Fish Hoek resident Guillaume Jnr Olivier has fulfilled his goal to climb Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, to inspire others to “live their dream”. Guillaume is the youngest South African to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. At only 9-years-old, a year younger than the minimum age, he had to receive special permission to undertake the climb.
Guillaume reached the summit of the mountain located in Tanzania on Friday, 28 August, accompanied by his biggest fan, his father Guillaume Snr and two guides.
Guillaume, whose interest piqued after learning about ‘Great Explorers’ at school, announced his intention to climb the world’s highest free-standing mountain in church. Having been raised to believe that he can do anything he puts his mind to, his training began with the full support of his parents.
To prepare for the climb, he participated in school sport and did some strength training. He spent his weekends in the mountains with his father, hiking as much as possible. Despite the hard lockdown, Guillaume persisted, running in his garden and on a treadmill until he was able to train outdoors again.
Guillaume Jnr and Guillaume Snr were supported by local backpack brand, North Ridge, who sponsored the gear they needed to do the climb. Paul McLaughlin, CEO of North Ridge said of the sponsorship, “few people have inspired me in the way Guillaume Jnr’s determination and passion for reaching his dream has. When I met Guillaume and his family, I knew we had to do what we could to help make that dream a reality”.
Retshegofaditswe ‘Tshego’ Hatang from Little Falls held the previous title for the youngest South African to have climbed Kilimanjaro in 2018 at 10-years-old. 6-year-old Coaltan Tanner from Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the youngest person in the world to have summited Kilimanjaro.
Guillaume describes reaching the summit as “amazing”. The brave boy has now set his sights on the rest of the seven summits and hopes to inspire others to achieve their dreams, “if you can dream it, you can do it”, he says.