My fundraising experience trekking in the Sahara

Katie left for Africa at the end of March with a clear target in mind – to spend four days trekking in one of the world’s harshest environments, the Sahara desert, to raise money for Mental Health UK. Katie shared with us the highs and lows of her incredible journey and how it both empowered and challenged her mentally.


“When I signed up to do the 5 day trek in the Sahara, I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. Not only would the physical training take my body to its limits, the trip itself would mean no contact with family and friends for the duration of the time in the desert, unless we stand high on sand dunes and reach signal!

Once I was in the desert, I was actually grateful for the lack of ability to be glued to technology. It felt so refreshing not looking at a screen all the time and being able to digitally switch off. I was of course trekking with other people, the youngest being just 20 years old and the oldest 59, so we spent plenty of time talking to each other about our lives and hearing each other’s stories.


"Once in the desert, I became grateful for the digital detox. It gave me a chance to reset."

– Katie

It was truly a beautiful environment like no other, but as the days progressed the elements of the desert showed themselves in full force! It was a big change adjusting to no running water and the prevalence of bugs and flies. Scorpions creeping into my tent was one of my biggest concerns. The night times were also a challenge, with sandstorms disturbing sleep and the wind causing dust to travel into our sleeping area.

Physically it was also demanding, I’d wake up in the morning some days and think ‘have I really got to do this!’ but it’s incredible how strong your mind can be and once you’re up and about you soon feel much better. What kept me going throughout the trek was the knowledge of the cause I was doing this for. Mental illness can affect anybody at any time and I have seen this first hand.

I enjoyed getting creative to assist in raising funds. It was fun to organise events, many local pubs were happy to host them and people are very happy to help out. My daughter hosted bake sales at her school and I put on a ‘gold themed’ party in theme of the desert that also raised money. It was great to get everyone together, and once people know about the cause, they are so supportive and become excited for you! It’s been a truly life-changing experience and I would recommend taking on a challenge to fundraise to anyone and everyone now!”

If you want to take on your own adventure to raise money for Mental Health UK, check out some of our current fundraising opportunities. Have something specific in mind? You can create your own challenge and fundraise in whichever way you like. Simply pop us an email with the details of your idea, and our fundraising team will get back to you.

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