5904 meters above sea level.

Hans Meyer

Dr Abbot and Teleki played a pivotal role especially with providing important and necessary information about the conquest of the Kilimanjaro that later helped Hans Meyer who was a German geologist and was a son to one of the wealthiest writers in German town of Leipzig.

He has worked for his father and later took over the business. He retired in 1888. In 1887 he had made an attempt to hike the Kilimanjaro but wasn’t successful.

After retiring, he returned in the following year to make a second attempt. He made several attempts before he succeeded in reaching the summit.

The final attempt that as successful was with his friend Dr Oscar Baumann.

During this attempt, the timing was really not the best as both Meyer and his friend were captured by the Sheikh Abushiri who was leading that Abushiri revolution that was happening at the time.

They were held hostage until a a ransom of over ten thousand rupees was paid.


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