The 2019 RMB Ride for Rhinos, which took place in July, marked the fifth year that riders donned their cycling gear and got on their bikes to pedal through the rugged, but scenic terrain of the Palmwag Concession.
While non-cyclists would not necessarily understand the attraction of sitting on a tiny seat and navigating your way over rocky and bumpy jeep and game tracks, there is a definite allure to it for those in love with the sport. The experience of noiselessly riding through the extraordinary landscapes of Damaraland with springbok, gemsbok and giraffe lazily watching you as you cruise past is priceless. The highlight of any day is a rhino sighting, which cyclists were lucky enough to have on consecutive days.
The main aim of Ride for Rhinos is to raise money in support of Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), a non-profit organisation that carries the burden of policing an area of more than a million hectares, with few fences and no national park status. All this in the name of keeping the last free-roaming population of black rhinos in the world safe. As the fight against rhino poachers is far from won, there is no time for complacency and that is why SRT is intensifying its efforts in the face of this very real threat.
As in the previous years, participants in Ride for Rhinos get the opportunity to interact with SRT rhino rangers during afternoon game drives and around the campfire at night. This serves as a fantastic way to learn more about the important work that these passionate people do on a daily basis.
“Twenty cyclists, four days, one monumental experience.”
The first night saw everyone gather at Wêreldsend on the south side of the Palmwag concession where the final brief was given for the next couple of days’ cycling. The next two nights were spent camping under some pretty mopane trees in the concession area, each day starting with an early morning ride, followed by an afternoon game drive. The last leg of the route took riders to Wilderness Safaris’ Desert Rhino Camp where they rested their weary bodies in the lap of luxury.
The RMB Ride for Rhinos, founded and organised by Venture Media, is a very special event in the sense that it does not rely on donations from foreigners, but is a Namibian initiative supported by Namibians – the actual custodians of the black rhino.