‘Dust off your bikes and join the migration – let’s do it for conservation, education and Zambia!’
This week Open Zambia met Wendy Moolenschot, one of the founders of the Elephant Epic MTB cycle race. Wendy explained to us how they first came up with the idea to start the race. ‘Following a visit to the Lilayi lodge in 2011, my husband and I met the first orphan elephant being stabled in the old horse stables at Lilayi lodge. This little orphan Kavala Manja captured my heart and I promised Rachael Murton from Game Rangers International that I would try to help as much as possible. As an avid Mountain biker, but new to Zambia, realization of this dream was a challenge. Thankfully some enthusiastic cyclists and Game Rangers International stepped in and helped organize the first Elephant Epic MTB cycle from Lusaka to the lower Zambezi.’
‘The first Elephant Epic MTB cycle race from Lusaka to the lower Zambezi took place in August 2012. The race was well received and as a result grew to 75 cyclists in the 2013 Elephant Epic – life on the trail. It appears lots of cyclists wanted to “join the migration” to the lower Zambezi. The ride is roughly 75km through the wild and beautiful escarpment, over the “mother” hill, down the winding, scary, exhilarating gravel road into the fossil forest on the valley floor and on through the flats towards the mighty Zambezi finishing at Kiambi.’
All funds raised go directly to Game Rangers International (GRI ). GRI is a non-profit NGO, established in 2008, with ongoing critical support from the David Shepard Wildlife Foundation. This amazing organization has grown phenomenally and includes the Elephant Orphanage Project, which supports 13 elephants – some in the Kafue National Park and the smaller babies at Lilayi Lodge. It also overseas the Musovu Awareness Project and a Community Outreach project , as well as establishing and helping run an anti-poaching unit at Hook Bridge along with ZAWA.
GRI is doing wonders for preserving Zambia’s Wildlife heritage. Open Zambia met Game Rangers International earlier in the year, you can read our interview with them here.
The support received so far from Stanbic, Southern Cross Motors, Autoworld, Sausage Tree Camp. Kiambi, Starke Ayres, Abbeycon, Garmin, Kredicell, Trade Kings, PEP, Farm Pride Ltd, Zamshu, The Deli, Racefood SA, Chicago’s, Wimpy and Liege (to date!) are all indications of the solid support the Elephant Epic / GRI receive in recognition of a great event for a great organization with an amazing vision.
So come on – dust off your bikes and join the migration – let’s do it for conservation / education and Zambia!