Rhino Charge 2015
The Samburu host community of this year’s Rhino Charge are to benefit immensely for providing access to their conservancy as it has become a standing practice wherever the motorsport fundraising event is held.
The venue for the 27th edition of the Rhino Charge is located in Kalepo (Namunyak Conservancy), a community owned and managed conservancy located in the untamed wilderness of Samburu in Northern Kenya. The proceeds from the vehicle entry fee (also known as Landowners Access Fee) paid by all vehicles entering the Venue will go towards supporting community projects in the conservancy. These projects may include building of school infrastructure and water tanks, enhancing the management of the conservancy and strengthening security in the area. During last year’s event, KES 2.9 million was given to the host community in Kalama Conservancy, Samburu.
Five times in the 27 years of Rhino Charge’s history, the event has taken place in a Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) conservancy. NRT was established to develop resilient community conservancies, which transform people’s lives, secure peace and conserve natural resources. Relationship between Northern Kenya conservancies and the Rhino Charge goes back to 1991, when the event was first held in Ngare Ndare. Similar events have since been held in Lekurruki Conservancy (2001), Namunyak Conservancy (2008), Kalama Conservancy (2014) and Kalepo in Namunyak Conservancy (2015).
In addition to the direct cash contribution derived from the Landowners Access Fee, the Rhino Charge helps profile the tourism and conservation potentials of the host conservancy.
Namunyak is one of NRT’s largest conservancies, covering 974,000 acres. With community members employed as rangers, community-owned lodges working in partnership with independent safari camp operators, and a good governance system in place – Namunyak stands as a fantastic example of community conservation in Northern Kenya. Namunyak means “blessed“ in Samburu language. It is home to the Mathews Forest Range, and serves as a critical wildlife corridor between the five community conservancies on its borders. At certain times of year, it hosts huge populations of elephant, as they move seasonally between the Mathews Forest and the Mt. Kenya and Ngare Ndare Forests.
Namunyak began as two group ranches, and over 15 years, driven by the need to protect the Mathews range, has expanded to six, including the Ngiai West Group Ranch and the community land area of Ndonyo Wasin managed by Kalepo. It was one of the first community conservancies in Northern Kenya to be established, along with Il Ngwesi.
Funds raised by the competitors are used for Rhino Ark conservation work in Kenya’s mountain forested sources of water, known as ‘water towers’. This includes fencing Mt. Kenya, maintaining the 400 km Aberdare Electric Fence and the recently completed Mau Eburu Electric Fence, as well as supporting the livelihood of fence-adjacent communities and engaging them in conservation. During the 2014 edition of the Rhino Charge, KES 102 million were raised by the competing teams.
Unique this year is the ‘Capacity on Wheels’ (a mobile mast) set up by Safaricom to provide competitors and spectators with access to the mobile network. In addition, Liquid Telecom has installed 7 satellite-based communication units to provide internet access to key locations on the Venue. Since the 2013 Rhino Charge, the mobile retail chain supplier ‘Nakumatt on Wheels’ has been providing over 300 different items including frozen and chilled products. Other providers include Highlands Mineral Water, Heineken, and The Iceman.