A Wilderness Experience With Heart

At least once in life we find ourselves faced with the question, Am I brave enough? Do I have what it takes? And sometimes, most times, the only way to find out is to take the leap…

One such time now faces the team of 27 who are about to embark across one of the most inimitable and isolated wilderness areas in the world, for six days, covering 360 kilometres – on mountain bikes.

My wimpy muscles twitch fearfully at the thought, but these adventurers are ready to trade safari vehicles and airplanes, their usual mode of travel, for dusty mountain bikes to complete the 10 year anniversary Challenge4ACause expedition through the rugged landscape of Namibia’s Damaraland Desert, from 15 – 22 July 2017.

Representing Relais & Châteaux in the challenge are Shan Varty and Anthea Boehmke (Londolozi), Paul Harris and Nicola Harris (Ellerman House), Julia Geffers (Relais & Châteaux Paris), and Hidehiro Kubo (Relais & Châteaux Japan). They will be joined by 21 other riders.

Those who have ridden before have called it one of the best wilderness experiences of their lives.

Cycling for as much as five to seven hours a day, they’ll pass through 2.5 million hectares of vast expanses, striking terrain and distinctive desert-adapted wildlife like zebra, springbok, oryx, giraffe, rhino, hyena and elephant. Along the way, they’ll arrive to a fully-equipped camp of tents set up by the support team, with meals and drinks awaiting and the odd lion’s call in the distance.

Beyond the natural beauty and sense of accomplishment (and panicky pulmonary palpitations… can lungs palpitate? This is definitely a good way to find out) of such an expedition, what is driving them is something more philanthropic, something tugging at the heart.

With the cyclists, suppliers and partners helping to raise funds through the event, proceeds from C4AC 2017 will go toward uplifting local communities, enriching lives, funding conservation projects in Africa, and making a tangible difference in Africa’s wildlife, landscapes, and people.

The projects supported by this year’s C4AC include many of those funded daily by our African and Indian Ocean Island Relais & Châteaux hotels and lodges, as well as the:

  • Save the Rhino Trust:  protects the highly endangered desert-adapted black rhino population in the Damaraland. This region is home to the largest free-ranging black rhino population in the wild. SRT has provided consistent patrolling and monitoring of black rhino over the last 25 years. Our contributions help fund their anti-poaching units.
  • The Wildlife ACT: The Wildlife ACT is a non-profit organisation whose main objective is to bring our endangered and threatened wildlife back from the brink of extinction. Their conservation efforts largely focus on the endangered black rhino, African wild dog, cheetah, and vulture populations; as well as threatened elephant, lion, leopard, and white rhino species.
  • Good Work Foundation: a South African NGO on a mission to unleash the untapped potential of millions of people living in rural areas. GWF aims to provide a world-class education and to lead a focused, achievable and digitally-[em]powered education model for rural Africa.

We will keep you up-to-date with the Challenge4ACause adventure as it unfolds.

Watch the Video…