A Modern African Adventure
Documentary Project Proposal
JUU: A Modern African Adventure (juu means "up" in Kiswahili) is a proposed adventure documentary film that will document an unprecedented journey through the highlands of East Africa — a 2,000 kilometer bike trip connecting the seven tallest peaks of the region.
Beginning in Kigali, Rwanda, a small team of bikers and a minimalist film crew will embark on an epic adventure from the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda and Congo, north to the Rwenzori Range of Uganda, east to Mount Elgon and Mount Satima in Kenya towards Mount Kenya itself, finally leading south across the border in Tanzania to Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro.
Bikes will be left at the base of each mountain as the team climbs up into the unique environment of the equatorial alpine and summit some of the most remarkable mountains on the planet.
The entire expedition will highlight the landscape, culture, and potential of East Africa. It will be an effort to radically alter the narrative told about the region by refocusing the western world on the exciting developments, increased security, and the adventures that await in the area.
The JUU team will partner with local Rwandans, Ugandans, Kenyans and Tanzanians to create a film experience that is immersive, humorous, and insightful.
For the last several decades, media coverage of East Africa has been predominantly negative, focusing on poverty, corruption, and violence. Although these are important issues to examine, our intention is to provide an essential perspective that brings attention to the incredible progress and potential in East African countries. We want to present both the uniqueness and universality of the African culture to a very particular audience: the modern adventure industry.
There has been a gradually increasing amount of adventure activity in Africa beyond the traditional safari experience as hikers, rock climbers, mountaineers, whitewater kayakers, paragliders and more have discovered unlimited opportunities for sport and exploration. JUU will highlight this community of both international and local adventurers in a light-hearted but intentional way.
The route of the expedition will show the incredible scope and variety of East African environments — from savannas to jungles to glaciated mountaintops and everything in between. It will educate audiences on the region but also encourage a new kind of tourism: gritty adventure instead of curated safaris, travel that interacts with the local culture instead of avoiding it, and a spirit of exploration, of getting off the beaten path.
Above all, the film will tell a rollicking tale of adventure that simultaneously recalls and recasts the idea of westerners in Africa and proposes an alternate narrative for the future.
James is an East African local; he grew up in Kenya with American parents and has been exploring the area since his youth. An independent photojournalist with experience in expedition logistics, filmmaking, and intercultural communication, James is also an accomplished outdoorsmen — everything from first ascents in the African bush to teaching for Outward Bound in the United States. James had the idea for JUU after several other projects in the East African mountains; he has a passion for the people and places of his home and endeavours to tell their stories in innovative ways.
Rex is the quintessential jack-of-all-trades outdoorsman with professional experience ranging from photography to endurance hiking to guided fly-fishing and whitewater expeditions. Rex is passionate about exploring the human dimensions of the outdoors, the ways in which people impact and interact with their environment – and vice versa. After spending two decades exploring the United States and Canada, his travels first took him to Africa in 2018. He intends to spend the rest of his life continuing to explore new places and new cultures in a way that spreads intentionality and curiosity.
James “KG” Kagambi is a well-known and long-time mountaineer and wilderness instructor. In addition to decades teaching for the National Outdoor Leadership School, Kagambi holds numerous notable ascents, such as the first ascent of both Aconcagua and Denali by a black African. Kagambi also owns and operates an expedition company in East Africa, KG Mountain Expeditions. Kagambi and Mixon have collaborated before on several expeditions, including a documentary project in 2017 telling the stories of East African mountaineers.
Start Date: December 1, 2020 - Kigali, Rwanda
December 1-2: travel by bike from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda (110 km)
December 3-4: summit Mount Karisimbi
December 5-9: travel by bike to Rwenzori National Park, Uganda (380 km)
(border crossing at Kidaho)
December 10-17: summit Mount Stanley, tallest point of the Rwenzoris
December 18-25: travel by bike to Mount Elgon National Park, Uganda (620 km)
December 26-29: summit Mount Elgon at Wagagai Peak
December 30-January 3, 2021: travel by bike to Aberdares National Park, Kenya (375 km)
(border crossing at Malaba)
January 4-6: summit Mount Satima, crossing park from Shamata to Ruhuruini Gate
January 7-8: travel by bike to Mount Kenya National Park at Sirimon Gate (80 km)
January 9-15: summit Mount Kenya via Southwest Standard Route
January 16-23: travel by bike from Naro Moru, Kenya to Arusha, Tanzania (450 km)
(border crossing at Namanga)
January 24-27: summit Mount Meru
January 28-29: travel by bike to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park (90 km)
January 30-February 6: summit Mount Kilimanjaro
End Date: February 6, 2021 - Moshi, Tanzania
We're putting together a small team of adventurers and filmmakers from East Africa and abroad. If you have a particular knowledge or passion for the mountains of East Africa, let us know! We'd love to work with you. You can reach us here.
Funding for JUU is a collective effort from organizations and individuals interested in telling a new story about East Africa, a story of mountains and adventures and human potential. If you'd like to join our growing team of sponsors, check out and share our GoFundMe here!
Join the growing community of East African adventure enthusiasts! Spread the word as we spread the adventure across Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Follow us on Instagram at @kileleproject!
The expedition logistics for the project will run an estimated $36,145. Post-production will require an additional $5,000 and we anticipate $15,000 for expedition and film equipment. We will be fundraising for $60,000 to accommodate these and unforeseen expenses during production, post-production, and distribution. Contact us here for all budget details.