Rhino Charge: Conservationists aim to raise over Sh173m on Madaraka weekend

Gumtree 4×4

Gumtree 4×4(Car No.9) celebrate their unmodified category victory during the 34th edition of the Rhino Charge on June 3, 2023.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Conservationists are hoping to surpass the Sh173 million raised last year during this year's Rhino Charge to be held in Kajiado County during the Madaraka Day weekend.

Kajiado has been chosen to host the 35th edition of the Rhino Charge.

Nkoteyia Community Conservancy in Ewaso Nyiro landscape in Samburu County hosted the 34th edition of the event, which raised Sh173 million for the completion of the 61km section of the Mt Kenya electric fence in Nyeri County, the construction of the Kakamega Forest electric fence, the maintenance of the 758km Aberdare Mt Kenya, Eburu and Kakamega electric fence, the extension of community patrol teams to south-western Mau, and the construction of the Kakamega Forest electric fence.

The Rhino Charge is not only a world-renowned 4x4 off-road competition, but it is also one of the few sporting events with a national conservation purpose.

It is run to help protect the integrity and ecological functions of Kenya's mountain forests, also known as water towers, as they are the source of all the country's major rivers.

Since its inception in 1989, the Rhino Charge has raised Sh2.1 billion for the conservation of Mt Kenya, the Aberdares, South Western Mau and Mount Eburu in the Mau Forest Complex and Kakamega Forest.

While the first Rhino Charge raised only Sh250,000, the amount has grown tremendously over the years, crossing the Sh180 million mark in 2018 thanks to local and international supporters.

World's longest game fences

Projects funded by Rhino Charge include the construction of the world's longest game fences, such as the 450km Mount Kenya Electric Fence, 300km of which has already been constructed.

The funds have also been used to maintain the completed 400km Aberdare electric fence and the 43.3km electric fence around Mount Eburu, as well as the ongoing fencing of Kakamega Forest in Western Kenya.

Don White, the event's Clerk of Course, has since announced the location of the 2024 Rhino Charge route notes.

The much-anticipated route notes to the actual venue, which will remain secret, will not be released to competing vehicles, sponsors and spectators until a few days before the event.

Rhino Ark executive director, Christian Lambrechts Christian, said the organisation had carried out activities in Mt Kenya, Mau Eburu, Aberdares, South Western Mau and Kakamega Fores in the past year.

Scrutineering for this year's Rhino Charge will take place on May 31 ahead of the event on June 1. The prize-giving ceremony will take place on June 2.

The organisation of the Rhino Charge is supported by in-kind contributions from the private sector including some of Kenya's largest companies such as Total Energies, Safaricom, AutoXpress, Tarpo, White Cap, Castor Vali, Rotor Jet Aviation, Z Boskovic Air Charters, Sandstorm, Mantech Inflight Systems, Aquamist, The Iceman, Tropical Heat, Papyrus, Northscape, Rivercross Tracking Ltd, Instarect, Chloride Exide and Bins.

The Rhino Charge is an annual off-road 4x4 competition that requires participants to visit 13 checkpoints spread over approximately 100km square of rugged terrain within 10 hours, with the sole purpose of raising funds for environmental conservation.