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The Rhino Charge is an annual off-road 4x4 competition held in Kenya in which entrants are required to visit 13 points (guard posts) scattered over approximately 100 km² of rough terrain within a 10 hour period. Entrants are supplied with a 1:50,000 scale map of the venue, co-ordinates of the 13 guard posts and their start position the night before the event. Each competitor must plot the guard posts on the map and decide his/her route. The winner is the competitor who visits the most guard posts in the shortest distance (GPS measured).

The event is organised in order to raise funds to support the activities of the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, an NGO which works towards a noble cause: the conservation and protections of Kenya’s mountain range ecosystems, the so-called “Water Towers”.

Each entrant must pledge and raise a minimum sponsorship fee between 750.000 KES and 1.5 Million KES. Most entrants however raise considerably more. The event was conceived in 1989 to raise funds for the construction of the Aberdare Electric Fence. Rhino Ark founder Ken Kuhle, Rally Enthusiasts Rob Combes and Brian Haworth mooted the idea of an off-road 4x4 event to support the fencing project carried out by the recently established Charitable Trust Rhino Ark.

The Trust was committed to saving the dwindling Rhino population in the Aberdare National Park, as well as mitigating human-wildlife conflicts around the National Park. On 4 February 1989, 31 competing vehicles entered the first event which was won by Travers Allison in a Suzuki jeep. Whilst the first Rhino Charge raised only KES 250,000, this amount increased tremendously over the years to reach KES 139 million in the 2016 event.

To understand how the Rhino Charge works, click on the POINTS below for a journey through the Rhino Charge.

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As a conservation organisation, Rhino Ark is deeply sensitive to minimising any environmental impacts that could derive from its operations. This extends to the Rhino Charge, Rhino Ark’s main fund raising event to support the conservation of Kenya’s ‘water towers’. The Rhino Charge always has and always will take great care to minimise and monitor its footprint. Together with Stanbic, who have enabled independent Environmental Impact Assessments at Rhino Charge venues, it is ensured that the monitoring is comprehensive and scientifically precise. This double check, conducted to exacting standards, is welcomed by the organisers, participants and sponsors alike, not only as an assurance that the Rhino Charge does no harm but also as an insurance that any negative impact which might arise in future can be rapidly identified and remedied.


Mitigating the impact of the competition cars

The format of the Rhino Charge was developed towards minimising the impact of the competition cars on the environment:


In 2008 Rhino Ark commissioned an environmental and social impact audit of representative samples of venues where the Rhino Charge event has been held. The venues assessed were Tassia Ranch (Mukogodo Division, Laikipia), Swuari Lagha (Wamba Division, Samburu), Ol Kinyei Group Ranch (Mara Division, Narok), and Lorongoswa Group Ranch (Kajiado). The audit was carried out by African Conservation Centre. The audit found that there were minimal impacts on the sites arising from Rhino Charge activities. Recommendations arising from the audit were incorporated into subsequent event venues and course designs.


Recycling the waste generated on the venue

One of the main environmental challenges of organising an event with close to 3,500 participants and spectators in the most remote wilderness areas of Kenya is the management of waste. Keeping with Rhino Ark’s conservation mission, the Rhino Charge Committee is committed to leaving each venue as it was found. To this end, stringent rules have been set by the Committee to ensure that no waste is left in the entire Rhino Charge venue. This includes a fine system that is strictly implemented to address wastes by competitors. In addition, with the support of key sponsors, wastes are collected across the venue, including in the Spectator Camp and at the Gauntlet. To promote waste recycling, a Waste Sorting Station is set up at the venue. Glass, cans and tins, plastic bottles, among others, are separated and brought back to Nairobi for recycling. In the 2013 event, almost 50 cubic metres of waste were properly sorted and removed from the venue for recycling.


Finally, comprehensive post event reviews of each event site are undertaken in collaboration with the local communities. The organisers aims at leaving each venue as it was found.

