Final preparations for the 30th edition of the Rhino Charge, Kenya’s unique off-road competition, are underway at a pristine location in the untamed wilds of South Western Kenya.
The venue, which had been secret until Tuesday evening, was revealed as Elangata Enterit Enkutoto in Narok County.
By early afternoon today, 1.200 people, including volunteers and competitors, had been cleared for the event. Competing teams and their camp operators are pitching tent ahead of the actual adrenalin-charged 4×4 competition on Saturday, 2nd June, 2018.
The Rhino Charge is not only a world renowned 4×4 competition, but also, it is one of the few sport events run with a national conservation purpose to safeguard the integrity and ecological functions of Kenya’s mountain forests, also known as water towers as they are the source of all main rivers in the country.
Indeed, since its conception in 1989, the Rhino Charge has raised a staggering amount of KES 1,319,219,359 towards the conservation of Mount Kenya, the Aberdares and Mount Eburu in the Mau Forests Complex. Whilst the first Rhino Charge raised only KES 250,000, this amount increased tremendously over the years to cross the KES 150 million mark last year, thanks to supporters locally and internationally.
Projects funded thanks to the Rhino Charge include the construction of the world longest game-proof fences, such as the 450 km Mount Kenya Electric Fence of which 170 km have been built to date, the completed 400 km Aberdare Electric Fence, as well as the completed 43.3 km perimeter electric fence around Mount Eburu.
In addition to the funds raised by the competitors, the proceeds from the vehicle entry fee (also known as Landowners Access Fee) paid by all vehicles entering the Venue will go towards supporting community projects in the conservancy. These projects may include building of school or dispensary infrastructure, building of water tanks, and strengthening security in the area. During the past two years’ events, KES 4.8 million and KES 4.4 million were given to the host communities in Naikarra and Olderkesi group ranches (Narok County) and Songa Conservancy (Marsabit County) respectively.
In addition to the direct cash contribution derived from the Landowners Access Fee, the Rhino Charge helps profile the tourism and conservation potentials of the host area. Free medical services are also provided to the host communities by the Rhino Charge medical team.
This year’s Rhino Charge main events are as follows:
• Friday, 1st June – Scrutineering (inspection of the Competing Cars)
• Saturday, 2nd June – Rhino Charge
• Sunday, 3rd June – Prize-giving
The organization of the Rhino Charge is supported through in-kind contribution from the private sector, including some of Kenya’s largest corporations, such as Heritage Insurance Company, Kenya Commercial Bank, Safaricom, Total Kenya, AutoXpress and Highlands Water, to name a few. Their contribution has enabled the reduction of the cost of the event to less than 10% of the total funds raised.
Kindly note that general information about the Rhino Charge, as well as updates about the event, including photographs, will be made available online on the Rhino Charge website www.rhinocharge.co.ke
This year’s event is being promoted by Brand Kenya as a home-grown national initiative to address conservation challenges facing the country’s mountain forests.