4 of the best overseas charity treks to sign up to now

Go the extra mile with Marie Curie and sign up to these charity treks, taking you across America’s wild west, to the peaks of East Africa, to the heart of China and to Spain’s ancient north…

Nora Wallaya
15 April 2019
Promoted by
Walking Hub

Charity walks have risen in popularity over the years, from the Three Peaks Challenge to night-long city walks. With Marie Curie, you could go the extra mile and take your quest to America’s wild west, to the peaks of East Africa, to the heart of China or to Spain’s ancient north. You’ll travel with a group of individuals focusing on two equivalent aims; to quench a thirst for adventure, and to enrich the lives of others while doing it.

Read on for four of the best charity walks you can sign up to today…

Camino de Santaigo (Shutterstock)
Where? Spain When? 8 – 14 June, 2020 How much do I need to raise? £2,400 min. Daily distance: 15-25km per day Total distance: 104km (Marie Curie)

During the 8th century Christian reign of Alfonso II, a tomb was unearthed in Santiago, Spain. It was believed to have been the final resting place of Saint James, one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles. In a predominantly Islamic Spain, its divinity was revered by the small Christian communities of northern Spain and southern France. Ever since, pilgrims have embarked upon a spiritual journey to Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, which traditionally began from the pilgrim’s home.

Today, the ancient routes can be commenced from a range of regions – this particular one begins in Sarria, journeys through to Portomarin, Palace de Reis, Arzua and Pedrouza, finally ending in Santiago. You’ll pass through traditional villages and fairytale forests, crossing rivers and rolling hills. At the finishing point in Santiago, you have the opportunity to attend a Pilgrim’s Mass, where you can watch the ritual swinging of the famed Botafumeiro – an incense dispenser that looks like an enormous metallic lantern. It expels incense as it is swung round the cathedral at speeds of up to 68km/h.

The Grand Canyon (Marie Curie)
Where? Arizona, Utah and Nevada When? 12 – 19 September, 2020 How much do I need to raise? £3,800 min. Daily distance: 15-25km a day Total distance: 104km (Dreamstime)

The sun-baked landscape of the Grand Canyon is every adventurer’s dream; a region of towering heights and deep gorges, gushing rivers and rolling rocky trails. On this hike, the journey begins in Arizona, taking you through the Grand Canyon via the Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail. You’ll walk right through the heart of the Grand Canyon, staring out at the mighty Colorado River as you explore the shimmering desert oasis.

As you head into the Canaan Mountain Wilderness, you’ll follow mountain trails past towering waterfalls and glimpse into the narrow cracks in the rocks that plummet down. As you hike towards Scout’s Lookout you’ll find spectacular views over the green and orange landscape. The trip ends in style in the desert oasis of Las Vegas, where you’ll toast to the end of what has been a life-changing trip.


The Great Wall of China (Marie Curie)
Where? North of Beijing, China When? 19 – 27 September, 2020 How much do I need to raise? £3,400 min. Daily distance: 12-18km per day Total distance: Roughly 90km (Dreamstime)

Hiking the rambling ramparts of the Great Wall of China features on most travellers’ wishlists. This nine-day trip explores the most complete section of the 5,500-mile-long bulwark; the 15th century construction near Beijing. It was erected during the Ming dynasty period to protect China from Mongolian invasion, and to this day it’s remarkably well-preserved.

You’ll walk along the Jinshan Ridge, from Gubeikou to Simatai, the trail ascending and descending through the wild landscapes. Ahead, the wall weaves like a dragon’s back against the green and blue mountains. You’ll camp en route, feasting on traditional local dishes under the star-pricked sky. Finally, you’ll reach the summit of Beijing Tower, sitting above the Great Wall, before heading back to Beijing to visit Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Kilimanjaro (Marie Curie)
Where? Tanzania When? 14 – 24 January, 2021 How much do I need to raise? £5,200 min. Daily distance: 12-18km per day Highest point: 5,895m (Dreamstime)

Tanzania’s mighty peak is a force to be reckoned with. As the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, its reputation as one of the world’s greatest spots for adventure is soaring. The route to the top is tough, but achievable with some training – and well worth it for the soul-stirring views and sense of achievement.

This epic trek begins at the Machame Gate on the south side of Kilimanjaro. On the first day, you’ll ascend to 3,000m, just above the forest line. After that, it’s a steady climb up, through trees, gorges and high moorland, passing underneath the Lava Tower and Great Barranco ravine, before reaching magnificent glaciers and the Karanga Valley. At sunrise on the ninth day, you’ll reach the 5,895m summit of Uhuru Peak, with panoramic views across Tanzania and Kenya on a clear day. You’ll finally make your descent, winding your way through forested valleys and foothills; colobus monkeys cheering your return when you reach the end of your quest.



Top tip

These treks aren’t just a walk in the park. They will require training and a good level of fitness. But you have time. The walks aren’t until 2020 (or 2021) so get your walking boots on and get out there. It will feel all the better when you finally achieve your goal.  

Need some training walk inspiration?

Check out our Wanderlust walking page for a round up of the best walks in the world…

Where does the money go? 

The money raised helps Marie Curie care for more than 40,000 terminally ill people in the UK every year, from dementia and cancer sufferers to those with heart failure or Parkinson’s disease. As an example of what your money can do:

  • £180 pays for someone with a terminal illness to attend the day therapy unit at the hospice.
  • £400 pays for someone to stay in a Marie Curie Hospice for 24 hours, so that they can receive the hands-on care they need in their final days.
  • £1,250 pays for a portable oxygen system that will relieve distressing symptoms, so a person doesn’t have to be confined to bed.


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