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In order to be accepted to the event competitors are required to pledge and raise the minimum sponsorship set by the organising Committee. Most competitors, however, raise considerably more. In 2013, Car No. 5 (Alan McKittrick’s team) raised KES 12,098,283. Since Car No. 5 entered the Charge in 1989 till 2015, the team has raised a staggering amount of KES 116,073,282. And this is not the only team…Long-time supporters such as Sarah and the late Mike Higgins have raised a total of KES 39,604,399 over the past 20 years.


From 1989 to 2016, the Rhino Charge has raised over KES 1 billion. In order to ensure that the funds raised by the competitors go to conservation, the Rhino Charge itself is organised mostly based on in-kind support provided by many volunteers, event sponsors, guard post sponsors and raffle donors. Since 1989, the funds raised have been used for the construction of the Aberdare Electric Fence and supporting conservation activities within the Aberdare ecosystem. With Rhino Ark formally committed to supporting conservation in Mt. Kenya and Mau Eburu ecosystems, funds raised are now used for fencing these two mountain ecosystems, in addition to maintaining the Aberdare Electric Fence and engaging fence-adjacent communities in conservation.

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The Rhino Charge is a FUNdraising event and we promote that you have FUN while supporting a noble cause, but we ask all our supporters enjoy their time at the Rhino Charge in a responsible way. Please read our general rules here.

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The Rhino Charge is held in a different location each year and is organised in very close cooperation with the respective host community. Once a venue is identified by the Rhino Charge organisers (Course Design Subcommittee) and the host community has agreed to host the Rhino Charge on their land, the members of the host community form a local organising committee. This committee is made up of representatives of the Rhino Charge host community, with whom we work together very closely for the duration of the Rhino Charge preparations (6-8 months). This cooperation allows for an understanding and consideration of local circumstances, which are all part of the preparations and the organisation process. Without the local organising committee, no Rhino Charge would be possible, as it is their knowledge and support that allows us to hold a successful event, year after year.


During the preparations of each Rhino Charge the event organisers hire local workers to assist in setting up the venue infrastructure, hence provide income generating activities. This gives the host community a tremendous boost, as jobs and income generating activities are scarce in the remote areas in which the Rhino Charge takes place.


Furthermore, the Rhino Charge organisers have implemented the Vehicle Pass, known as the Landowner Access Fee (LAF) to benefit the local host communities. The money raised through this fee goes directly to the community. The money is then used for community projects, such as the construction of school classrooms or the installation of boreholes.


The names and pictures of the local organising committee will be published in the About section of the website on the day the Rhino Charge venue opens its doors for the public.

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The Rhino Charge Raffle was introduced in 2002 as a tool to assist Rhino Charge competing teams with fundraising and to thank car sponsors for their support. The Raffle offers every donation of KES 2,000 a chance to win a prize, which is a key motivation for the public to support competing cars. Each competing team is issued with enough raffle tickets to cover their initial pledge to the Rhino Charge, and if they raise more money, they are entitled to the equivalent number of raffle tickets more. Every car sponsor is entitled to one ticket per KES 2,000 of sponsorship and it is the responsibility of the entrant who receives the sponsorship to issue the correct number of raffle tickets to his sponsor. The competing team entrants are also responsible for the collection of raffle prizes and handing them over to the winning sponsor.

The Raffle is organised by a Raffle Committee that voluntarily works towards securing prizes from over 100 generous raffle sponsors.

If you are interested in donating a Raffle prize please contact raffle@rhinocharge.co.ke

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The numerous sponsors of the Rhino Charge provide generous support towards the event. Each donation is invaluable to the running of the event.


At the Rhino Charge, we speak of 4 different sponsor categories:

  1. 1. Service sponsors, those who directly support the operations of the event
  2. 2. Guard post sponsors, those who sponsor the 13 guard posts through which each competing car has to go in order to win the event
  3. 3. Raffle sponsors (for more information please see separate point on this map)
  4. 4. Car sponsors. 

