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Rhino Charge returns: Torosei announced as 2024 venue

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Torosei, nestled between Lakes Natron and Magadi in Kajiado County, has been revealed as the venue for the 35th Rhino Charge.

Organizers kept the location secret until Tuesday’s announcement. The release of route notes to competitors, sponsors, and spectators disclosed the venue, about 76km from Kajiado Town on the Magadi-Amboseli wildlife corridor.

Final preparations are underway for the weekend event. Camp operators, competitors, spectators, and sponsors are arriving in Kajiado County, known as the ‘Home of Diversity’.

It is expected that from today to tomorrow night (Thursday, May 30, 2024), all the competing cars will have arrived at the venue ahead of scrutineering (vehicle inspection) that will take place the day after (Friday, May 31, 2024).  

The Rhino Charge, renowned for its challenging 4×4 off-road competition, serves an environmental mission. Since 1989, it has raised over Ksh 2.1 billion to support the conservation of Kenya’s mountain forests, also known as water towers, as they are the source of all main rivers in the country.

Initial efforts raised Ksh 250,000, but by 2018, annual fundraising exceeded Ksh 180 million.

The event has made a strong comeback in the last three years after its first-ever cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Last year’s event in Nkoteyia-Samburu raised Ksh 173 million, which supported the maintenance of 760 kilometres of conservation fences and the construction of an additional 30 kilometres of the Mt. Kenya Electric Fence.

The 2021 (Sabon-Baringo) and 2022 (Mosiro-Kajiado) events raised Ksh 141 million and Ksh 156 million, respectively.

Funds from the Rhino Charge have facilitated significant projects, including the construction of the world’s longest game-proof fences.

These projects encompass the 450 km Mount Kenya Electric Fence, of which 300 km have been completed, the maintenance of the 400 km Aberdare Electric Fence, and the 43.3 km perimeter electric fence around Mount Eburu.

The ongoing fence construction in Kakamega Forest has seen Phase I (15 km) completed.

Proceeds from the vehicle entry fee (Landowners Access Fee) also support host community projects such as building schools, health infrastructure, and water tanks.

Recent contributions included Ksh 5.2 million to Mosiro (Kajiado County) and Ksh 5.3 million to Nkoteyia (Samburu County).

Besides the direct cash contribution derived from the landowners’ access fee, the event also provides short-term employment opportunities for local communities involved in venue preparation and event support, showcasing the tourism and conservation potential of the host area.

Kajiado County, covering 21,292 square kilometres, is a southern gem of Kenya with attractions like Amboseli National Park, Magadi Soda Lake, Shompole and Selenkei conservancies, Olorgesailie Prehistoric Site, scenic Ngong Hills which hosts the final resting place of Denys Finch Hatton famously portrayed in Out of Africa movie, and Namanga Hills.

It offers immersive cultural experiences with the Maasai and serves as a residential haven for Nairobi’s workforce.

This year’s Rhino Charge main events include:

– Friday, 31st May: Scrutineering (inspection of the competing cars)
– Saturday, 1st June: Rhino Charge
– Sunday, 2nd June: Prize-giving

The organization of the Rhino Charge is supported through in-kind contributions from the private sector, including some of Kenya’s largest corporations, 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, Bins to name a few.

These contributions have reduced the event’s costs to less than 15 per cent of the total funds raised, maximizing the impact on conservation efforts.

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