Johann van Coller is on a mission to walk all the way from Cape Agulhas, the southern most point of Africa, to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest point.
When the GO! & Express met with him on Friday April 30 at St Andrews Manor in Selborne, he was 88 days into his journey which he predicts will only be complete next year.
“It was going to be sooner but realistically, February 2022 sounds about right [for when I’ll finish],” Van Coller said.
The idea for the trip came to him while researching another epic hike he wanted to do.
“I want to become the first eco-explorer in history to travel from the South Pole to the North Pole and in doing research, I realised that I don’t have the experience, I don’t have the knowledge, I don’t have the skills,” said Van Coller.
“This is a training trip.”
The entire journey, which is roughly 4,000km, will be done solo and on foot.
“No support vehicles, no guarantees and in places where I find the surroundings awesome enough, I do some skydiving and base jumping as well. The whole trip is just a massive adventure.”
One of the highlights of Van Coller’s trip so far was getting to dive with a sardine bait ball in Gqeberha.
“Sharks swam into us, dolphins swam around us, we had whales passing us underwater, we had birds diving all around us. It was an awesome experience.”
He said the journey has taught him a lot and opened his eyes to the world around him.
“Now that I’m doing this, the idea of what the world actually is and what I am seeing are two different things entirely.
The whole trip is just a massive adventure
“The world I’m experiencing is a lot kinder, a lot more heart-warming. People are a lot more involved, a lot more giving and a lot more willing to share,” he said.
Van Coller said he was also looking to get sponsors involved with his walk.
“I have been trying to get sponsorships and to do something a bit more meaningful, like partnering up with a charity, but thus far I have had no luck,” he said.
“Anything at this point would be lovely but mainly it would be gear and the things I need because money is not really a thing I care for that much. I need a new tent, I could look at new shoes, because obviously the shoes are something that gets used a lot.”
Anyone looking to sponsor Van Coller or partner up with the adventurer can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.