The last remaining stronghold of the black rhino is currently under serious threat. Home to the unique desert-dwelling elephants and the world’s largest population of free-ranging rhino, the Kunene region of north-western Namibia has been infiltrated by poachers putting extra pressure on numbers that are already dwindling due to the ongoing drought.
The Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) is at the forefront of the struggle to keep this fragile population from disappearing, with a rather unorthodox method of doing so. By tracking down poachers and employing them as game guards, the SRT has met with enormous success. Motivated by the opportunity to earn a respectable living and with all the inside information, these individuals were instrumental in saving the rhinos during the 1980s and continue to work tirelessly for this cause.
The RMB Namibia Ride for Rhinos cycle tour was set in motion by a desire to assist this dedication with much needed recognition and funding so that they may rise to meet this threat once again.
Proudly Namibian Support
On October 24th this year, a group of 20 mountain bikers took off on a 4-day cycle in the intense desert heat and inhospitable terrain of the Palmwag Concession in Damaraland. Their goal – to raise enough money to purchase a new vehicle to assist in anti-poaching patrols of the area or at least to cause enough of a stir to attract investors to do so.
With the help of Venture Publications, a number of like-minded key role players and Namibian companies were contacted to assist in making this ride a reality – and most of them decided to come to the party. RMB became the main sponsor, contributing a substantial amount of money towards making the ride a reality.
Wilderness Safaris provided logistical backup in the form of guides, back-up vehicles and setting up a rugged bush camp for the use of the cyclists. Cycling products, T-shirts and technical support was provided by CYMT Namibia, Dr Werner Du Plessis assisted with medical back-up and Namibia Exclusive added two top-class chefs to the fray.
Dust, Sweat and Gears
Riders were sourced from all walks of life and businesses, most of them never having met before, but by the end of the first day they had become comrades in arms. While the chefs did much to alleviate the daily suffering endured while traversing this difficult terrain when the mercury rarely dipped below thirty, and many laughs were had along the way, it wasn’t long before the participants gained a very realistic idea of the SRT rangers daily struggles.
Every evening the crew were joined by a group of rangers who shared their growing sense of helplessness at making a difference in this harsh environment, with little assistance from local communities. The rangers described how they would spend 21 days out in the field, without the luxuries so generously provided by the ride’s sponsors, and in constant danger from vindictive poachers.
After experiencing only a little of the discomfort that is a daily reality for the SRT rangers, the riders returned home, with their resolve to assist these men renewed. Before long, the first bit of financial assistance materialised, and the donations have continued to arrive as the riders spread the word.
All at once, the idealistic notion of providing concrete assistance to the SRT is fast becoming a reality, one small step at a time, and hope for the black rhino of the Kunene flickers once again.
Would you consider ‘roughing it for the rhinos’? Keep an eye on the SRT website for news of fundraising events around the world.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.