As you guys know, a couple of weeks ago we participated in the Rhino Charge, a charitable race that supports the conservation and protection of Kenya’s wildlife and mountain range ecosystems. This year, chargers raised a staggering 153 million shillings ($1.5 million dollars) to support Rhino Ark Trust’s conservation works, and a further 4.4 million shillings ($44,000 dollars) to support the Songa Community Conservancy. Jesse fulfilled a lifelong dream as a runner for Car 51, The DeRanged Rovers, and the Rhino Charge was raging success!
The weekend was a huge adventure for all of us, and we got to see a part of Kenya we’ve never visited before: Marsabit! Northern Kenya is magnificent, with stunning landscapes and remarkable views. This was our first trip on the Great North Road, and man, is it amazing. So smooth, so straight, so many extraordinary sights!
Those of you who follow me on Instagram know how thrilled I was when the inimitable Mount Ololokwe came into view. THIS MOUNTAIN. It is breathtaking! There was quite a bit of Rhino Charge-related traffic on the road that day, so we had to keep trucking. But any other day, I would have stopped the car to take some photos from the middle of the A2. Next time, Great North Road!
After driving for hours through arid desert, I was shocked to find this lush green forest in Marsabit National Park. WOW. This is not what I imagined when I thought of Marsabit! Thick, lush forest, and green bush EVERYWHERE. The place is stunning.
After going through the mayhem that was Rhino Charge check-in, we landed at our campsite. Home-sweet-luxurious-home for the week. As you all know, we can usually be found camping in the bush, but our camping is not usually like this. Nicely done, Kerr & Downey!
The guys spent some time getting the DeRanged Rover race-ready: fixing last-minute issues, making sure the car met Rhino Charge regulations, and using copious amounts of duct tape. (Yes, duct tape.) Do I need to be nervous?
The kids also got in on the game, spending a great deal of time on the roof of car 51. Claire was in heaven! We were also treated to a test-drive through the bush – our own little mini Charge!
Finally, the DeRanged Rover and her DeRanged Rovers were ready, and the day of the Rhino Charge had arrived. Please note just how bright, fresh and clean these guys are. This is the last time you will be able to recognize them. Let the Charge begin!
The Rhino Charge is pure adrenaline. Teams must navigate to 13 checkpoints hidden within 100 square kilometers of bush within 10 hours. Teams are given a map of the race area, co-ordinates of the 13 checkpoints and their start position the night before the event. Each team plots the checkpoints on their map and plans their own route through the course. The team that visits the most checkpoints in the shortest distance is declared the winner and gets some serious bragging rights for the next twelve months!
The most dramatic event for Jesse’s team was when their car flipped in the brush and landed on its roof. All team members were safe and sound, but they had to spend quite a bit of time getting the car righted. Once it was right-side-up, they kept on charging!
Jesse wasn’t the only one having fun during the race. The girls and I had a blast driving around the park, trying to track Car 51 at various checkpoints, and taking in the spectacular beauty that is Marsabit. It’s not often that I find myself behind the wheel when we’re on safari, and I relished blazing my own trail through the park.
Jesse and his team ended the day with a smashed windscreen , kilos of dirt on their clothes, and huge smiles on their faces. They finished 26th out of 62 teams, covering 8 checkpoints in roughly 115 kilometers and enjoyed an incredible day of dust, rugged terrain, and camaraderie.
Even on the long ride home, we were treated to Kenya’s natural beauty. Thank you, Northern Kenya! We can’t wait to come back and see more…
PS – Thanks to all of you who donated to this worthy cause! Jesse’s team raised 2.1 million shillings ($21,000 dollars), thanks to all of you who generously donated!