THE CHALLENGE IS REAL / ONE MAN, HIS BICYCLE AND A CALL TO ACTION
If you see a rhino on a trailer heading towards the Mozambique border, don’t worry, your eyes are not deceiving you but you can count yourself part of the legacy as you’ve spotted Olli, the life-size rhino, mascot and vehicle for footprint fundraising for the 2100 km OLLI Frontier Rhino Ride.
The plan for the OLLI Frontier Rhino Ride was set into motion shortly after the Port Elizabeth businessman, Wayne Bolton (51), completed a 6000 km journey in 2016 to raise funds for anti-rhino poaching initiatives and awareness about the escalating rhino crisis in Southern Africa.
While Bolton’s previous expedition focused on the conservation efforts of South Africa’s National Parks, the current ride – which started on the 1st of July 2017 at Kragga Kamma Game Park in Port Elizabeth - is focusing on the private reserves in the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal (KZN) up to the Mozambique border.
And the message is still the same: extinction can’t be our legacy.
Bolton is close to completing his 2100 km journey and, alongside his family who is accompanying him with his children cycling certain legs of the expedition, he is close to completing the 20 parks in the Eastern Cape and KZN. These include the KZN parks of Gwahumbe, Tala, Thula Thula, iSimangaliso, Hluhluwe iMfolozi, Phinda, Thanda, Manyoni, Kube Yini, iThala and Thembe before finishing at the Mozambique border. He has experienced his fair share of ups and downs. There have been mountain passes, hills, strong headwinds, extreme temperatures and weather conditions, narrow roads and traffic, and Bolton has climbed an impressive 23 000 metres, the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 2.6 times.
Bolton’s frontier expedition is a demonstration of his call to action - the cycling challenge is real, but the challenge for conservationists is also real. KZN has seen over 140 rhinos poached and killed for their horn this year. Due to the increased anti-poaching efforts in the Kruger National Park there has been a rise in rhino poaching activity in what Bolton is referring to as the Frontier in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
The facts can’t be ignored, extinction can’t be our legacy.
Throughout the journey Bolton is thanking rangers and conservationists for the role they’re playing in protecting our natural heritage and the OLLI Frontier Rhino Ride is raising funds for their beneficiary, the Care for Wild Africa rhino orphanage. To date over R11 000 has been raised just from Olli footprint sales and Woodridge pupil, Brandon Booth (13), has raised a staggering R5160 for the orphanage as he joined Bolton on the first leg and completed 108 kms.
Bolton has also experienced the kindness of South Africans along the way and the spirit of Ubuntu, “One of the biggest highlights so far is the reception that we have received from a majority of the reserves and what’s really struck home to me is that as much as these private reserves are actually competitors in the tourism industry, there is a significant collaboration between them when it comes to issues of conservation.”
The #JointCustody School Challenge – a partnership with schools to raise awareness and funds for orphaned calves – will also be launched in KwaZulu-Natal at the end of the ride on the 6th of August at Eden College, where Wayne and Olli will be welcomed to the College at their annual Conservation Fest.
On the final day of the Expedition Wayne will cycle from the Wilderness Leadership School at Stainbank Nature Reserve with John Smit joining him en route, paying tribute to Ian Player’s legacy. John Smit will also be the guest speaker at a breakfast at Sun Sibaya on the 3rd August. All profits will go to Care for Wild Africa and tickets can be purchased online through www.oneland.co.za