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'Rhino Charge' Assists Conservation Efforts

  • Jill Craig

Il NGWESI, LAIKIPIA, KENYA - Sixty-two cars participated this month in Kenya’s Rhino Charge, an annual off-road vehicle competition to raise money for environmental conservation in Kenya.

Each team consists of one off-road vehicle, a driver, a navigator, and four runners who dash ahead of the car to remove obstacles and show the drive how to reach the next checkpoint. There are 13 checkpoints in all; teams have 10 hours to reach all of them, located within about 100 square kilometers of rough terrain. The goal is to visit the most checkpoints with the lowest number of kilometers.

Many consider the event to be the toughest off-road challenge in Africa. Of the 62 entrants in this year’s race, only 15 made it to all the checkpoints.

The location changes every year and although they know the approximate area, participants do not know the exact coordinates until the evening before the event.

The Rhino Charge got its name because when a rhino charges, it goes straight ahead, regardless of what may be in its way.

The event was started in 1989 by the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust. Teams in this year’s race raised a record amount of 84 million Kenyan shillings - about $1 million - to support the conservation of Mt. Kenya and Mt. Eburu.