As there are countless sponsors who support the 65 competing teams, please visit the competitor page on our website and click on the team profiles to learn more about the individual car sponsors.


To learn more about our sponsors, please visit the sponsor page on our website.

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The Rhino Charge is a one day off-road event during which a maximum of 65 competitors are required to visit 13 control points scattered over approximately 100 square kilometres of rough terrain within a 10 hour period. Supplied with a 1:50,000 scale map of the venue and the GPS coordinates of the 13 control points, each competing team decides the route they want to follow. The winner is the competitor who finishes at the control point where he started having visited all the other control points in the shortest distance (GPS measured).


The Charge is a unique and exciting competition that requires bravery and a high level of skill in off-road driving and navigation. To prevent adverse environmental impact, entries to the event are limited to 65 vehicles. The popularity of the Charge is such that the organisers have introduced a preferential entry strategy favouring high value fund raisers because would be entrants far exceed available places in the event.


To learn more about the current competing teams, please visit the competitor page on our website.

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The Rhino Charge was conceived in Nairobi, Kenya when Rhino Ark founder Ken Kuhle asked Rally Enthusiast Rob Coombes whether he would organise an off road event to help raise funds for the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust that he had recently formed. The trust was committed to saving the dwindling Rhino population in the Aberdare National Park.


The concept discussed was to hold an off-roading competition whereby the winner would drive a vehicle to the highest altitude on Mount Kenya. Rob then discussed the idea with Brian Haworth who was enthusiastic and agreed to join Rob in organising it. Presentations to the park warden quickly determined that the permission to hold the event on Mount Kenya would not be granted and the concept went back to the drawing board. Some years prior to this, Brian had recced a route around Mount Longonot for an off road event at the request of Derek Gates (Safari Rally organiser). It never took place as they decided to hold a mini event at Hell’s Gate National Park instead. Brian’s concept was to use distance, rather than speed as the deciding factor; this was to prove the basis for what would become the Rhino Charge.


Based on this experience and after much discussion, Rob and Brian decided to attempt an event to drive over Mount Suswa in the Rift Valley. Two controls would be sited on either side of the Volcano and whoever did it in the shortest distance would be the winner. One Sunday morning in early 1989 the two set off, with motor bikes, headed for the southern slopes of Mount Suswa. After an exhausting day mostly “carrying” the bikes, and still only half way up Suswa they had to head back to base, the idea wasn’t going to work! They sat looking across the Suswa plains with Lake Magadi in the distance, several small hills and large luggas in the foreground. Why not put a control on the top of each hill and one at the bottom of the escarpment? The competitors would have to find their way across the luggas to get to the hills! The following weekend, prepared with camping gear, motor bikes and their families, they spent two days driving and riding around the area setting out what eventually became the venue for the first ever Rhino Charge. The rest, as they say is history…


31 competing vehicles entered and the first event, held on 4th February 1989, was won by Travers Allison in a Suzuki Jeep. Distance was measured with the vehicle’s standard odometer. These pioneers probably had no idea of the huge interest this small event would attract in the years to come.


At the core of the Rhino Charge is a highly dedicated group of individuals that comprise the Rhino Charge Committee. Over 25 years later, many of the original committee members are still deeply involved in the Charge. Rob and Ken are no longer with us, while Brian is still assisting with the preparation of the Rhino Charge in many ways. Their legacy is a concept that has developed into the toughest off-road event on the continent and possibly anywhere. It has gained international acclaim and attracts entries from all over the world. The Kudos of winning the Rhino Charge is highly coveted in Kenya and elsewhere. Few Kenyans are not touched by the event in some way, whether taking part, being involved in the organisation, or digging into their pockets for sponsorship. By April every year, the Rhino Charge Fever hits Kenya. Wherever you go, cars are being prepared in garages, tested on and off the road. Shops are full of camping equipment, and the words “where are we going this time?” are heard everywhere. Then, on the Madaraka Day weekend, the exodus begins, and thousands of enthusiasts head for the hills for another Rhino Charge.

