Trek4Mandela team arrive home from tragic Kilimanjaro expedition

It’s unclear if officials were able to bring back Gugu Zulu’s body along with the team.

Trek4Mandela team has arrived at the OR Tambo International  Airport on 20 Juky 2016. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Trek4Mandela team has arrived back in South Africa after a bitter sweet journey.

One of the climbers, race car driver Gugu Zulu, died on Monday while attempting to summit Mount Kilimanjaro.

He was climbing with his wife, Letshego, to raise funds for Mandela Day.

There were both tears and cheers as the climbers walked through the terminal gates here at the airport.

Shortly after their arrival, a press briefing was held at OR Tambo International Airport.

Expedition leader Sibusiso Vilane broke down and cried, saying it wasn't meant to be this way and that this was supposed to be a celebration.

Vilane says he told team that once they reach an altitude of 4,700m they would feel sick, have headaches and suffer with nausea but he did not see any signs of sickness in Zulu.

The team leader says he could not sleep that night as he prayed that Zulu would not get worse.

Family members, friends and members from the Nelson Mandela foundation met the team, holding flowers and banners to welcome them home.

Officials were able to bring back Gugu Zulu's body along with the rest of team, this evening.