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Kilimanjaro Expedition

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Title: Kilimanjaro Expedition  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Monty Python, List of Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes, Monty Python sketches, Monty Python's Big Red Book, Colin "Bomber" Harris vs Colin "Bomber" Harris
Collection: Monty Python Sketches
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Kilimanjaro Expedition

Kilimanjaro Expedition is a sketch from the episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus "The Ant, an Introduction", also appearing in the Monty Python film And Now For Something Completely Different. It has been compared to a comic episode in Franz Kafka's The Castle in which the protagonist, K., is confused by twins assigned to assist him.[1]


Arthur Wilson (OBE (John Cleese), who is leading an expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro. Head's problem, though, is that he has a bad case of diplopia, and indeed, he believes there are two Wilsons when he enters the office. He must cover his right eye to confirm Wilson's claim that there's only one of him. Head begins filling in Wilson's application, although he repeatedly asks both Wilson and the empty chair next to him the same question.[2]

Head then fills him in on the expedition: he and his team plan to climb both peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro. Wilson claims there's only one, and Head must consult a topographical map of Africa with one eye to confirm the claim. Head then explains the expedition is to find any remnants of last year's expedition, led by his brother. The team was trying to build a bridge between the two peaks, which was naturally Head's idea. Wilson then gives his qualifications. When he describes himself as a mountaineer, Head must look the word up in a dictionary. Due to his affliction, he reads the definition aloud as "two men skilled in climbing mountains."

Wilson then learns Head also thinks there are two of himself as well. Head explains the team's route to Kilimanjaro, which mostly consists of a way from Surrey to Rottingdean, with a giant leap from Rottingdean to Nairobi (Head's map of Britain cuts off there, and is overlying his map of Africa), down to Tanzania, and then asking from there. All the while Head describes everything in plural, i.e. "Rottingdeans", "main roads near Pirbrights" (in the movie And Now for Something Completely Different the other route is mentioned, starting in Manchesters and going down through Oxfords, Londons and Purleys to Dovers, and from there to Nairobis and so on). Wilson inquires about the rest of the team; there are five other members (Head of course thinking each are two brothers (or four brothers in one case, a 'pair of identical twins')). None are mountaineers and none but one speaks Swahili. When Wilson asks Head if anyone else speaks Swahili, Head replies: 'I think most of them do down there.'

However, their guide, Jimmy Blenkinsop (


  1. ^ Bartram, Graham (2004). The Cambridge companion to the modern German novel.  
  2. ^ Alan Parker, Mick O'Shea (2006). And Now for Something Completely Digital. p. 38.  

External links

  • Kilimanjaro Expedition on YouTube
  • Full text of the sketch at Orange Cow
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