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African adventure sees team reach peak

23rd September 2013

African adventure sees team reach peak Seven friends are celebrating completing the challenge of a lifetime by reaching the roof of Africa while raising more than £10,000 for a national cancer charity.

The group, from the UK’s leading electronic cigarette brand Nicolites, reached the summit of Kilimanjaro – an impressive 5,895 metres above sea level – following days of trekking more than 60 kilometres through the national park in Tanzania.

Their once-in-a-lifetime adventure tested their endurance to the limit, but they were all determined to make it to the peak of the mountain, which attracts 35,000 trekkers every year. Supporters, including Nicolites, have donated over £10,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Team leader Parag Khiroya, director of Birmingham-based Nicolites and pharmacy firm Dime, of Woking in Surrey, said: “Kilimanjaro is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and attracts thousands of trekkers each year, hoping to reach its summit which is an impressive 5895m above sea level.

“We had all trained for the trek and been advised on how best to prepare, but we all found it very tough at times and the altitude took its toll on one or two of us. However, we all battled on together and made it to the top. It was a fantastic feeling to look down over Africa from its highest peak, knowing that we had achieved something quite special. I’d like to thank everyone that supported our efforts and I’m delighted that we can help Macmillan, which is a very worthwhile cause.”

The team also included Chiraag Thakrar, Keshav Thirumalai, Raminder Poonian, Ravi and Paresh Khiroya, and Samita Nathoo.


The Nicolites team whose African adventure at Kilimanjaro
raised more than £10,000 for a cancer charity.


The trek took place on the Lemosho route, on Kilimanjaro. This route is the longest, with trekking taking place over eight days and seven nights. It is regarded as one of the tougher routes. However, it is also one of the most beautiful.

Ravi said: “The route took us through the rainforest on the initial days, giving us the opportunity to see Colobus monkeys and other wildlife. As the days progressed, we were blessed with spectacular views of the peak and also Mount Meru, poking its head above the clouds some 50 miles on the horizon.

“We also had the opportunity to negotiate the sheer rock face that is the Great Barranco Wall and its famous “Kissing stone”, so called because the rock protrudes from the wall face and hence climbers are forced to hug it tightly in order to make sure they pass successfully.”

Chiraag said: “My motivation to take part was seeing how far I could push myself mentally and physically in an unknown environment. The highs included being above the clouds and able to see an incredible number of stars in the night sky. Lows included seeing everyone so unwell at various different points of the expedition was tough to see.”

Ravi added: “For me, the first six days presented an amazing opportunity to experience the beauty of the Tanzanian countryside and have a great time with friends. The real challenge began at about 5000m on summit night, when the effect of altitude took hold and I really began to struggle. If it wasn’t for Parag, who elected to stay with me, I doubt I would have made it.

“I also found it difficult to see everyone suffering with the effects of altitude, in particular my father Paresh. Although this was his second Kilimanjaro climb he appeared to suffer more than most this time. The best part of the trek however, was being able to reach the summit in the same way we started - as a group.”

Nicolites is the UK’s largest brand of electronic cigarettes, stocked by a large number of national retailers including Tesco, ASDA, Superdrug, Co-op, WH Smiths, Martin McColl’s and over 10,000 independent pharmacies and convenience stores. To find out more visit www.nicolites.co.uk.

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