One of the Most Exceptional Cycling Experiences Ever

It has been called the ultimate cycling safari. A mountain biking experience to rival all other mountain biking experiences. And an event for only a chosen few: a powerful pride of protectors, preservers and legacy builders. The concept behind the Great Plains Foundation’s Ride For Lions will make you want to be part of that pride, no matter how daunting it looks…

Discover more about the journey here, or as told by the Great Plains Foundation below…

Lions need land. They need hidden places, not always prime savannahs, to breed and to roam as nomads. They need this land now more than ever as a reservoir for their dwindling numbers.

There are an estimated 44 million acres of land in Africa on which lions roam that is currently unprotected or under hunting management. 60% of the remaining 20-30,000 lions live under no protection at all on this land. Great Plains is working to change these numbers and protect more land for lions.

Through the Great Plains Foundation’s Ride For Lions, conservation-minded individuals and companies help fund and expand the amount of conserved land where lions roam freely. We do this through the purchase of land leases that cost roughly $250,000 to service and protect each year. In many cases, these leases are parcels of ex hunting land where the animal populations have significantly declined. Through programs and partnerships that rehabilitate the land and wildlife while mitigating human-wildlife conflict we have seen areas once desolate, become safe havens where lions and other wildlife return in abundance.

Participants in Ride For Lions not only demonstrate a commitment to conservation, but also intimately experience the land being conserved throughout the course of the ride.

Groups are limited to just 10 members. In keeping with the singular intimacy of this experience, riders gain a greater appreciation for the land undistracted by large groups.

A ride like this is unprecedented; combining an on-the-ground conservation experience with the comforts and security of Great Plains operations. It is a 4-day exploration of Kenya’s priceless Amboseli-Tsavo region: a showcase of Nature’s grand-scale artistry and wildlife spectacles. It is this magnificence that riders witness, experience and conserve.

Graced by the presence of Mt Kilimanjaro, riders follow bush tracks, elephant trails and footpaths. From the vast swathes of savannahs with green smudges of game-rich wetlands, riders gradually ascend into the lava world of the Chyulu Hills.

At these higher elevations, the verdant slopes tumble towards the great plains of Africa that extend forever.

Ride for Lions is imbued with the Great Plains defining ethos: exquisite attention to detail, luxurious finishes, beautifully appointed locations, non-negotiable safety measures, fine dining and inimitable style. Riders enjoy a perfect synergy of exceptional touring and exceptional care.

There are echoes of the Hero’s Journey in this spectacular event. Like the archetypal Hero, riders have embraced a great adventure together, shared experiences, endured challenges, triumphed, emerged with new insights, and, most importantly, making a heroic difference to African conservation.

Contact for more information on joining Ride For Lions.

Watch the Video for a Closer Look

The Gift of Yoga in the Wilderness of South Africa

Julia Geffers is a traveller driven by a passion for compassion. It is a passion that has led her, as a Registered Yoga Teacher, to share the art of yoga with schools in disadvantaged communities. Julia is also the Director of Hotel Member Services at Relais & Châteaux.

The schools she has brought the power of the mat to are the  Digital Learning Campuses of the Good Work Foundation, a registered NGO that has been working with grassroots education in Africa since 2003, and that is supported by Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

After experiencing the joys of an African safari at Londolozi, Julia headed into the local community to visit GWF’s Hazyview and Huntington campuses to share the joys of yoga with the young learners. The students, the process, the community would give her so much more in return.

In a blog for the Good Work Foundation, Julia shares how the foundation became a home away from home where she could realise that deep passion for compassion.

Words below by Julia Geffers. Discover more about GWF and Londolozi.

Throughout our lives we are told  that we need to build our future and our homes. We are told that there are plans to follow, career plans, personal life plans, you are supposed to do, to be, to have, according to guidelines someone someday defined. Looking at  those guidelines more closely you realize that they have nothing to do with who you are. Nevertheless in our childhood and youth we follow the rules given to us without asking too many questions.

Until one day – the day – we start wondering why the nicely prepared plan apparently does not work out  and we start questioning the plan altogether.  I had it all figured out in my plan: have a family, have a career, play my sports, live in a  nice place…in a few words, a plan as written on one of the hallmark greeting cards.  Life does not work that way though and when things to do not go according to plan,  latest then is the moment when we start listening to our call inside.

