The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
Earlier this year, Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) hosted the second Mapungubwe Transfrontier Wildrun®. The 76 participants were mostly from South Africa, but also from 10 other countries, including Australia, Sweden and the USA.
The CEO of the Beit Bridge Rural Development Council, Mr Peter Moyo, opened proceedings with a very warm and heartfelt Zimbabwean welcome to all participants and officials from the partner countries, who all worked tirelessly to ensure a successful event.
The runners had an extraordinary experience this year, with over 100 elephant, as well as hyena, eland and giraffe on their route on day one. On the second day runners had to keep to the banks of the Limpopo River to avoid any surprises in the thickets, as the island on the Botswana side was packed with elephant. Of special significance on day three was a rare sighting of a Pel’s fishing owl – seen by almost all of the runners! Once again the on-route interpretations by Vanessa Bristow from Sentinel Ranch in Zimbabwe and Stefan Cilliers from Mapungubwe National Park in South Africa were highlights.
The running groups were split into three this year, with fast, medium and low pacing. Each group was led by a skilled group leader, supported by experienced field rangers. A support network of 12 individuals in six vehicles included eight South Africa National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers, all volunteering their time in support of transfrontier conservation, as well as individuals and rangers from the partner countries.
Catering to 150 people in the middle of the TFCA was a challenge bravely and successfully faced by the local Maramani camp and kitchen crew. The bulk of the consumables were bought in Zimbabwe to support the local suppliers, including the Shashe Irrigation Scheme. The main beneficiaries were the Maramani Community Trust and the Beit bridge Rural Development Council. This included renting camping equipment, four nights’ camping fees, traversing fees and temporary employment of the 17 local Maramani camp crew.
The second Mapungubwe Transfrontier Wildrun® built on the experience of the first and was a major success, not only for the participants, but also as a transfrontier event for the TFCA, the partner countries, private sector and the local communities.
Visit this site for information on the 2018 event.