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Mahale Mountains Challenge

Team Mahale

80km, twelve global execs, six days, one mission

In September 2023, a group of twelve senior professionals from global food and farming businesses united in western Tanzania to take a big step (or rather 1,400,000 steps!) to ensure that the power of food can change people and the planet for the better.

The Mahale Mountains Challenge was a physical challenge of resilience over six days, navigating across 80km of the remote and largely untouched National Park. Together, #TeamMahale raised over £230,000 in support of Farm Africa's mission - huge congratulations!

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Meet the team:

Adam Leyland - The Grocer


  • Adam Leyland - The Grocer
  • Mark Given - Sainsbury's
  • Andrew Thompson
  • Nick von Westenholz - NFU
  • Ash Amirahmadi - Sofina Foods Europe
  • Rachel Baldwin - Pilgrim's
  • David McCaulay - Eden Search
  • Rhian Bartlett - Sainsbury's
  • Jon Neale - ALDI
  • Richard Crampton - Sainsbury's
  • Julian Marks - Barfoots
  • Justin Coleman - Moy Park


Welcome to #TeamMahale's daily blog, each day a different participant shared an update on the challenge, the cause and their courageous efforts to raise crucial funding for Farm Africa. Please scroll down to read, listen and watch the Mahale Mountains Challenge in action!

This fundraiser was a bespoke, once in a lifetime challenge across the Mahale Mountains National Park incorpating a Farm Africa project meeting at the end. Feeling inspired to take on a corporate challenge with your peers? Please browse our charity challenges or contact us directly on to arrange a call.

Photo gallery

23 September: Julian Marks, Barfoots

We reached Dar this morning and have spent some time today with the Farm Africa Tanzania country team and some of the people who have been working with Farm Africa on projects across a broad range of crops.

Tonight we have an overnight flight back to the UK before getting back to work on Monday and business as usual.

I think it worth reflecting on what has been a week of physical and mental challenges. The team has pulled together at every point, been hugely supportive of each other and has attacked each day with grit and above all immense humour. Quickly adapting to a different and somewhat more physically hostile environment than we are used to, one’s daily priorities change and good personal admin becomes the order of the day.

Huge credit goes to those behind the scenes who have, through hours of organisation, cajoling and persuasion, enabled us all to reach a wonderful, untouched and remote part of the world, appreciate it in its raw glory and get us all back safely.

The challenge has been well supported by a wide range of people financially. Your donations have been far and above what we initially expected when we started to plan this challenge nearly three years ago and our total has reached well over £200k to date.

The money raised will be used wisely by Farm Africa to continue its work across eastern Africa and above all improve the lives of many. So to all those who have supported us including employers, colleagues, friends and above all our families our gratitude knows no bounds, and it only leaves me to say Asanteni Wote - thank you all.

22 September: Jonathan Neale, Aldi and Mark Given, Sainsbury's
Day #7 of the Mahale Mountain Challenge! Seeing chimps in the wild.

Team Mahale with chimpanzees

21 September: Rachel Baldwin, Pilgrim's and Justin Coleman, Moy Park
Day #6 of the Mahale Mountain Challenge! Challenge complete!

20 September: Nick von Westenholz, NFU
Day #5 of the Mahale Mountains Challenge!

We're coming to the end of our trip - five days of walking so far and just one more night in camp before navigating the final few miles tomorrow to our destination on Lake Tanganyika.

It's been an extraordinary, if at times challenging and tiring, journey - stunning views, rolling thunder, baking sun, cooling rivers, and the occasional sighting of the local wildlife; the odd baboon and antelope, and copious quantities of elephant dung...expectations are high for spotting Mahale's famous chimps on Friday.

As a group, we've been reflecting on the work Farm Africa do out here as well as sharing thoughts on life back home. Farming in the UK and Tanzania have many obvious differences, but they have much in common too - climate change, volatile supply chains and changing diets to name a few. And they also often have strong family foundations, sometimes going back generations and with a deep connection to the land on which they rely on for their livelihoods.

Our supporting crew have been amazing - leaving their families to walk with us and make sure we're fed and sheltered every evening. Indeed, all of us have left our families behind, and as we get close to the end of our trek I'm sure our thoughts are turning to getting back home and seeing them again.

On a personal note, I will miss Tanzania and the Mahale Mountains, but I can't wait to see my wife and daughter, Nicole and Bella and, in particular today (20 September), my son Max, whose 16th birthday it is. Happy Birthday Max, and see you Sunday!

19 September: Andrew Thompson and Adam Leyland, The Grocer
Day #4 of the Mahale Mountains Challenge!

We have two vlogs today! Click to play each one in turn. Andrew is first, providing an update on the challenge, followed by Adam talking about the food they have been eating.


18 September: Ash Amirahmadi, Sofina Foods Europe

Day #3 of the Mahale Mountains Challenge!

17 September: Rhian Bartlett and Richard Crampton, Sainsbury's

Day #2 of the Mahale Mountains Challenge!

16 September: David Macaulay, Eden Search

Day #1 of the Mahale Mountains Challenge!


Rachel Baldwin, Pilgrim's UK

the Mahale Mountains Challenge trekkers sitting in a Landrover

After three flights and 36 hours since we left Heathrow…
First stop for breakfast before six hours on the road and then we start the trekking and camping.

15 September: Anissa Msallem, Farm Africa

Anissa Msallem standing with a large bag outside front door ready to set off for the Mahale Mountains Challenge.

After months of preparation and planning, bags are packed and we ready to go! There's nervous excitement all round as we compare notes about what kit we've bought, what we've forgotten and the size of our bags!

This incredible challenge involves 12 remarkable individuals from the food and farming industry. Today we travel to Dar es Salaam and tomorrow on to Kigomo before venturing into uncharted terrain - here's a map of our planned route

Before we even set foot in Tanzania, the team have already raised an astonishing £205,000!! This generous support is a testament to the power of community and the shared belief in Farm Africa's transformative work.

Each day, a new member of our team will share their perspective on this adventure. From the challenges we face to the awe-inspiring moments we encounter, you'll get an insider's view of our journey through the Mahale Mountains National Park. We invite you to join us by following our daily blog updates and experiences.

The Mahale Mountains Challenge is not just about conquering physical peaks; it's about overcoming barriers to prosperity for the communities in rural eastern Africa through Farm Africa.

Thank you for being a part of this incredible adventure, stay tuned!

Farm Africa's work in Tanzania

In Tanzania, most people rely on small-scale farming to feed their families and earn an income. However, large numbers of people are unable to grow enough and resort to selling timber products to make money, causing deforestation and soil erosion.

#TeamMahale is stepping up to make a difference. With your support, Farm Africa can continue to deliver training, share techniques and extend agriculture, market and business expertise across farming communities. Together, we can boost food production, protect the environment, and tackle poverty head-on, sustainably.

Farm Africa's commitment extends across the arid regions of Tanzania, helping farmers build resilience to climate change. Discover where else Farm Africa makes a positive impact.

Christina, taking part in Farm Africa's Climate-Smart programme in Dodoma, Tanzania.

The Mahale Mountains Challenge is organised as part of Farm Africa’s Food For Good network.


Farm Africa photo: Farm Africa / Brian Ongoro.

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