Rhino Charge 2023: The Ultimate Off-Road Showdown

Rhino Charge 2023: The Ultimate Off-Road Showdown

The Rhino Charge is an annual off-road 4×4 competition held in Kenya in which entrants are required to visit 13 check points (controls) 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 check points and their start position the night before the event. Each competitor must plot the check points on the map and decide his/her route. The winner is the competitor who visits the most check point in the shortest distance (GPS measured).

The event is organised in order to raise funds to support the activities of the Rhino Ark Kenya 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”. 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 recently established Charitable Trust Rhino Ark. More specifically Rhino Arks conservation programme is developed around six priority thematic areas;

  1. Protection of the Kenyan mountain forests other threatened Habitats and their rich bio-diversity.
  2. Engagement and education of adjacent communities in conservation;
  3. Securing the connectivity between the mountain forests and other threatened wildlife habitats.
  4. Establishment of sustainable financial mechanism for the conservation of the mountain forests and other threatened wildlife habitats.
  5. Advocate nationally and internationally for the conservation of the mountain forests and other threatened habitats their wildlife and ecological functions; and,
  6. use of science to assess impacts of, and review conservation interventions.

This year, the 2023 Rhino Charge took place in Maralal, Samburu County from 1st to 3rd of June, where 52 daring teams revved their engines for a chance to conquer the treacherous terrain and raise funds for environmental conservation work.

With a staggering Ksh. 300 million already raised from previous events, the Rhino Charge has proven to be a remarkable platform for both sponsors and participants to give back to the community. TWL showcased our commitment to quality products and service delivery but also our dedication to the Rhino Ark partnership, benefiting countless needy individuals.

The event kicked off with meticulous vehicle inspections, ensuring compliance with the event’s rules and regulations. The Clerk of the Course, Don White, along with the chairman of Rhino Charge, worked tirelessly to establish a comprehensive road safety strategy, prioritizing the well-being of both participants and spectators.

Rhino charge.webp

When it comes to off-road competitions, the tyres play a crucial role. That’s why it comes as no surprise that 80% of Rhino Charge vehicles rely on Maxxis Trepador and Maxxis Creepy Crawler tyres. According to Mark Glen, these tyres are renowned for their ability to withstand the toughest terrains, making them the preferred choice for the participants.

We are proud to sponsor two exceptional teams this year: Car No. 48 led by Mark Glen and Car No. 55, also known as Kifaru. While each team brought their A-game, it was the indomitable Car No. 48, led by the skilled Mark Glen, that crossed the finish line an hour before the race ended. Their awe-inspiring performance secured them the title of 6-time winners in the toughest challenge, conquering 26.7 km and 13 checkpoints in the gruelling 10-hour event held in Maralal, Samburu. Their victory showcased their skill and determination in the face of adversity.

Since its inception in 1989, the Rhino Charge has been instrumental in raising an astounding Sh1.7 billion to support the conservation of vital ecosystems such as Mount Kenya, the Aberdares, and Mount Eburu in the Mau Forest Complex. This annual off-road 4×4 competition has become a testament to the participants’ dedication, challenging them to visit 13 guard posts while navigating the shortest possible distance across demanding and trackless terrain.

Last year’s highest fundraiser, Peter Kinyua of Car No. 23, raised an impressive Sh39,517,947, surpassing the previous year’s record. With his sights set on another successful campaign, Kinyua returns this year in Car No. 23, aiming to make an even greater impact. Adil Khawaja of Car 44 (AK44) and Stanley Kinyanjui of Car 62 (Magnate Chargers) claimed the second and third fundraising positions, further solidifying the Rhino Charge’s philanthropic spirit.

In addition to recognizing the winners based on distance and funds raised, the event also celebrated the Modified Class Category. Car No. 38, skillfully maneuvered by Sean Avery (Bundufundi), emerged victorious, followed closely by Car No. 22, helmed by Gray Cullen (The Smiling Shenzis). Philip Walton’s Car No. 5 (Team 5) secured the third position, showcasing the impressive skills and adaptability of the participating teams.

The support and enthusiasm garnered by the Rhino Charge have facilitated the expansion of vital conservation programs. One notable initiative includes the maintenance of 720 km of fencing, protecting over 85,000 households from the devastating effects of human-wildlife conflict. Additionally, an extensive conservation education program has been implemented, benefiting 178 primary and secondary schools within the operational areas.

As the dust settles on another unforgettable Rhino Charge, the passion for off-road adventure and environmental conservation burns brighter than ever. The 2023 edition proved to be a remarkable display of resilience, community support, and unwavering commitment to preserving our natural treasures. With each passing year, the Rhino Charge continues to make an indelible mark.