A  few years back I started questioning the order of things and took off on a quest to my true self and my deep calling. I wandered in a confusing labyrinth of people, places and events, I went through moments of happiness and dark times, through sadness and tears as well as laughter and joy. What was I searching? After all I have a loving family, dearest friends, an accomplishing career and the opportunity to live a full and satisfactory life. I am deeply grateful for the blessings I have received and this search is not triggered out of dissatisfaction or sense of something missing.

The search inside myself is more the fruit of the certainty that there is another purpose in my life that so far I have not fulfilled, a void in me that, despite all goodness I have received, needs filling. It turns out what I thought needed filling actually was a need to give. A need to be there for others, to share some of my wealth – my personal wealth in terms of learning/lessons I have received, studies I was allowed to make, experience I lived and help others find their path.

Giving, this is the clear calling in my heart.

Where to start? How do you give? Whom do you give to? Is it arrogant to think you have something to give in the first place? Many questions in my heart and in my mind on this urge I feel, but do not quite know what to do with.

One fine day a dear friend takes me to a place close to her heart – a place where young humans are given the opportunity to change their lives thanks to access to education and learning. A place hidden in the deep heart of South Africa, in a rural community that has experienced hard times, apartheid, sickness, drought, economic recession, poverty. A place where generations live under the same roof to support each other but also because there is no alternative. In this place the first digital learning center has seen the day a few years ago: a concept so simple and yet such a challenge: bring learning to people so they are given the opportunity to change their lives. A challenge that goes way beyond the individual since the change this is bringing about is an entire shift in generations of people.

My friend takes me there and I immediately feel I have arrived where I belong. It is nothing rational nor is it possible to really explain it with words. I simply know that this is it…

I wish I could come back and be part of this – in any possible way – by giving something I have my energy, my love, my smile and of course my time.

The Good Work Foundation has become my home, the place where I can be the best version of myself and be there for others.

Home is where the heart is they say and my heart is here with this incredible group of people who devote their lives and work to building a better world – actively and concretely. With words but also with facts and vision.

Home is where children come with joy and enthusiasm to learn guided by young adults who have had the same calling: educate, teach, share knowledge and generate growth.

Home is where youngsters have access to education and can make a choice to change their lives through knowledge.

Home is where I can share everything I have to contribute to a smile, to a growth, to life.

Here is home, a home where I am finally able to give, a place where I can share, where I can contribute to something that may appear small far away from here and in reality is a huge opportunity and a chance to make an impact. It is a first stride to something that step by step can change the world. Thank you Kate, Ryan, Gogo, Shan, Dave and the entire team of the Good Work Foundation as well as to all the young human beings who are giving me the opportunity to follow my call: the call of GIVING.

yoga 2

Julia shares her passion for Yoga with Bridging Academy Students from the Huntington Digital Learning Campus.


Bridging Academy Students at Hazyview campus take a break from digital learning to a relaxing yoga session with Julia.


Open Learning Student pulls one of the most difficult yoga moves Julia showed them.


“Home is where the children come with joy and enthusiasm to learn, guided by adults who have had the same calling – educate, teach, share knowledge and generate growth.”

Ellerman House Takes To The Desert


“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” — Heinz Stücke, German long-distance touring cyclist

In search of of the unknown, of the wild and wonderful of Africa, Paul Harris (Owner of Ellerman House in Cape Town) and daughter, Nicola Harris, joined this year’s Challenge4ACause in the Damaraland Desert of Namibia. Representing Ellerman House, they pedaled alongside many other faces of the Relais & Châteaux team.

Here is a glimpse at the experience through their eyes, as they travelled across one of the most inimitable and isolated wilderness areas in the world, for six days, covering 360 kilometres on mountain bikes, to raise funds for rhino conservation and other projects in Africa.

For more information about the challenge and charities involved, read our blogs: Great Things Are Done When Men & Mountains (& Deserts) Meet, and, A Wilderness Experience With Heart.

R&C: What was Challenge4ACause like as an experience?  

Paul: It was an amazing experience, with great people. No cell phones. No city lights, so the stars were like diamonds in the sky. Rugged terrain. Spectacular landscapes.

R&C: What were the highs 

Paul: Finishing without falling, the beer at the end of the ride, and being together around the fire at night.

R&C: And the lows?

Paul: The fear of falling along the way… what with the terrifying steep declines with rocks and sand.

For Nicola, it was a similarly amazing week. The highs for her were not having contact with the outside world, “being able to be completely present,” she said, as were the scenery, the night skies and the group of people. The lows were “the five hills in the last 5 km of day two, after spending seven hours on the bike in the scorching heat”.

Ah, so they are human, after all.