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In the interests of ecological conservation and due to the nature of the ground to be covered, the organisers limit the number of entries to 65 cars. Entries are accepted on a strict policy of “First Come – First Served” within the following categories until the maximum is reached:



Any Entrants who have entered in categories 1 – 5 as listed above, who fail to reach their pledged sponsorship, may be prevented from starting, and may also be refused entry to future events.


The detailed entry requirements can be found in the event’s rules & regulations, which can be found in the Downloads section.


The entries for the 2018 Rhino Charge are closed


Entries for the 2019 Rhino Charge will open on 1 July 2018. More information on how to enter the Rhino Charge will be shared here in June 2018. Stay tuned!

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The Rhino Charge is organised by a committee of professional volunteers from various disciplines. Each member of this dedicated team offers his or her time, expertise and resources to ensure that the event is run successfully and to the highest standards. The event is held in a different location each year in some of the most remote and wild areas of Kenya. The preparation requires the search for a suitable venue followed by the negotiations with the resident local community and the actual event organisation. Each competition venue is designed with full participation of local community representatives and is sensitive to local considerations. This process takes many months in which the Rhino Charge Committee volunteers their time and commitment to go on Rhino Charge recces in their free time to organise the next event.


The event, supported by event sponsors, guard post sponsors and raffle sponsors takes place at the end of May/beginning of June each year around the Kenyan public holiday Madaraka Day and is open to all, subject to the Rules and Regulations stipulated by the organising Committee. The Committee keeps the event location secret until the day of the event. The secrecy of the location prevents people from being tempted to look at the site ahead of time. A map of the past Rhino Charge venues can be downloaded here (Courtesy of Microsoft Encarta).


The event is organised with the approval of the County Government, local District Commissioner, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Governing Body of Motorsport in Kenya and the land owner(s) / host community.

View Previous Charges

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The Rhino Charge attracts many spectators who visit the event to watch competitors in action and spend a fun weekend out of town. Since 2015, anyone who wants to come to the Rhino Charge has to purchase a ticket, a vehicle pass (LAF) and accommodation in advance. This has become necessary due to the growing popularity of the event which has put the host communities and their land under increasing environmental pressure. By introducing a ticketing system, the organisers aim to make the Spectator Camp more attractive to responsible spectators by improving the spectators’ experience as well as improve the administration of the event.


More information on ticket prices, Vehicle Passes – Landowner Access Fee (LAF) and accommodation options at the Rhino Charge can be found on the Spectator page of this website.


In 2016, the host community received KES 4.4 Million raised through the LAF, which is a very important contribution and an exceptional way of saying thank you to the host community for letting us run the Rhino Charge on their land.

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The Rhino Charge is an annual off-road 4×4 competition held in Kenya in which entrants are required to visit 13 points (Guard Posts) while travelling the shortest possible distance across difficult, trackless terrain, where speed is not a necessity. The event is organised in order to raise funds to support the activities of the Charitable Trust Rhino Ark.


The event was conceived in 1989 to raise funds for the construction of the Aberdare Electric Fence. Rhino Ark founder Ken Kuhle, Rally Enthusiasts Rob Combes and Brian Haworth mooted the idea of an off-road 4×4 event to support the fencing project carried out by the then recently established Charitable Trust, Rhino Ark. The Trust was committed to saving the dwindling Rhino population in the Aberdare National Park, as well as mitigating human-wildlife conflicts around the National Park. On 4 February 1989, 31 competing vehicles entered the first event which was won by Travers Allison in a Suzuki jeep. Whilst the first Rhino Charge raised only KES 250,000, this amount increased tremendously over the years to reach KES 139 million in the 2016 event.


Till today, the Rhino Charge continues to raise funds for the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust. The Rhino Ark projects, which are supported by the funds raised from the Rhino Charge, are multifaceted and are embedded in the overall philosophy HUMANS IN HARMONY WITH HABITAT AND WILDLIFE.


If you want to learn more about Rhino Ark please visit www.rhinoark.org

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