The Elephant Charge is an annual event that challenges teams of cars and motorbikes to complete a grueling off-road course through the Zambian bush. The Charge is held to raise money for conservation in Zambia, focused on conservation through education. In the ten years since it first began, the event has raised over $640 000 which has been distributed to conservation organisations working across the country.
The teams that enter the Elephant Charge make a pledge to the conservation charities and every single dollar that the teams raise is passed directly to the Zambian beneficiary charities as grants. The event is then held at a different location each year, over the course of a weekend in September or October. So other than the obvious adventure – here are 10 reasons why YOU should join the Fuchs 2017 Elephant Charge.
- WE PUT THE FUN INTO FUNDRAISING
Since 2008, the Elephant Charge teams have supported 17 wildlife conservation projects with grants totalling $647,991. This year teams hope to round that figure up to a solid $1 million! That’s some serious FUNdraising right there.
- CONSERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION
Many Zambian children have never had the opportunity to visit their own national parks, but through the work done by the Elephant Charge – many of them will now be able to. Projects like Conservation Lower Zambezi, invite local school children to their education centre where they’ll get to experience game drives and boat cruises, all while learning more about the importance of threatened wildlife in their areas including elephants, wild dogs and pangolins.
- CONSERVATION THROUGH COMMUNITY
This is something we pride ourselves on! Where we can, we educate, create a sense of community, and fundraise all at the same time with events like Conservation South Luangwa’s Annual Conservation Fun Run. The event usually attracts in the region of 3 500 people, and provides a neutral-platform for community members and wildlife managers to discuss conservation of important local wildlife populations through entertainment.
- CONSERVATION THROUGH ANTI-POACHING
Law enforcement is an integral aspect of conservation, and through the Elephant Charge we have funded various organisations over the years in these efforts. Some of these include Conservation Lake Tanganyika who conduct marine patrols, and the Zambian Carnivore Programme which conducts anti-snaring work to protect lion, leopard, cheetah and other vulnerable carnivores throughout Zambia.
- CHECK OUT THESE CHECK POINTS!
To raise all this needed cash for conservation, the Elephant Charge relies heavily on sponsors for various aspects of the event, including ten sponsored checkpoints on the course. Each checkpoint is manned, equipped and resourced by volunteers who make the day even more special for the teams; offering snacks, drinks, braais, water sprayers and music systems (even cold towels and smoothies- who would believe it!) Last year’s checkpoints were sponsored by: Royal Air Charters, NWK, Aon, Maxxis Tyres, Afgri, National Milling, South City Church, Omnia, Kwikfit and Leopards Hill Memorial Park.
- ALL THE SMALL THINGS
Aside from the sponsors, there are also many other people and companies who help make this event possible. The Elephant Charge is run by a volunteer committee who donate their time and resources. What’s more, the teams all go to huge efforts themselves to raise funds with their own sponsors and events. Everything donated above each entrance fee goes directly to the conservation projects of the year. Last year’s shortest net distance winners, The Carnivores have raised over $30 000 for conservation in Zambia – hardcore heroes!
- TEAM TACTICS
In each vehicle, there’s a driver, a navigator, two long-runners and two short-runners. Communication is key between all these team members, and when traversing such tricky terrain, you need to make know for sure if it’s ‘my left’ or ‘your left’, and that my inch doesn’t mean a metre – otherwise you could get yourself into a hairy situation – fast. This kind of team work challenges friendships and brings teammates even closer together.
- LARGE AND IN CHARGE
The event takes place at a different, secret location every year, usually not more than 2 hours outside of Lusaka. The teams start off with a cloud of dust and yahoos echoing around the escarpment at 06h00 and have until 15h00 to complete ten precariously positioned checkpoints in the shortest possible distance. Winch and pull. Down ravines and up cliff faces. Why go around when you can go over, right?
- DUST, SWEAT AND TEARS
Friendships are forged (and tested!) on this epic adventure through the African bush. Adrenalin pulses through your veins, fuelled by a buzzing, competitive energy – possibly even resulting in tears of exhaustion (maybe even frustration), but most of all, in the end, there will be genuine laughter and comradery amongst team mates, charge mates and – by now – just darn good mates.
- THIS YEAR IS NUMERO TEN
One of the most epic, audacious and thrill-seeking events going, the Elephant Charge in Zambia is a 4×4 motorsport challenge that’s reached its tenth anniversary. You do NOT want to miss this year’s show! The 2017 Fuchs Elephant Charge will take place at a secret location in the Zambian bush on Saturday 14 October 2017. ARE YOU READY?!
27 teams have already entered the Fuchs Elephant Charge 2017. You can help support them, or even enter your own team and take part in this extreme 4×4 event, all in the name of wildlife conservation in Zambia. Help us celebrate 10 years of dust, sweat and gears on 13-15 October.
If you want to learn more about the Elephant Charge in Zambia – either participating or sponsoring check out our:
Author: Sarah Davies. Images courtesy of Elephant Charge.