Ride for Rangers
I am riding through Africa starting late this year for the Thin Green Line Foundation (The Thin Green Line | The International Ranger Documentary | Home) raising money and awareness for rangers around the world.
What am I doing?
I will be riding a Kawasaki KLR 650 motorcycle from Ghana up into the southern parts of the Sahara in Mali finally down to Cape Town in South Africa. During the journey I will be promoting the foundation to all the rangers who are putting their lives at risk to save the world’s environment, along with raising money for the Thin Green Line Foundation. This ride will take me 3 months and I will be crossing 13 countries. The trip is planned to start on December 15th, after I finish my studies in Ghana, and finish the ride around the 8th of March 2012.
I will be raising money by having people sponsor on the ride. Sponsorship can be per km for a very small amount (e.g. 1 cent per km, with the ride covering approximately 10,000km which will equate to $100) or people can simply make an outright donation.
You can follow my ride on my facebook page: facebook.com/rideforrangers
The ride will start early December in Ghana around the 10th but depending on my university it may be a bit earlier. I will head north through Burkina Faso up to Timbuktu, Mali. I will then turn south heading through Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and finally reaching South Africa. There may also be a detour to Victoria Falls on the Zambia and Zimbabwe border, as I have an invitation from the International Anti-Poaching Foundation to come and spend time at their ranger training facility. So, depending on time it would be great to see some of the amazing work they’re doing there. South Africa is where I will be selling the bike and returning to Australia in early March.
I am riding a Kawasaki KLR 650, 2008 model. I purchased the bike off a South African in Togo who had ridden the bike up the eastern side of Africa, so it has seen a bit of action already. My itinerary is very flexible as anything and everything will probably happen to delay me, I mean it is Africa.
The bike is relatively standard with modifications being, bark buster (handle bar protectors), crash bars, steel engine guard, off road pegs and off road tires. I am also looking at installing an inline fuel filter as fuel quality is very poor. Also a 12v plug so I can charge my phone.
Gear: I will be taking camping gear for the times when I can bush camp or pitch a tent in a village, my phone which will act as my GPS and as my means of communication, and video and SLR cameras. I will also have my laptop for uploading photos, videos, and updates as well as for screening the Thin Green Line film. I have soft pannier bags for storing much of my equipment. I will also be taking a fair set of tools and spares for the imminent break downs. I will also be taking a large amount of patience and a positive attitude which are both vital for motorbike travels through Africa!
Clothing: I am taking a pair of O’Neal motocross boots, DriRider Rally Cross jacket, Klim Dakar pants as well as an R-Jays Dakar helmet. I also have a camel pack for staying hydrated in the saddle.
I actually had very little riding experience before arriving in Africa. I’d had a few full days of off-roading experience all up, however in no way does that make me an experienced off road rider. In fact, I was only off my motorcycle learner’s permit for a few months before coming to Ghana. I do however own the same motorcycle in Australia, so I am very familiar with the handling and weight of this bike. Upon purchasing the bike I took my first ride through Africa from Lome, Togo to Accra, Ghana (where I’m currently studying). This incidentally, was the longest ride I had ever done to that point. I also had my first experience with the bureaucratic nightmares of the border and the constant police check points. But I actually really love riding in Africa. Accra’s traffic has set me up for anything a city could possibly throw at me. And my weekend travels around Ghana and Togo have made me expect the unexpected; such as roaming livestock, cars driving on the wrong side of the road, dodgy cops, and horrendous road conditions. I am a little nervous for some of the sandy roads I can expect up in Mali as I have never ridden on sand before. I am also quite concerned for the potential days and days of muddy “roads” in the Congo region. This will truly test my patience and composure. Thankfully, I do love a challenge.
I first traveled to Africa a few years ago and instantly fell in love with the continent. The people were so warm and generous, and the landscapes were breathtaking. As for the national parks and wildlife, well, being a ranger you can expect that I was pretty damn blown away. When I was in South Africa I was able to walk in the shoes of some rangers in Kruger National Park. I was able to go on foot patrols with the rangers, learn tracking, and even search for an injured black rhino from a helicopter. This generated a deep passion within me for African conservation. There are many people all over Africa and all over the world who are risking their lives on a daily basis to protect these areas. These rangers are often confronted with well-armed and highly organized poachers, armed rebels, and dangerous wildlife. I knew from the moment I came to Africa that I wanted to do something more for the conservation of Africa’s environment. The idea of representing Ride for Rangers just came to me as I was looking at doing some travel around West Africa after my studies here are finished. I think if I can help in any way to assist the rangers, and just let them know that there are people out there who really think they are doing a great job, then just maybe it will make their lives a little bit easier. I want to make these rangers understand that we appreciate it every time they go out, being under paid and facing life threatening risks, to keep protecting and keep saving our rapidly disappearing environment.
I am planning to visit as many rangers along this journey as possible. I am planning on screening the Thin Green Line documentary as well as talking about what the charity is and what it does. I also plan to make forms available for rangers and their families to claim assistance from the Thin Green Line foundation. On top of all of this I want to simply experience a day in their lives and understand for myself the sacrifice these rangers make for conservation. I am also planning to do a bit of filming so I can show people through my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/rideforrangers) just a little snippet of their story.
People can support me through donations which go directly to the Thin Green Line foundation. People can sponsor me either per kilometer (e.g. pledging 1 cent per kilometer for an estimated 10,000 kilometers, equating to $100) or the standard one-time donation. 100% of all donations will go directly to rangers or the families of rangers killed in the field.
Any tips for raising more money would be greatly appreciated.
Also if anyone wishes to donate, there will be a section on the Thin Green Line page really soon.
so some of you may be interested how it went. i covered 10,000km and met up with rangers all along the way. i raised aproximately $3-4k for the charity but most of all i gave one ranger access to support, he now is in the process of getting a prosthetic hand for the one the poachers cut off.
so whats next?
ride for rangers 2 in about 4 years :scooter:
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